Laura Miller on the Failings of Jennifer Gates and the Battle To Save Preston Hollow

She's back!

Laura-MillerIf you haven’t yet, take a second to check out our new neighborhood guide. It’s a pretty robust tool that our little web team built. If you know someone who is moving to Dallas or thinking of moving, point him to this resource. One thing that makes it great is a series of essays about various Dallas neighborhoods. For example, here’s what Adam McGill has to say about his neighborhood, Lake Highlands. We asked people all over town to tell us why they live where they do and what they love most about their hood.

One of those people was Laura Miller, former D Magazine and Dallas Observer columnist, former mayor of Dallas, current Preston Hollow resident. The essay she turned in — well, it wasn’t like the other essays. It was more of a polemic than it was a love letter to Preston Hollow. In her sights this time: Councilwoman Jennifer Gates; Gates’ appointee to the Plan Commission, Margot Murphy; and Mark Cuban. Laura isn’t real pleased with what they’re doing to her neighborhood.

The piece clearly didn’t work for our neighborhood guide. But it also couldn’t just go to waste. “Put it on FrontBurner,” Laura told me, “or I will come over there and punch you in the throat.” I made up that quote. But I stand behind my reporting.

***

The Fight for Preston Hollow
By Laura Miller

My three favorite streets in Dallas are Lausanne Avenue (in Oak Cliff); Dentwood Drive (in Preston Hollow); and Tokalon Drive (in Lakewood). Lucky for me, I’ve lived on two out of three.

What links the three, located in three completely different parts of town, is big trees, and plenty of them; shady, meandering streets lined with charming architecture; and peace and quiet. In Oak Cliff, where we lived for 17 years, we knew and spoke frequently to all of our neighbors and loved our small 1928 Tudor and the proximity to Bishop Arts and Aunt Stelle’s Sno-Cones. But our kids went to schools in North Dallas, and that daily, round-trip commute was brutal. So we decided to move north.

In 2004, we moved into a house near Inwood and Northwest Highway. The sudden juxtaposition to a plethora of mega-groceries, bookstores, restaurants, and dry cleaners was a jolt. In fact, my strongest memory on moving day was realizing, as I unpacked boxes, that I could actually get in my car and drive five minutes (instead of 25 from Kessler Park) to The Corner Bakery at Preston Center to buy my favorite chicken sandwich.

Which, 11 years later, is no longer a possibility. Because the biggest threat to Preston Hollow today is traffic and gridlock, and Dallas City Hall will determine in the next 12 months whether that gets tolerably better or disastrously worse.

Preston Hollow’s greatest asset is geography — located in the quiet center of a bustling city. It began as a 56-acre farm purchased in 1924 by Ira DeLoache, who quickly sub-divided it and began selling big residential lots out of his “country real estate office” — which later became Ebby Halliday’s Little White House at the corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road. Preston Hollow incorporated as a separate township in 1939, but five years later, residents voted to become part of Dallas. Since then, it has bleeded out and, most notably, been cut in two by the Dallas North Tollway. Its current boundaries are generally Midway Road on the west, Northwest Highway on the south, Hillcrest on the East, and Royal Lane on the north. (Sorry, Preston Hollow Village — the mega-retail complex being built at Central Expressway and Walnut Hill — but you’re no Preston Hollow.)

To put Preston Hollow’s traffic congestion problems in a nutshell, Northwest Highway has become LBJ Freeway with stoplights.

That’s because there is no other school-zone-free stretch of divided, six-lane roadway stretching east-to-west between I-35 and Central Expressway. For most of each weekday, those 8 miles become one impenetrable wave of lurching, honking, sun-scorched metal. Scofflaws, including me, create byzantine routes through small, residential streets to avoid the traffic. That pretty well knocks out everybody’s peace and quiet.

For years, Preston Hollow has managed to stay out of the news. But things have heated up dramatically since Councilwoman Jennifer Gates was elected, in 2013, and real estate developers began proposing, in rapid fire, a rash of high-density, big-traffic-generating projects in and around Preston Center, our southern boundary. Residents were so instantly enraged by an eight-story residential project, proposed by Transwestern, to replace two-story apartments across from Ebby’s Little White House that yard signs spread like a summer rash in opposition.

The frustration grew sharply when residents found out their new councilwoman would have to recuse herself for a financial conflict of interest due to her father and her husband both being employed by real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle, which was involved in the deal. Gates’ appointee to the Plan Commission, Margot Murphy, not only was hostile to neighborhood pleas for help, she took pains to point out why she didn’t have to care. “I am not an elected representative of District 13,” she told me at the height of the battle.

Preston Hollow residents aren’t used to being ignored.

From the day Jerry Bartos was elected to the council, in 1987, to the day Mitchell Rasansky left, in 2009, if you were a developer with an idea that wasn’t already allowed by right, that existing property owners didn’t like, you were advised — up front and early — not to bother to even file a zoning application. That forced developers to negotiate, with steely-eyed plan commissioners and council members holding their feet to the fire. Some people called that approach “anti-development.” Others called it “pro-neighborhood.”

Those days are over.

After Commissioner Murphy antagonized constituents on two zoning proposals in quick succession last year — Transwestern and Highland House, a 29-story residential tower slated to replace a two-story medical building — it became obvious to residents that they were on their own. Adding high-octane fuel to the fire was Mark Cuban. After 20 years buying up 10 acres of single-family estate properties in Preston Hollow — along Northwest Highway, between Ebby’s Little White House and the Tollway — Cuban decided to not only announce his intention to up-zone from residential to office tower, he did it in his typical Shark Tank manner by demolishing the houses, and most of the trees, and the brick privacy walls, instantly destroying his neighbors’ quality of life. When an adjacent homeowner with two little kids was immediately burglarized, the wife’s emails to Cuban begging for help were met with disdain. “I would like to think that having purchased the property, I have the right to use it as I see fit,” he said in one email response.

These three nuclear warheads, aimed directly at Preston Hollow, resulted in residents pleading with Councilwoman Gates to stop the chaos by appointing a group to study the area’s significant problems — parking, traffic, and deteriorating infrastructure — before any more zoning cases were approved. At a town hall meeting last fall to discuss the formation of the Preston Road and Northwest Highway Area Plan Stakeholder Taskforce (which I now serve on), Councilwoman Gates got a hearty round of applause when she told the 200 people assembled: “I can’t put a moratorium in place on zoning; anyone can file a zoning case. My wish is we all take a breath, and we don’t move anything forward until we’re done with this study.”

It never happened.

Highland House did disappear — but on its own, thanks to the property’s new owner, Leland Burk, who voluntarily withdrew the case in the spirit of the Area Plan. Cuban’s properties are still a jarring, jeering eyesore. And Transwestern, after throwing in the towel to get those pesky yard signs down, is now back with yet another high-density proposal, leaving area homeowners dejected and exhausted; that fight will be two years old this winter.

The latest battle is over a proposed sky bridge from the old Sanger Harris building (now Marshall’s and DSW Shoes) to the top deck of the city’s two-story parking garage. Not only would most Preston Center employees lose their current parking, leaving them nowhere else to go (except the surrounding neighborhoods), but neighbors loathe the traffic congestion that will necessarily result from an additional 2,500 cars a day headed for Preston Center and the single ramp that will take them to the top of an already completely full garage. (The developer has its own half-empty parking garage at the other end of its building but likes taking over the public parking better.)

After eight months saying she hadn’t made up her mind and postponing a decision several times, Councilwoman Gates brought the sky bridge to the City Council on June 17 for a vote. All three area homeowner associations opposed it; a majority of Preston Center business property owners opposed it; eight of 13 members of Gates’ Area Plan Taskforce opposed it; and seven of the 15 city council members opposed it — at least for 12 months, until the Area Plan could be completed and adopted by the City Council. But Councilwoman Gates bucked them all in favor of the developer. On a vote she won by a single vote — hers — she kicked the can down the road until November, ordering her Area Plan Taskforce to spend the intervening period studying the pros and cons of the sky bridge.

The next day, Gates told me how she begged the developer on the morning of the vote to please wait until the Area Plan was finished. “They said no,” she said ruefully. (It left no impression whatsoever when I explained that she was the elected official, not the developer.) “In retrospect, maybe I should have moved to approve [the sky bridge] and let it fail.”

This chronic vacillation has forever changed the otherwise placid landscape of this part of town. For the first time, the physical and mental border between rural Preston Hollow and urban Preston Center has all but dissolved, with angry commercial building owners and worried homeowners united and growing in number. The Taskforce, created in a spirit of cooperation, is now seriously divided, with a majority wondering if it’s just an empty suit. And other area neighborhoods watch and worry. Right now, homeowners around Hockaday are fighting a proposal to turn some of the residential townhomes at the northwest corner of Inwood and Forest into retail — an alarming prospect, since the ocean of existing retail on the opposite corner is some of the ugliest in North Dallas. As usual, Murphy is belligerent and Gates is coy, asking homeowners to prove that the “majority of the community” is against the proposal.

Ironically, Councilwoman Gates loves Preston Hollow for all the reasons we do. “The meandering, bar-ditch country roads work because the neighbors maintain [their yards] all the way to the asphalt,” Gates says. “The tranquility of the neighborhoods, the well-manicured lawns, the neighborhood feel, the quality of homes. And the access to good schools. It’s the people, and the strength of the neighborhoods.”

And under our new councilwoman, the neighborhoods are getting stronger by the day.

Comments

  • OldLakeHighlandeer

    The voters decided to elect a council person with a real estate business that would be endangered if she did not do what real estate developers and the DCC tell her to do. I would recommend that citizens in her district 1) vote in the next council election and 2) vote for someone without a blindingly obvious conflict of interest.

  • Jason Heid

    And if any Preston Hollow residents out there are interested in waxing rhapsodic on the virtues of their neighborhood, shoot me a note. I’m seeking another essayist.

  • 1st anon

    Ms. Miller writes: “…I could actually get in my car and drive five minutes (…) to The Corner Bakery at Preston Center”

    Ironically, the Corner Bakery is in the City of University Park.

    • tmickle

      Just who is going to pay to fix all the bad streets in Dallas….business because the homeowner is tapped out….if you want peace and quiet go to Prosper and get you some land.

  • Lucas

    Rich people in an exclusive neighborhood complaining that development will bring more outsiders to their utopia and clog up their roads/lives (cuz godforbid anybody does anything but drive their lux cars for 5 min)? I know I have a tissue around here somewhere…

  • Los_Politico

    It’s not 1924 anymore and PH is not farmland. It’s some of the most valuable land in the city and needs to be developed as such. Miller is preventing the city from adding residents and tax base (I’m sure a former mayor has few pot holes on her street, so what does she care?) If you want country, move to Hood County.

  • PeterTx52

    sorry but the western boundary of Preston Hollow is not Midway but actually Inwood. the reason it has stretched so far is because developers and real estate agents recognize the cachet that attaching Preston Hollow to an area or project brings. and it doesn’t go as far a Royal lane either

  • PeterTx52

    I don’t remember anyone complaining with the area west of Douglas and south of NWhighway got overrun with high rises

    • NealK

      I’m barely old enough to remember. If I recall correctly, no true highrises (10+ stories) have been built in that area since the early 1980s at the latest.

      There is a more practical reason no one complained about those highrises. Those buildings are in the city of Dallas, while the adjacent residential areas are in University Park. The residents had no standing to object. St. Michaels church is (I believe) in Dallas, so they tend to speak up when they don’t like the latest plan for Preston Center. Also, the rents charged in that part of Preston Center have historically been among the highest in the city, so no one at city hall who pays attention to the budget is complaining either.

  • jfpo

    That’s some serous white-people-problem whining right there. I’ll try and drudge up concern from Lake Nobody Cares.

    • JC

      You cared enough to post. You must have a lot of spare time if you are posting about things that you don’t care about.

  • derickschaefer

    Laura, thank you for the well written editorial and brief recap of our area’s history. Living in the Hockaday area I can attest that Margo has been flat out rude with the leadership in our community. We are pro development; yet, we can’t support additional retail when Walmart/Sams, the Valley View revamp, and the Daniel’s Family eye sore (antique store you reference) is already zoned retail. In fact, an official traffic study showed traffic to increase by 21% when wait times at the lights are already astronomically high. Where does Jennifer sit? To plagiarizer from your editorial “coy” and “listening”.

    • doug white

      I live a block from Inwood and forest and honestly don’t understand the hockaday opposition. The fact that the Daniels family is a terrible steward of the existing retail is no excuse for blocking nice redevelopment of the trash condos that are there presently and might help with tasteful development of the other side eventually. Valley view will take forever and serve a more regional fare. I see both Inwood and forest as reliever arteries, a mixed use development likely won’t impact traffic more than the present structure, just pray for LBJ to wrap up! I’d love to see a development open up neighborhood access to the creekfront for a play/ leisure area. Lots of potential there.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    [The latest battle is over a proposed sky bridge from the old Sanger
    Harris building (now Marshall’s and DSW Shoes) to the top deck of the
    city’s two-story parking garage. Not only would most Preston Center
    employees lose their current parking, leaving them nowhere else to go
    (except the surrounding neighborhoods),]

    Where in the skybridge proposal does it state that employees would be prohibited from continuing to park at the center?

    [but neighbors loathe the traffic congestion that will necessarily result from an additional 2,500 cars a day headed for Preston Center and the single ramp that will take them to the top of an already completely full garage. (The developer has its
    own half-empty parking garage at the other end of its building but likes
    taking over the public parking better.)]

    Why would the opening of a neighborhood super market increase traffic congestion? Don’t the neighbors residents ALREADY have to make trips to a super market? If a new super market is being built closer to neighborhood residents, wouldn’t that mean shorter supermarket trips, thereby resulting in LESS area traffic, rather than more? Also, wouldn’t the location of a supermarket in an area with a variety of other shopping and dining destinations lead to trip consolidation, in which shoppers would potentially visit multiple retail outlets at Preston Center (including the supermarket) on a single vehicle trip? If so, that would also result in LESS area traffic, rather than more.

    • 1st anon

      Residents of that area don’t shop like that. When they make a mega-run (time to stock up on the basics), they’ll drive further and include Target on their route. Then, they use the local grocery to run out and pick up a few things for tonight and tomorrow. A drive up to 2nd floor and a Skybridge does not lend itself to a quick run-in.

    • NealK

      “If a new super market is being built closer to neighborhood residents, wouldn’t that mean shorter supermarket trips, thereby resulting in LESS area traffic, rather than more?”

      You make some good points, but there is already a Tom Thumb in the former Preston Center East (now bearing the more developer-ish name “Plaza at University Park”). Also, there is a Tom Thumb at Northwest Highway and Boedecker. I believe the plan is to close the existing Preston Center store if the new one is approved, but with the locations so close together I doubt the traffic situation will improve. In fact it will probably get worse on the Preston Center West side as more grocery store shoppers are pushed to that side (at least for a while until the hideous traffic chases them away).

  • Wylie H Dallas

    But this would be a neighborhood supermarket, so it would exist primarily to serve neighborhood residents. People tend to shop at the supermarkets closest to their homes… it’s not like a small grocery store is going to be drawing traffic from throughout North Dallas.

    • Lucas

      So where is Ms. Miller getting the “2500 extra cars a day”? that this neighborhood market would be drawing? She must’ve gotten traffic projections from Mr. Morris!

      • 1st anon

        If it is recorded and you go back a couple of weeks to the Dallas City Council, you will hear Mr. Morris’ name brought up. Somehow, NCTCOG is involved.

      • Wylie H Dallas

        I think it would be more accurate to say that 2,500 neighborhood cars per day (if that is the right number) will be making shorter trips to the nearest supermarket, thereby reducing overall traffic.

        • Mavdog

          I expect the 2,500 figure is the average number of transactions per day that will be done by the grocer.

          While these customers will be taken from other nearby stores, they might or might not be shorter trips by the consumer.

          Also, the question is if the capacity of the streets is sufficient to absorb the additional traffic that the transactions will generate. If you frequent the Preston Center area during 7-9 AM or 4-6 PM you will likely agree the answer is no, there is no excess capacity to absorb the additional vehicle traffic.

    • 1st anon

      The interesting part, Wylie, is that most people in that neighborhood won’t shop at a Tom Thumb in that location. For most people in that area (Park Cities and Preston Hollow), they treat a grocery store as a super-sized 7-11. Now, nothing wrong with that model, but it doesn’t work if soccer mom/dad has to drive up to the second floor of parking, maneuver across a skybridge, and back. I tend to believe that the grocery store is a red herring for something else.

      • Wylie H Dallas

        A red herring for what?

        • 1st anon

          Let’s say that T-Crow builds the bridge, and they do such an excellent job, that they come back to the City of Dallas and suggest: “hey, you know that big parking lot? Let us build something there and maximize tax revenue for you”.

          Or, 15 years from now …. “hey we put in a grocery store. It worked great. We’d like to re-do it again, but as a 10-story mixed use”

          Or, “hey, we built a skybridge for you in Preston Center. How about you let us build this Sam’s right next to Dallas Farmer’s Market”?

          Yeah, a little bit whack-o conspiracy maybe …. but a grocery store just doesn’t work there. Ask Park Cities residents who shop in that area.

  • 1st anon

    It’s not an exclusive neighborhood. Anyone can shop at Preston Center. Buy a house or condo and you can live nearby as well. No HOA approvals. Quite a few neighbors are senior citizens.

  • 1st anon

    She also laments: “Preston Hollow … has … been cut in two by the Dallas North
    Tollway”.

    Does she not know the history of the DNT? That it was a railroad and already somewhat split the area?

  • NorthDallas

    It’s always interesting to read comments. If this post was about development in Bishop Arts or a restaurant n White Rock Lake or tearing down an old building in downtown, most of you would have already had petitions all over the internet, neighborhood meetings scheduled and Facebook posts flying. Why do you think that residents in North Dallas or Far North Dallas are less entitled to maintaining their neighborhoods as they have been than in other areas in the city? Not all of us like McMansion’s and tear-downs and faux-ugly, super-dense and poorly built mixed-use developments with rental units that will end up 95% empty in a few years. We like our neighborhood businesses who have been here for 10,15,20+ years and our trees and our green space and our parking. We have enough semi-full strip malls and empty storefronts that can be repurposed before building new retail is necessary. There are a lot of businesses in Preston Center besides a grocery store. Trying to navigate to a doctor or bank at lunch time is a nightmare and it will get worse. Regular people live and work in North Dallas and should not be ridiculed for wanting the same quality of life that residents in more “hip” and “politically correct” neighborhoods think they should have as well. Thank you.

    • Los_Politico

      A supermarket in a commercial area is not quite paving a corner of White Rock Lake. But a nobel effort at appropriating your enemies arguments, B+.

      • jfpo

        You grade on a generous curve.

      • NorthDallas

        No but what is being proposed by the owners of the townhouses at the n/w corner of Forest & Inwood is quite upsetting to many residents in the immediate and surrounding area (rezoning being proposed (but not submitted yet) to high density mixed-use. We don’t get a lot of traction in our part of town further north and further west unless there’s another earthquake.

    • jfpo

      Most of the developers trying to ruin East Dallas or Bishop Arts or recklessly destroying historic buildings come from the Parkie/Preston Hollow bubble. Sure, you should fight to keep your neighborhood the way you want it, but those of us outside the bubble can’t help but roll our eyes as you get a taste of what the rest of us “regular people” have been dealing with for years.

      • 1st anon

        Prove it. It’s all to easy to blame “the bubble” for Dallas citizen’s lack of voting good representation. I’m in East Dallas, but I’m tired of seeing blame tossed elsewhere.

    • Wylie H Dallas

      The subject is a proposed grocery store in an existing commercial building on a site surrounded entirely by existing commercial development.

      No one is talking about intruding on an existing residential neighborhood, here.

      • jfpo

        I’m amused when parkie/hollow folks call Preston Center “urban.”

  • Luis Manuel Ramírez

    Love the article. As a resident and homeowner in PH, I agree that what makes Dallas better than most cities where I have lived are the many distinct and unique neighborhoods. The mix and boundaries between commercial and residential make Dallas a very easy city in which to live. But when high density development occurs without the appropriate planning and rebuilding of the infrastructure, we may end up with another Brickell (Miami) or Buckhead (Atlanta): traffic gridlock, tripled travel times and perhaps higher crime rates. Why we don’t we start with fixing the roads we already have? They are some of the worst in the city. Why don’t we develop for higher quality of living for all residents? I love the fact that I still have neighbors who grew up in the area as well as transplants like myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but when it burned, it brought down an empire. Dallas isn’t Rome, but my home is my castle. And I love living here too. God bless.

  • Ambulanceguy

    First I agree with Laura Miller that a supermarket at Preston Center would be a disaster. I go there once a week and parking and traffic is a mess. I can’t wait to see how long it takes the fire engines to leave the new station built at one of the city’s busiest and most congested intersections. The supermarket will fail, if anyone is dumb enough to build it, because people won’t want to deal with the traffic congestion when there are easier to reach alternatives.

    That said nothing gives me more pleasure than to hear that Miller was stiff armed at city hall. Those of us who dealt with her as mayor knew her as an arrogant and noxious individual whose personality stood in the way of many things that could have been accomplished. Business people I worked with who met with Miller are still bitter about her attitude to anyone who dared disagree with her. While she is sometimes right on the issues her arrogance stands in the way of really accomplishing anything. I thought one of the most telling quotes about her was when she said her husband and children had to share a bathroom.

    • JC

      Miller is arrogant.
      But the Developers are even more so….

  • Los_Politico

    If no one is going to shop there then there will be no traffic. So why complain?

  • Montemalone

    Allow me to paraphrase:
    “I got mine so screw you”

    By her own admission, Preston Hollow is in the heart of the city, a growing city. People want to live and play and work in that heart of the city, so developers work to provide places for that to occur.
    Typical NIMBY behavior.

    Tell ya what Laura, former mayor of a city where the schools weren’t good enough for your kids, why don’t you pack your bags and move to Frisco?

    • derickschaefer

      The beauty of Dallas is diversity. You can go public, private, or even homeschool and lead a balanced life. Don’t criticize Laura for exercising choice–thank her for continuing to pour time and energy into events like the Mayor’s Race were DISD students are exposed to healthy diets and exercise. Prior to her involvement DISD kids couldn’t participate.

      Our current leaders including Jennifer and Lee Kleinman could care less about DISD. This situation in Lee’s district exemplifies where he turned a blind eye to kids over developers. http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/11/11/children-at-risk-crosswalk-controversy-continues/

  • Preston Hollow

    Miller is wrong but that is no surprise to me, the Cowboys moved as far from Miller as they could. http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/mayor-buzzkill-6376110

    The northwest corner of Inwood and Forest is not turning townhomes into retail but rental apartments into townhomes, apartments, and retail (sound like Uptown?) while giving some much needed acres to Jesuit. And yes, the retail across the street is ugly as heck. But is that really a reason to not want something good looking at the intersection? Raise the bar! (hint, hint, history of Preston Royal … history of Preston Forest – which were ugly in there day too.)

    • derickschaefer

      She is right. 80K sqft of retail is equal to Preston/Royal. Then you add bricks & sticks apartments and sports fields–this significantly changes the neighborhood and the neighborhood isn’t onboard. The property owner lives in NY!!! Once the NE corner comes online, the problem multiplies exponentially.

      Slow change is good. Walmart will put some retailers and grocery out of business. NE corner needs to realize its potential. We can make progress before we react in knee jerk fashion.

      • Mavdog

        “80K sqft of retail is equal to Preston/Royal”

        no, the NW/NE/SE corners of Preston/Royal has 5 times that amount of retail.

        “The property owner lives in NY!!!”

        the owner of the property is the same family that has owned it for decades, the Daniels, who also still own the NE corner. And if they did live in NY, what difference would that make?

        “Walmart will put some retailers and grocery out of business”

        so you are saying if they build a Wal Mart (which is not what is being proposed according to the preliminary plans), too many consumers will choose to shop there, it will provide a superior choice than the existing retailers nearby, so it shouldn’t be allowed? not a very logical argument to say the least.

        • derickschaefer

          1) Not NW/NE/SE. Pick one corner and you get 100K. It’s a lot. 2) NY owner getting preference over the local neighbors is exactly what this article points out. Jennifer is anti-neighborhood. 3) Walmart/Sams is built (Midway) Not complaining. Still, it will leave a black hole where the existing Wal-mart is and will likely kill a big box at Marsh or Preston. It is just competition. My only point is let’s let it play out before we jump to what the needs are. We currently have empty big boxes at REI location and life support big boxes are the antique store, Sears Outlet, and Valley View. Let’s prove out proper utilization of existing zoning before rezoning more.

          • Mavdog

            Pick one corner and you get about 150,000 SF. That’s the point, 80,000 SF isn’t close to what is at Preston/Royal, an intersection with similar traffic capacity to Inwood/Forest.

            The owner, who as mentioned is a local family not a New Yorker, isn’t getting any “preference”, they are exercising the same property rights as any other owner. They can apply for entitlements and go thru the process no matter where they reside. Your remark about “lives in NY!!!” is wrong and nonsensical.

            “Jennifer is anti-neighborhood”?? I am not a Gates supporter, but that comment is ridiculous. Being for a rezone does not make one “anti-neighborhood”.

            The WalMart is a relocation so it will not have much of an affect on the other retail centers in the market or take market share from the existing retailers at Marsh or Preston. The retail project at Inwood/Forest will be a neighborhood center, not a regional center, and projects such as Valley View are vastly different.

          • Preston Hollow

            It’s only 40,000 sqft as presented on 6/23/15 Forestwood Development meeting.

          • derickschaefer

            Mavdog (or person hiding behind that name). Your anger has been evident since your first comment. Now your lack of quantitative reasoning is starting to show.

            Walmart is not an an apples for apples relo. It is a modern Walmart combining a large store format + grocery. Add a Sams and we are apples to a watermelon.

            In terms of the Preston/Royal comparison, a) the plan calls for sports fields (surges of traffic for events) + residential (8AM traffic surges) + retail in an area that has 4 private schools and 2 public schools all using the same intersection! Add the fact that the NE retail zone goes all the way past Willow. Again, a box of apples to an entire produce truck.

            I know. . the Daniels are the “Cleaver Family” of Dallas. Then why did the lead Daniel fly into Dallas yesterday to conduct some meetings. I tend to get in my car to drive across town. I love the image of the “well known” town favorites. Did Sarah Dodd give you the password to that screen name and tell you to “go get’em”? I’m smelling a PR plant. . . .

          • Mavdog

            “Walmart is not an an apples for apples relo.”

            oh, right. The Walmart is moving about 500 yards from an 140,000 SF store to an 180,000 SF. store That’s a Red Delicious apple for a MacIntosh apple.

            The Sams is moving from Midway/Belt Line, about 2 miles away. Moving from a 133,000 SF store to a 136,000 Sf store. yes, apples to apples there, too.

            Do you have any idea what you are talking about? apparently not….

            Sports fields generate traffic at non-competitive (pun intended) times to commuter and retail times. Plus it’s really a zero sum on the sports fields, as there are fields existing at Jesuit that will move south across Willow, or don’t you know that?

            “2 public schools using the same intersection”

            wow, exaggeration at it’s utmost! You think White and Adams generate traffic volume at Inwood/Forest? that’s really funny!

            “the lead Daniel”

            you seem preoccupied with where people reside, as if that is a rationale for deciding what rights they should have relative to their property. that’s not how the law works bucky. at least for us who recognize and respect a person’s property rights.

            “I’m smelling a PR plant. . . .”

            apparently your sense of smell is as bad as your arguments. Mavdog has been posting on DFW blogs for over a decade. I live near Hockaday, been here for over 30 years.

            when a poster resorts to attacking the person it shows they’ve lost the argument.
            yes, you have.

          • derickschaefer

            Thanks MavDog. No need to respond as you confirmed my point. 🙂

          • Mavdog

            If your “point” was that you had no credible rationale and were missing the crucial facts of the issue, yes, you are correct. I did confirm all the above.

            thanks for playing.

          • derickschaefer

            500ft …. 2 miles …..

      • Preston Hollow

        Actually it is 40,000 sqft: half restaurant and half retail.

        The oweners are the Daniels Family, a well known Dallas family. Regency, the retail development group is out of Atlanta, Georgia. Greystar (the residentual developer) is headquartered in Charleston, SC. Greystar’s COO is Bill Maddux, a former COO of Trammell Crow Companies. Scott Wise is the Executive Managing Director overseeing multifamily developments was also from Trammell Crow. Trammell Crow is a Dallas-based company.

    • JC

      Did you want the tax payers of Dallas to be lining Jerry’s pockets? That what Arlington signed up for. A bad deal for the community. Miller didn’t handle it well. But Jerry’s greed meant a good deal for Dallas was never on the table. Just look at Arlington

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Trying to follow this…

    Case #1) Everyone is so pleased with the way the skybridge turns out, that they ask to help redo the garage? What would be wrong with that… the City and residents would have plenty of opportunity to weigh in, evaluate, seek competitive offers, or simply decline.

    Case #2) This is actually a Trojan horse which works well for 15 years, but Crow’s secret plan is to do something else in 2030?!? And, again, anyone can propose anything at any time… it is not like this grants them any sort of preferential right to do anything besides that for which they are actually seeking approval.

    Case #3) They seek rezoning or a variance for a different type of project, somewhere else in the city? Isn’t that what real estate companies attempt to do as a matter of course? As an aside, if you’re making an allusion to the CityPlace Sam’s Club fiasco, that is a project of the Trammell Crow Company, which was sold by the Crow family long ago to CBRE, an international real estate company. The skybridge is Harlan Crow’s project… different company entirely.

    Finally, if the project won’t work there, as you suggest, then we’re discussing a non-issue, since it won’t generate significant traffic.

    • 1st anon

      Case 1: It does pretty well. City staff doesn’t like dealing with the many different owners and businesses in the area, so they ask Crow to take over full management, which leads to the parking garage getting torn down and major development. I’d be worried about that if I lived anywhere nearby and enjoyed Preston Center.

      Case 2: Commercial real estate people think in long terms. I once heard a story about Ray Nasher that when he was in his later years, his biggest worry was the expiring lease on Northpark Mall: a 99-year lease. Sure, a bit far-fetched, but 2030 isn’t that far away.

      Case 3: Yeah, the allusion was to CityPlace Sams, and was incorrectly placed, as you have said. However, that sort of quid pro quo goes on all the time. “I built you a bridge, now help me with XYZ project”.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    So now you’re saying it won’t generate traffic? I’m getting confused.

    • 1st anon

      My point is that a grocery store doesn’t make sense there. They could put in something else that generates traffic, but a 55k sq. ft. grocery store won’t do it. They’ll shop at Tom Thumb/Inwood/University for the big stockpile, then look for easy-in/easy-out for everything else.

  • Mavdog

    Come on Tim, it’s not “Jennifer Gates”. It’s “Jennifer STAUBACH Gates”, how did you miss seeing the maiden name when it has been prominent on all her campaign signs and literature? It’s the reason she is the District’s Councilperson!

    I support Ms. Miller’s work on these issues but I also do not agree with her positions on all of them. Yes, the increased density of the Transwestern rezone was intruding on the neighborhoods on which it bordered. Yes if the neighborhood around Hockaday does not support a rezone from residential to commercial for the northwest corner of Inwood and Forest, their representative on the Plan Commission should follow their wishes.

    However the Preston Center cases were not intrusive, they were compatible with the area, and should be approved. If Crow Holdings wishes to invest its own money into a bridge from their building to the parking structure, let them. If a property owner wishes to construct a residential tower in an area of other towers let them. If a property owner wants to remove the structures on their property, including fencing, they do not owe their neighbors anything.

  • NealK

    I am starting to wonder whether anyone involved in the Tom Thumb/skybridge project has ever actually spent time in Preston Center West during the day. Parking is already a horror. Last fall I planned to meet some friends for lunch at Kent Rathbun’s. After driving around for 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot (including on the upper deck of the garage), I gave up and went back to work. I literally have not been back to that side of Preston Center or its junky mishmash of businesses since then. So how on earth does Safeway/Tom Thumb, Trammell Crow, Lincoln Property Company or anyone else involved in this folly imagine that shoppers will flock to Preston Center to grocery shop under these conditions? Fighting my way through the intersections along Northwest Highway between the Tollroad and Hillcrest or the dozen or so stoplights on Preston immediately south of NW Highway, only to face a wall of cars, reserved parking spots, and badly configured one-way streets inside Preston Center West is not my idea of a pleasant trip to the grocery store. There are only two possibilities for Preston Center – leave it alone and let it fester, or bulldoze the whole thing – garage and all – and start over.

  • Charles Bradshaw

    The only thing in this immature composition that has unquestionably increased traffic in Preston Hollow is when Laura “Silver Spoon” Miller moved to Preston Hollow. Had she stayed in Oak Cliff as most people in Preston Hollow would have undoubtedly preferred, there would be less traffic from her daily darts back and forth to the schools and stores she deems worthy of her standards.

    Prior to 2004, I recall seeing the then-Mayor getting her kids’ haircuts in Preston Center at the Stride-Rite store. Since she lived in Oak Cliff back then, she was rudely and selfishly making the traffic worse in Preston Hollow for Preston Hollow residents like myself when she didn’t even live there.

    Of course, back in the old days when there was less traffic, the residents of Preston Hollow were not adding to congestion every day by driving to get a chicken sandwich at the Corner Bakery. If Ms. Miller would simply make her lunch at home every day, that in itself would reduce traffic in Preston Hollow.

    I don’t remember any efforts by Ms. Miller to close the Corner Bakery because of the impact it has had on traffic.

    The very increases in traffic in Preston Hollow about which Ms. Miller rails are because of the actions of herself and others like her. She wants her lifestyle of driving around all the time but wants to deny it to others since it makes traffic worse for her. There must be some kind of award for this elevated hypocrisy.

    As was the case during her unfortunate tenure as mayor, Ms. Miller is simply an attention-seeking obstructionist. Dallas as a whole and now Preston Hollow would be much better off with her living and ranting somewhere else.

    As for her rants against Councilwoman Gates, Dallas issued its verdict on Ms. Gates and her family a long time ago. Dallas is a much better place because of the Staubach family and their character. Ms. Miller falls far short on both of these measurements.

    • JC

      I’m not defending Miller, but your comments about her sound just like the immature rant you claim to be above…
      If you want to defend Gates, you’ll have to do better than that.
      Developers (like Staubachs) have done a lot of good in the community, but they are business people with their own interests. Her conflict of interests have resulted in her not being effective in representing the community.

  • jfpo

    The idea for a frat-boy floating party barge on White Rock Lake didn’t come from Casa View residents.

  • Dallas1989

    Isn’t laura miller the person who let Arlington get the new stadium? Hmmmm. Not sure she’s the person with the answers

  • tmickle

    OH give me a break…I have nearly been run over a dozen times in Preston Center…a skybridge would be a blessing…get over it!