Category: Real Estate

Grandmother Creates Fairyland in the City

A round door welcomes visitors to the guest house. (Courtesy The Mamones Photography)

In a home on an acre-and-a-third of Dallas ground there lives a hobbit-loving lady.

Not an old historic home steeped in Big D lore, nor yet a typical modern mansion like those going up in the Park Cities: It is a feather-wearing eccentric collector’s home, and that means bottles mortared in between uneven stones and real Montana trees in the great room.

The Shire of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings lies along the Great East Road in Middle Earth, far from the threats of Mordor.

Sales, Listings Up, But High-End Lull Not Over


Real estate activity in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow has picked up following a slowdown leading into last November’s election.

Single family closings and listings are looking up to begin the year, but real estate agencies are still hoping transactions for higher end properties will rebound.

The market for homes priced at $2 million or more hasn’t been up for 18 months, according to Allie Beth Allman, president/CEO of Allie Beth Allman & Associates.

Buckner Breaks Ground on Ventana Retirement Towers

Buckner Senior Living is building the $136 million Ventana continuing care retirement living towers on 3 acres near NorthPark Center and University Park. (Courtesy Buckner International)

Buckner Senior Living broke ground April 20 on its $136 million Ventana continuing care retirement living towers, which will go up on 3 acres near NorthPark Center and University Park.

Ventana is Spanish for "window." The two residential towers at North Central Expressway and Northwest Highway will offer floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the downtown Dallas skyline and the Park Cities.

The development will include 189 independent living units, 38 assisted living units, 26 specialized memory care suites, 48 skilled nursing units, and 24 rehabilitation units, according to a news release.

House of the Month – 5800 Armstrong Parkway

(Photo courtesy: Briggs Freeman Sotheby's)

Treasures from all over the world enhance this exceptional home with the perfect combination of formal and casual design by Richard Drummond Davis.

Robert Bellamy Landscape created picturesque garden views from almost every room of the 7,792 square-foot house that includes 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, 2 powders, formals, library, great room, sunroom, formal and casual dining areas, ultimate gourmet kitchen, mud room, game room, craft/ballet room, and an approximately 800 square-foot third level garret. A port-cochere leads to a large motor court with a three-car garage and a full apartment.

House of the Month – 4218 Arcady Avenue

(Courtesy photos: Allie Beth Allman & Associates)

This stately Highland Park house was built by Tatum Brown Custom Homes in 2015. Stone and wood floors accent the 12-room abode, which includes five bedrooms, as well as a gentlemen’s library and bar. The family room and kitchen overlook a spacious backyard, which boasts both open and covered terraces ideal for entertaining. Interior features include a built-in wine cooler, an elevator, multiple staircases, and an attached 3-car garage. Classic plaster detailing with stone accents gives the estate an air of sophistication.

Appetite for Destruction

Leveling of historical homes continues with Trammell Crow Estate teardown. (Courtesy photo)

Andy Beal, Dallas billionaire, banker, and economic advisor to President Donald Trump, has razed the 1912 C.D. Hill-designed Trammell Crow estate on Preston Road he purchased less than a year ago.

DFW Pre-Demolition and Estate Sales posted the news on Facebook Jan. 16 with details about property that will be sold off piecemeal before the teardown. The house was torn down Feb. 13.

The Park Cities boast a number of historic homes designed by world-famous architects — a number that is rapidly decreasing as a generation of homeowners who share a distaste for “used homes,” a new vernacular for homes that already exist and which other people may have already lived in, move in to the neighborhood with cash to spend on teardowns and custom building.

David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas, says inflated property values are feeding this mentality.

From Black Box to Information Onslaught


For every generation before us that dreamed of one day purchasing a home, the process was opaque and incredibly complicated. Buyers sought out real estate agents not just for their charm and hand-holding through the process, but because those agents were the only ones who knew which homes were actually on the market. Short of slowly driving block-by-block through your dream neighborhood and writing down addresses with For Sale signs in the front yard, choosing a real estate agent was the only way to ensure that you could even find a home to buy.

I don’t have to tell you that this is clearly no longer the case. With the advent of companies like Zillow and other online real estate databases, today’s consumers have access to nearly as much information as those very same agents. Just 10 years after its founding, Zillow says that nearly nine out of 10 homebuyers now use the Internet when searching for a home. And we’re not just talking about Millennials here. 71 percent of those over the age of 65 search for their next home online. And that figure skyrockets up to 90 percent for those between 18 and 35.

Gateway Up for Grabs

The vacant land near the convergence of Armstrong Avenue, Lakeside Drive, and Oak Lawn Avenue where it becomes Preston Road is on the market. (Photo courtesy Allie Beth Allman)

One of the last undeveloped tracts of land in the Park Cities is drawing intense interest, according to representatives from Allie Beth Allman and Associates.

The 1.17-acre triangular plot bordered by Lakeside Drive, Armstrong Avenue, and Oak Lawn Avenue is being marketed as the “Gates of Highland Park.” While the land has been for sale since mid-fall, tall wooden signs erected just before New Year’s have generated increased attention.

“I can’t think of another location that would be more desirable,” former Highland Park mayor William D. White Jr. said.

In 1906, real estate developer John Armstrong purchased a large amount of land just north of Dallas for $276 an acre. The city’s population had more than doubled following the turn of the century, and was fast approaching 100,000. Armstrong saw enormous potential in the area he dubbed “Highland Park,” so named because it sat on high terrain overlooking downtown.

Balanced Market Brings Opportunities for Buyers, Sellers


While active home listings in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities dipped in the fourth quarter, 2016 brought greater housing inventory overall, creating opportunities for buyers as well as sellers.

New listings may not be likely to go under contract instantly in a wave of multiple offers like they would a few years ago, but home prices remain strong and sellers who have done quality renovations are still rewarded, according to Shell Stegall, senior vice president and broker with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, who has spent 25 years in real estate.

“It’s not quite so chaotic now,” she said. “It’s becoming a little more balanced between the power of buyers and sellers.”

Active listings in 2016 averaged 22 percent higher than in 2015, according to data from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.