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The Latest On The Dallas Real Estate Market

The latest news on the Dallas real estate market, including recent shake-ups and breakups in the major firms.
By Mary Candace Evans |

Battle Lines
All’s fair in love and war—and, evidently, local real estate.

Better don a hard hat if you venture near any of the area’s major real estate firms these days. Construction? No—tempers, mutinies, and a few flying paperweights. The most popular topic of conversation in real estate circles this summer is the comings and goings at a few of the city’s high-profile firms. More than 50 agents recently defected from the Campbell Center Abio/Coldwell Banker office; now they’re swearing their allegiance to Virginia Cook. Jeff Updike, who helped close Uptown Realtors at the end of May, is now heading up the newly opened in-town Virginia Cook office. Briggs Freeman Realtors are restless over slim pickin’s for some agents; we may also see a mass exodus from that venerable firm.

But the biggest buzz is about Adleta & Poston, the prestigious Preston Center firm that was headed by Lynda Adleta and Kimberly Poston. (A&P includes the Dave Perry-Miller team, which accounts for half of the megamansion sales in town.) It’s a long story that has kept A&P Realtors calling in Valium refills for months. Basically, it’s a partnership gone bad—real bad.

Sources tell me that Lynda made several attempts to dissolve the company because she was (allegedly) trying to avoid buying out Kimberly. Naturally, the agents were soon split, pitching their pup tents in Camp Lynda or Camp Kimberly. Lawyers were brought in (natch), but the courts didn’t buy that A&P was to be put in receivership, given the company’s record-breaking year in sales. The way I hear it, the agents themselves called a meeting, and successful arbitration (the very next day) left all parties—um, shall we say—satisfied, though one source tells me that Lynda didn’t even get a pencil out of the deal.

As it stands now, Kimberly will continue to own and operate A&P; she’s keeping the office space, the Christie’s Great Estates affiliation, and most of the agents, including Dave, of course. Lynda’s new boutique real estate company, Adleta Fine Properties, will be headquartered in Preston Center. Camp Lynda now consists of 20 former A&P agents, plus Lynda, her two daughters, and new office manager Gene Taylor, who left Eleanor Mowery-Sheets’ Coldwell Banker office. Head count over in Camp Kimberly: the other 76 A&P Realtors. Hmm. Numbers are fascinating, don’t you think?

From other quarters, I’ve heard reports that Ellen Terry is nearing or at the end of her noncompete contract with Ebby Halliday, who bought her firm in 1997. Rumor has it that she and Lynda may pair up—again. They severed a few business ties of their own 20 years ago, when they dissolved the partnership that was Terry, Abio & Adleta. But Ellen has been supportive of Lynda during the A&P break up, so methinks there could soon be a swelling of the ranks at Adleta Fine Properties. Ellen and Ebby even stopped by Lynda’s new office for a visit. Wonder what that means?

Still on the subject of severed ties: former EDS CEO Dick Brown sailed into town in December ’98 and bought a Volk Estates mansion built by Tony McClung for about $5 million. Five years later, he’s listing the property for $9.995 million. (Reduced to sell! The original asking price was $10.1 million.) Listing agent Linda McMahon of Briggs Freeman probably can’t do much advertising because Mr. Brown would like to keep a low profile (no kidding!). So, Linda, here’s a plug. For sale, 6700 Turtle Creek: a 10,000-square-foot English estate on .98 leafy acres across from Goar Park, 100-percent limestone exterior (imported from Bath, England), gourmet kitchen, seven fireplaces, four floors with elevator, exercise room, media room, wine cellar, library—in a word, loaded. Like Dick.

No rush, though. Sales are still sluggish on the high side ($2 million-plus). But, says veteran appraiser D.W. Skelton, “Below $1 million, the market is pretty robust.”

Though a few people are buying big. John M. Scott III, now president and CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts (Hello, the Mansion.), bought a house on Beverly after relocating from St. Louis, Mo. The former managing director of Maritz, Wolff & Co., a private equity real estate investment group holds degrees from Dartmouth and Harvard Business School (be impressed). I suppose we can expect great things from our favorite hotel.

So, what would you do if your ex moved in across the street? While some might embrace the idea (or the ex?), most of us would open a charge account at the nearest hunting-goods store. Or run for the hills. Seems this is the choice of Mike Mullen’s ex-wife Debbie, who has listed her Dentwood spread—five bedrooms, guest house, and pool on 1 acre for $5.295 million—with Ellen Terry’s Ruth Lindsley. Mike is building a new home for current wife Tiffany on the corner of Hollow Way and Dentwood. Talk about fireworks.

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Hot Properties

3905 POTOMAC AVENUE: This 6,562-square-foot, Steve Chambers design is an early dogtrot-style with covered porch between two wings. The living and family rooms run together, creating one huge room where you could, say, practice roping. Or, listing agent Len Bourland says, shut the glass pocket doors between the two and play “I-can’t-hear-you.” The kids’ rooms are upstairs in the east wing, while Mom and Dad enjoy the peace and quiet in the west wing. $3,095,000 reduced to $2,950,000

6706 NORTHAVEN ROAD: Martha Tiner’s listing may be the only Dallas estate with its own 60-by-30-foot exercise studio, complete with real dance floor, mirrors, and barre. It also comes with all of the usuals: three bedrooms, formal living and dining, pool/spa, porch, and commercial-style kitchen. To top it all off, this soft contemporary is surrounded by water on three sides—a rare treat in Dallas! $2,100,000

4500 ROLAND AVENUE, NO. 101: It’s more than 3,100 square feet of glorious Turtle Creek living at the exclusive Park Plaza high-rise. Of course, there’s the 24-hour security, valet, doorman, three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and M&Ms (marble & molding) to recommend it, but, listing agent Marianne Morris tells me, here’s the kicker: your own full-sized swimming pool on a private, landscaped and fenced, terrace. $795,000 reduced to $725,000