Archive for July, 2011

Downtown Dallas Street Gets Makeover

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Downtown Dallas isn’t exactly known as an urban entertainment mecca teeming with life. But this weekend, Ross Avenue went from a quiet, sleepy city street to a vibrant, exciting area with food, pop-up retail and small parks in just a few hours.

From eleven in the morning to three in the afternoon Sunday, June 26, ‘Better Blocks on Ross” transformed the street into a welcoming, comforting and vibrant boulevard. It took place along Ross Avenue near the Downtown Arts District from North Hawkins to Pavilion. Dallas residents saw firsthand how a street can come alive. “Better Block” is described as a demonstration tool that helps cities envision ways it can spruce up city spaces, making them more livable and fun.

Over the course of 72 hours, Jason Roberts and his project partners brought in experts and artists in their fields to conduct the metamorphosis, blending function and beauty.

Dallas City Councilmember Linda Koop kicked off the project at the Dallas Black Dance Theater on Flora Street. She is also Chair of the Transportation and Environmental Committee.

“The Complete Streets Project will begin to change the way roads are designed and built in Dallas, shifting the emphasis from automobiles only to streets that can be used and enjoyed by everyone; young and old, motorists and bicyclists, walkers and wheelchair users, and bus and trains riders. Everyone’s ideas and suggestions will be crucial to the ultimate successful implementation of this initiative,” she said.

Read more and see video at MyFoxDFW.com

Volunteer project enlivens gateway to Dallas Arts District

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Hundreds volunteers worked around the clock in a 72-hour challenge this weekend to transform Ross Avenue into a “better block.”

They were encouraged to reclaim the “Gateway to the Arts District” from Hawkins Street to Pavillion Street by figuring out how to attract more pedestrian traffic than cars to the thoroughfare.

The Better Block Project included encouraging cycling and fostering a more family-friendly business environment.

Cindy Moore, who lives blocks away from Ross Avenue, couldn’t have been happier.

“Having the streets where they are pedestrian-friendly is a big, you know… it’s great to see this,” she said. “To see kids out here and people riding their bikes and feel like you’re really actually part of a big city.”

Moore’s seven-year-old son Gordon says prior to the temporary store pop-ups, eateries and fun spots, all he ever saw along Ross Avenue were cars.

Read more and see video at WFAA.com

Downtown Dallas Street Gets Makeover

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Downtown Dallas isn’t exactly known as an urban entertainment mecca teeming with life. But this weekend, Ross Avenue went from a quiet, sleepy city street to a vibrant, exciting area with food, pop-up retail and small parks in just a few hours.

From eleven in the morning to three in the afternoon Sunday, June 26, ‘Better Blocks on Ross” transformed the street into a welcoming, comforting and vibrant boulevard. It took place along Ross Avenue near the Downtown Arts District from North Hawkins to Pavilion. Dallas residents saw firsthand how a street can come alive. “Better Block” is described as a demonstration tool that helps cities envision ways it can spruce up city spaces, making them more livable and fun.

Over the course of 72 hours, Jason Roberts and his project partners brought in experts and artists in their fields to conduct the metamorphosis, blending function and beauty.

“The Complete Streets Project will begin to change the way roads are designed and built in Dallas, shifting the emphasis from automobiles only to streets that can be used and enjoyed by everyone; young and old, motorists and bicyclists, walkers and wheelchair users, and bus and trains riders. Everyone’s ideas and suggestions will be crucial to the ultimate successful implementation of this initiative.”

See the video at MyFoxDFW.com

Scenes From a Better Ross Avenue

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2011 at 5:15 am

June 26 — Tomorrow, we’ll have much more from the Build a Better Boulevard event presently slowing traffic along a stretch of Ross near and into downtown; maybe I’ll even let Leslie run the photo she took of me submerged into the dumpster swimming pool parked in Fellowship Church’s lot at Ross and Central … after Andrew Howard pushed me in, that is, high-tops and all. Not that I was complaining: That was a surprisingly long bike ride, past City Hall and through Deep Ellum, just to go from Main Street Garden to DISD HQ. But the 7-year-old held his own (very proud), and many thanks to the safety-card-handing-out Dallas Fire-Rescue worker — Scott, didn’t catch the last name — and Mr. Angela Hunt, Paul Sims, who hung back and encouraged the lad to keep a-pedalin’.

See the photos and story at Dallas Observer

Clang, Clang, Crunch: The Truth About Streetcars

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Why should Dallas build a tiny, inefficient streetcar line when it’s broke? Because trolleys are groovy.

We are about to spend $40 million to build less than two miles of modern streetcar line linking downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff. A few things to keep in mind:

•According to the experts, modern streetcars are no better at carrying people around than other transit methods, maybe a little worse.

•Streetcars never pay for themselves.

•Streetcars are less green than buses.

•Other than that, they’re great.

People love them. Something about a sleek new streetcar—the soft whir of electric technology, the aura of Euro-cool—draws people powerfully. Advocates in Portland, Oregon, claim their streetcar line has spurred billions of dollars in redevelopment because people want to live near streetcars.

Read more at Dallas Observer

Phillips Creek Ranch in Frisco Texas Update

Posted by    |    July 24th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

See for yourself, Phillips Creek Ranch has started laying concrete.Phillips Creek Ranch

Roads are being poured off of Stonebrook as the entry into Phillips Creek as well as a connector between Lebannon and Stonebrook. Republic Property Group is right on schedule with the latest announcement of breaking ground late summer.

West Frisco is one of the most progressive and fastest growing cities in the country as of today. The rolling terrain and character of the land at Phillips Creek will lend itself to an upscale community that will include over one hundred acres of open spaces, several lakes, an extensive creek system and spacious parks and trails. The first phase of homes is projected to include 250 homes with a price range of $350,000 to $700,000. (more…)

Bloomfield Homes adds a new powerful sales tool online

Posted by    |    July 21st, 2011 at 11:09 am

Homes OnlineLaunched on July 20th 2011, A new channel page for Bloomfield Homes showcases select communities and floor plans through DFW.

Builders are all starting to place more time and marketing money online due to now over 92% of buyers start their search online. “Buyers today don’t have time to drive to each community,” states Brad Oellermann broker of Bradley Realty Group in Frisco. “Bloomfield is really smart to create videos so buyers have the ability to visualize the community before putting their kids in their car seats and taking time out of their weekend to take a look at a neighborhood .” (more…)

Population in Collin and Denton counties “Triples” since 1991.

Posted by    |    July 18th, 2011 at 10:38 am

Texas Boom CountiesIn July of 1991, summertime was in full effect and I was gearing up for my first days of the 7th grade. I lived in Plano and anything North of Legacy Road was considered “country.”

Fast forward to today.

I am 32, married with a son and still live in Plano. Now the street I consider as the outermost boundary of civilization North would be Highway 380. From Legacy Road to highway 380 is roughly 10 miles! Ten miles in 20 years of homes, gas stations, shopping centers, new schools and restaurants is amazing!

But it doesn’t stop there.

Projections by the Texas Data Center more than double the 2010 populations of Collin and Denton by 2040, growth that only four other counties in the state are expected to rival. (more…)

EB-5 Foreign Investment and New Market Tax Credit Financing for Real Estate Development

Posted by    |    July 16th, 2011 at 5:15 am

When financing for commercial real estate development collapsed in 2008, the initial push was for federal, state and local governmental entities to work with developers on public-private partnerships. We have since learned that many governmental entities are also cash-strapped or are unwilling to use public dollars to support what may be seen as private development. Those projects that attempt to secure governmental financial assistance are finding that the timing of the approval process is much longer than anticipated, with many of these projects stretching out 2 to 5 years. Public-private financing may also involve public disclosure, competitive bidding and a request for proposal process, which developers typically want to avoid.

The EB-5 foreign visa investment program and loans subsidized by new market tax credits (NMTC’s) are two viable financing alternatives for developments in economically challenged areas, particularly for real estate projects that create employment opportunities (retail, restaurants, call centers, etc.).  Although both of these financing alternatives are federally created, the benefits have been largely allocated out to the private sector for implementation, drastically reducing the time and bureaucracy in securing this financing.

A brief summary of these two programs: (more…)

Eldorado Estates in Little Elm completely builds out in less than 7 years

Posted by    |    July 7th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Since 2004, Eldorado Estates has been one of the fastest selling new home communities in North Texas. To date over 500 total lots have been built and sold to new homebuyers with only 12 lots left by Bloomfield Homes. Bloomfield Homes in phase 3 had a total of 110 lots and it looks like after twelve more sales the entire neighborhood will be complete.

The biggest selling point in the beginning was Frisco ISD schools and a Little Elm address. It allowed families to send their children to one of the best school districts in the DFW metroplex and pay at a minimum of $25,000 less for a new home than in Frisco.

(more…)