Photo courtesy Charleston's TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

DFW rents were 6.2 higher last year, averaging $919 per month, but demand still soared, with North Texas leading the nation in apartment rentals, and vacancies at a 13-year low, according to new real estate research from Zillow and MPF Research.

The increased rent translated to an extra $600 million paid to landlords last year, Zillow reported. For North Texans, that meant a median increase of $35 a month, higher than the nationwide rate of $26.

Rising rents are nothing new, said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” he said. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”

For 2015, expect more of the same.

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The Trinity Village development in West Dallas will begin in 2015. Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News.

Work will begin on the Trinity Village development in West Dallas in 2015. Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential.

More good news for development in West Dallas with word Thursday that Dallas-based Stonelake Capital Partners has closed on a 25-acre tract of industrial property on Singleton Boulevard, west of Sylvan Avenue.

Along with developer StreetLights Residential, Stonelake is planning a $200 million mixed-use development at 1000 Singleton Boulevard, on the southwest corner of Singleton and Sylvan.

This is 2014’s largest single redevelopment property in West Dallas, and it will bring about 1,500 new residential units to the area west of Downtown Dallas. (more…)

Monte Anderson

On Tuesday night, the Greater Dallas Planning Council honored North Texas developer Monte Anderson with its inaugural Urban Pioneer Award at the Urban Design Awards.

Anderson is the president of Options Real Estate, a multi-service real estate company that concentrates its work in southern Dallas and Ellis counties, specializing in creating sustainable neighborhoods that invite “gentlefication,” as opposed to gentrification.

Here’s a great working definition of “gentlefication”:

Moving into a neighborhood in an effort to reduce crime, create harmony, and build community. As opposed to “gentrification,” which changes neighborhoods by forcing out low-income residents with high-income folks seeking the next hip thing. Gentlefication helps long-term residents take back their neighborhoods, stabilize property values, and build safe spaces for their children and grandchildren.

“The award means a lot because it means people are staring to recognize that incremental development, or ‘microsurgery’, not big silver bullet deals, works in our southern Dallas neighborhoods,” he said. “My approach is to come in and get other small developers and entrepreneurs to come in very early and be a part of the change. These are the people who make it cool, like artists and restaurateurs, and they [usually] end up not owning anything and getting pushed out in the end.” (more…)

A welding torch caused a fire at the Lofts at Sylvan|Thirty, causing fire, water, and smoke damage at an unoccupied portion of the development.

A welding torch caused a fire at the Lofts at Sylvan|Thirty, causing fire, water, and smoke damage at an unoccupied portion of the development.

Cooper Smith Koch, a spokesman for Sylvan|Thirty, said that the small fire in the unoccupied portion of the loft development within the mixed-use development at Sylvan and Fort Worth avenues was extinguished, causing some fire, smoke, and water damage to the still under-construction building. According to DallasNews.com, it was a four-alarm blaze at the $50 million development in West Dallas.

“Fire was extinguished within about half an hour. No one was injured. No residents, who live on the far north end of the lofts, were affected,” he said via Facebook. “Cox Farms Market remained open and construction continued on the other areas.”

This is the second time a fire has damaged a building at Sylvan|Thirty, with the first gutting a retail area slated to house a yoga studio and restaurant.

I have to agree with The Dallas Morning News editorial board on this one: More residential development in West Dallas benefits everyone. How they arrived at the conclusion is another matter.

Take this paragraph for example:

While this might sound like a chicken-or-egg question — which comes first, housing or residents? — the answer is clear: It’s housing, especially single-family homes, that is key to a neighborhood’s rebirth. Fresh signs of that rebirth are showing up in West Dallas and North Oak Cliff.

Is it really all that clear?

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Mission Courts

Photo: Flickr user Christian Spencer Anderson

First, let’s disambiguate: Trammell Crow Residential is not the same Trammell Crow Co. that is looking to build the Sam’s Club in Uptown East/East Village/Cityplace, which is a subsidiary of commercial development firm CBRE. Trammell Crow Residential is owned by Crow Holdings, and has no connection to Trammell Crow Co., but is actually owned by the Crow family.

Now that we’ve got the name game out of the way, let’s talk dirt: TCR has purchased the old Mission Motel — an old Route 66-era motor inn on West Commerce street just down the road from Sylvan | Thirty, which was once an old motel (Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts), too. They are both just down the way from the beautifully restored Belmont Hotel, which is also home to the award-winning restaurant from sausage-preneur Tim Byres called Smoke.

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Trinity Tollway Rendering NTTA

Drawing: NTTA

So, who is still carrying banners for the Trinity Tollway? Looks like the numbers are getting pretty thin, and now Dallas’ most influential architecture organization, the American Institute of Architects — Dallas has pulled their support for the road planned between the levees of the Trinity River.

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The apartments at Sylvan|Thirty are some of the 1,300 projected units that will be built in West Dallas.

The apartments at Sylvan|Thirty are some of the 1,300 projected units that will be built in West Dallas.

Steve Brown’s dissection of the new apartment projects in West Dallas says that this area with incredible views of downtown and the Calatrava bridge will become the next big industrial-to-residential transition in Dallas. But what impact will these 1,300 brand new apartments have on the existing infrastructure? And will this redevelopment become a model for other areas?

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