Second Time Around

Local developers gamble an pockets of overlooked real estate

Real estate’s best opportunities, some of them, are tucked away behind freeway intersections and in traditional neighborhoods. They’re in aging communities, maverick municipalities and little quirks in zoning laws and deed restrictions: all golden opportunities for the savvy developer.Usually, builders have looked to the outskirts for the best deals. The $130-million purchase of 6,400 acres in Allen by Houston’s Gibralter Savings is the best example of outrageous land appreciation on the Metroplex fringes (the land is more than 30 miles from downtown Dallas). But some of the most aggressive wheeling and dealing is happening right here under our noses. For every developer checking out Frisco or Duncanville, there’s one right in our urban backyards. Take that literally.

The classic example is Oak Lawn. The charming neighborhood of old homes, galleries and restaurants is transforming into a bustling uptown of offices, upscale apartments and nightclubs. Meanwhile, some sleepy bedroom communities are waking up to eager beaver builders-putting up apartments, condominiums, even stores and offices. One strong candidate for revival is north of Love Field, where the prospects for an increasingly active airport are encouraging developers to take a second look.

Over in Arlington, the daughter of a well-known TV-manufacturing entrepreneur has her own plans for a medical campus on 340 acres. Some pocket neighborhoods in other areas-Hamilton Park and Buckingham Place-are playing the tune to which developers are dancing. And Hwy. 121, in the shadow of the much more controversial and rural 190 in the northern Mid-Cities area, has its own land rush under way.

The strategy is an in-filling, a reurbaniza-tion. For some, it’s cashing in on their old homestead, for others it’s a livelihood-anticipating the need.s of the developer and getting in on the pocket land booms around town. For others, it’s watching a favorite neighborhood, restaurant or bar finally giving up the ghost to the bulldozers, and a quantum increase in traffic snarls. But for Dallas, it’s an inevitable turning of the land to more lucrative benefits. Here, then, is a rundown on the hottest pockets for real estate development in Dallas.



OAK LAWN-The Land of Speculation Rudolph Benevides is waiting patiently for the right buyer. Since he put up the “For Sale” sign in front of the “Little Mexico” house, he has averaged a call a week.

In most other locations in Dallas, the frame house in the old Oak Lawn neighborhood might be worth about $12,000. But the house isn’t in most places. It holds down a corner a few blocks northwest of The Crescent (the 10-acre office/retail/hotel development of the Rosewood Corp. and Phillip W. Shepherd), two blocks from SPG International’s silvery Rolex Building, and across the street from a six-block parcel that another developer has already bought up.

Last year, Benevides’ 81-year-old father almost sold the house. But his sons persuaded him to hold out. “I told him that I’d get him at least $100 a square foot,” says Benevides. Today, land around The Crescent is selling for as high as $125 a square foot. That puts a $375,000 price tag on the property.

Professional and amateur land investors, except for the few like Benevides who are still holding out, have already been in and out of the Oak Lawn real estate market, that area between downtown and Highland Park. They’ve taken with them astronomical profits in some cases. Back in 1979, you could steal office land there for $10 per square foot. By 1984, a square foot of Oak Lawn dirt, on the average, exceeded $52.80. The dirt with gold in it-say, along Woodall Rodgers-is up around $150 a square foot.

So you don’t have to ask Benevides his price to know that Oak Lawn is a great place for holdouts. You can’t drive down McKin-ney or Cedar Springs or half a dozen other streets without veering around construction barricades or peering into yet another four-story deep hole and wondering what will come up out of it. Here’s a brief rundown on the construction, as well as a few purchased-but-untouched parcels:

The traffic-stopper hole at Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs (across from the Melrose) will be taking shape as The Centrum. A two-level retail courtyard-from Fifth-Avenue retail to a grocery store, a nightclub (Visage has signed on), a European spa, and five restaurants-will line the sidewalk. Stairstepping upward above the retail will be nine floors of offices plus nine floors of luxury condominiums (at $200,000 to $1 million-plus). The developer is Cedar Oaks Ltd., a joint venture of Argosy Development and Hurd Development Co. with limited partners.

Just across from The Centrum on Wel-born, Triland Properties is holding its half-block for high-rise development, but that land likely won’t be built on soon. Meanwhile, Triland’s completing its 16-story office building, Regency Plaza on the Park (the park is a 60-foot landscaped brick plaza), just down at Welborn and Rawlins. Triland may then be ready to tackle its 1.7-acre site at Fairmount, Enid, and Routh streets. Best estimates now are that it will include residential with the office development.

Most of the land surrounding the Crescent is in the hands of developers: Rosewood and Shepherd have protected their flank along Cedar Springs and Pearl by buying the six-blocks across Cedar Springs, to the west.

The old office site of Gulf American Investments, in the three-story Victorian home across Maple Street from The Crescent, was sold to Property Company of America for a rumored one and one-half million. PCA will have to build big on that site, but hints they have no plans for the next few years.

Just up McKinney and catty-cornered from both The Crescent and Randy Heady’s Chateau Plaza is architect Bradley Bayoud’s proposed Flatiron building-a stand-out design that, in some minds, is more suited to a canvas than an urban backdrop.

On the opposite side of The Crescent at Cedar Springs and Maple, Robert Edelman & Co.’s Cedar Maple Plaza is more neighborly, with its brick facade and classic lines. Present plans for phase two call for two office towers set back from the street behind the lower buildings. Robert Edelman had the foresight, or luck, to buy his property before word was out that The Crescent tract had been assembled-and prices took even greater leaps.

Up farther on McKinney, say good-bye to Fran’s Cafe and Le Rendez Vous at their location on the southwest corner of Hall. They’re making way for an office building to be developed by Wiltex. The first floor does promise retail and restaurants.

The Vineyard area, one of the most traded assemblies of land in Oak Lawn, once again has multiple developers on most of the key parcels. The centerpiece development, the Quadrangle, will be a maze-like arrangement of retail space, leased by Kenneth Hughes Interests (of Highland Park Village and Galleria leasing fame). Two eight-story offices are still scheduled and the future also promises a “Food Hall,” a marketplace (both open-air and air-conditioned) in which you can buy specialty foods for home, fill your gourmet cooking needs, or take it easy in one of the restaurants or bistros. The Quadrangle’s proposed residential development is out for good. But a small hotel is being considered for the last phase of development.

First Southwest Equity and Fulcrum Properties has property at Carlisle and Cedar Springs (one block off the Turtle Creek greenbelt) and plans about 10 stories.

The triangular parcel at Cedar Springs, Routh and Cole, which Victoria Station vacated, will now sit under a 120,000-square-foot office building developed by Property Company of America.

Just across Turtle Creek from the Vineyard (at Cedar Springs and Gillespie), the old IBM building and an adjacent one are tumbling down to make room for a 14-story office building, as headquarters for the Summers Companies.

A block or so over from the Summers’ development at Cedar Springs and Sale, Lin-pro Company of Texas says it’s putting a large building-a million square feet-where the Gulf Insurance Group building is now. Linpro will need a zoning variance for such an ambitious project.

With all the activity in Oak Lawn, the western end of the area adjacent to Woodall Rodgers is surprisingly quiet. But don’t expect it to stay that way. Centre Development is land banking 22 or so acres there for future development. They’re talking about mixed-use with the possibility of a hotel.

The land where Woodall Rodgers runs into Central Expressway has been changing hands repeatedly since at least 1980, with most of it now assembled in a few hands, including Lehndorff Group, Commodore Savings and Loan, EDS and Ross Love.

Most real estate people see Woodall Rodgers lined with mid-rise and high-rises, with low-rise retail and residential backing up north into Oak Lawn-at least in the foreseeable future.

It’s hard to believe that, at the beginining of this year, only 2.7 million square feet of office space existed in Oak Lawn. By year’s end, another 3.5 million square feet-17 buildings-will be added to the office inventory, according to Fults & Associates, a real estate brokerage firm. If announced projects are all built, the size of the market will more than double in yet another two years.

Overbuilt? No question. But leasing and preleasing is picking up. Part of it is the result of giveaways: free rent for a few years, free office panelling, carpeting and other luxuries. But another part shows a serious interest from tenants outside the Oak Lawn are.

The occupants for the 17 buildings coming on line this year, of course, will come from all over the city. The bulk of the new tenants won’t be coming from downtown, except to such prominent developments as The Crescent. Jerry Fults sees most of the new tenants as smaller, service-related companies (such as public relations firms) that do work for clients downtown or in the nearby World Trade Center. Tenants in the Oak Lawn market traditionally have been smaller, entrepreneurial companies in professional service-related fields.

Losing out to the Oak Lawn market will be, in part, older buildings along the Stem-mons and North Central Expressway corridors, predicts Michael Young of Michael Young & Partners, a brokerage firm. He also sees tenants coming down from north of LBJ Freeway as a part of an overall trend in the marketplace that he calls “re-urbanization’- the movement now following the exodus to the suburbs.

Young hypothesizes another trend that will spring forth in the Oak Lawn area: “I think high-rise rental residential is the next big explosion.”

“We’ve added about 4 million square feet to Oak Lawn and 10 million square feet to downtown. If one office worker occupies 300 square feet of space, that’s almost 50,000 new office workers within a several-mile radius. They’re not going to get on Central Expressway and try to go home every night.” Young predicts that a number of these workers will want to be as close to restaurants and nightlife as to their work center. “They’re willing to risk a six-month apartment lease-but not a $300,000-mortgage commitment. I think Oak Lawn will have a huge untapped base for sophisticated urban rental residential.”

If he’s right, within a couple of years you should see high-rise apartments in the Vineyard-not the $2,000-a-month kind, but ones $1,000 and less. “It would not have been feasible a year ago, but I think now the neighborhood fabric is coming together,” ventures Webb L. Wallace, a joint partner in an apartment project with Tishman Realty Corporation of Dallas.

“The Crescent will be finished by then, and it’s a few blocks away. The Quadrangle is a couple of blocks away, and people can walk to the restaurants along McKinney,” says Wallace. The apartments Wallace and Tishman are building will be on a six-acre site along Cedar Springs between Carlisle and Cole. Though high-rise rental units, except for The Remington in North Dallas, haven’t been built in Dallas for a quarter of a decade, Wallace feels that Dallas is now ready for a more urban, inner-city style of apartments.

But the biggest problem facing residential development in Oak Lawn is the inflated price of land. If the rents are to be low enough so that people can afford to live there, most developers believe that the buildings must be built taller. Yet high-rise apartments aren’t what Dallas people, many of whom want their unit to lead directly to the outdoors, are accustomed to. James Robertson, vice president of First Southwest Equity Corp., claims his company has found a way around the high-rise.

The Commons at Turtle Creek-the construction you’re seeing to the right on Cedar Springs just before you reach the Turtle Creek greenbelt-is a high-density, yet garden-style, apartment complex. No building exceeds four stories. Even with the density, economics allow green space-a courtyard around which the buildings cluster. Monthly rents for the apartments (efficiencies to two-bedroom/two bath) will range from $435 to $1,000. First Southwest Equity owns other property in the Vineyard area, so you may be seeing more of the same if the bottom line on the The Commons’ income statement is positive.



THE OAK LAWN office development boom has split Dallas down the middle. You didn’t have to live in Oak Lawn to affectionately remember the charming melange of restaurants and galleries that gentrified the district over recent years.

Major retail-the revival of the Quadrangle, and the unique retail of both The Crescent and The Centrum- is well under way. Some developers are building retail on the lower levels of their office buildings. Restaurants, too, are going in some buildings. And other restaurants, which own their property and have businesses worth more than the land, can withstand the pressure.

At the same time, many of the clusters of blocks that give Oak Lawn its distinctive-ness-such as the galleries and antique stores and the old Victorian homes in the State Thomas area-are legally protected from the bulldozers. Other areas, such as the houses in Northern Hills (off Armstrong across from Highland Park), or the Rock Creek area, are buffered from development. Despite exploding land values all around, the zoning puts a cap on many of the values.

There’s no question that some of the new development is not designed in context with the older neighborhood. The City Council-approved Oak Lawn Plan will stop future development of some of those, such as the fu-turistically reflective glass towers. Anyone with eyes on developing in Oak Lawn now will have to follow stricter landscaping rules. Over time, competition for tenants may force the older projects to do so as well. And variances in zoning will be harder and harder to come by.

The transitional streetscape is in chaos now, with all the bulldozers and cranes- and much of Oak Lawn isn’t a pretty sight. But once the booming phase of the transition is over, and once the marketplace drives out the second-rate new buildings while better development takes away some old eyesores, the new urban Oak Lawn may coalesce to be what it has been at its best-a true neighborhood of neighborhoods in which streetlife is a way of life.



THE BEDROOM COMMUNITIES-Not Sleepers for Long

To last year’s list of new bedroom communities, small towns where developers’ signs popped up on every corner, add some new names. “Due east from Piano, in places like Wylie and east of Garland in Rowlett, there’s substantial growth, and it’s occurring rather quietly,” says Jack E. Briley, president of Briley Research Corp., a real estate marketing research company.

In Rowlett, for example, Briley records 1,000 permits for new homes last year. Two years before, a time when housing leaped up out the doldrums that it had been in, only one-tenth that number of permits were recorded. Another eight-fold increase in two years was measured by Briley in apartments in Rowlett and its neighbor to the south, Balch Springs.

Builders looking for cheaper land for new homes are filling in the development gaps to the east of Dallas. Meanwhile, the north/northwesterly focus continues. Last year, Allen and Frisco received the “Flying Dirt” Award. This year, Coppell and Lewisville are award winners, with Flower Mound earning an honorable mention.

“Two years ago, people hadn’t heard of Coppell. Now it’s one of the hottest areas. It was a little country town, and now it’s turning into another Piano,” says Briley.

“I’ll tell you where there’s a real sleeper. It’s North Fort Worth,” says Tracy Taylor of Watson & Taylor. “It’s in the Watauga-Sag-inaw area-north of I-820 between I- 35 and along Highway 377 up to Keller. That whole area out there is getting ready to happen.

“The homes that are selling right now are those for $100,000 and less. The land price is low enough in North Fort Worth to afford those kinds of homes. There’s a lot of activity-lots being cut, homes being bought, land transactions,” continues Taylor. “It’s just like Cedar Hill. People can still afford the housing. That’s where the rooftops are going to be.”

Swinging all the way down south of Dallas, the southern suburbs continue to boom. Development has been marching steadily from west to east, and most of the land for residential development already has sold in Cedar Hill. Now it’s Lancaster’s turn to receive the most new attention.



HIGHWAY 121-Best Bet

A year ago, land speculators were trying to get a piece of the action along a yet-undeveloped expressway loop north of LBJ, Hwy 190. They completely missed the opportunity closer in, older State Highway 121.

State Highway 121 isn’t much now-a mere two-lane. Its route, though, tracks a critical path right through the north/northwesterly area where Dallas real estate movers have been moving.

Plans call for the road to be six lanes all the way from the airport to McKinney opening up the North Dallas, Coppell, and Lew-isville area. “It’s going to be almost as important as the LBJ Freeway,” says Tracy Taylor of Watson & Taylor. Do the partners have any of the land? Taylor’s quick to reply: “As much as we can get our hands on.”

Although land along proposed State Highway 190 is not being ignored by land investors, they prefer its closer-in counterpart for pragmatic reasons. Widening and slightly rerouting part of Highway 121 is more feasible because two lanes exist. The highway has another plus going for it: Spearheading the campaign to line up landowners to donate their right-of-way land is a Ross Perot team member. And unlike proposed 190, landowners along 121 are willing to donate the acreage to widen the road, a move necessary to raise the upgrading of Highway 121 on the state’s “to do” list. Motivations are less than charitable, of course; the widened highway makes the land alongside jump in value.

No “good deals” will be made along this stretch of road. Those who own the property now are not babes to real estate. Well over half of the property actually fronting the highway is tied up by a handful of owners of the ilk of Rosewood Properties, Ross Perot, Lomas and Nettleton, H.R. “Bum” Bright, Henry Billingsley (son-in-law of Trammell Crow), George Mixon, the Huffine family, Opubco (Cloyce Box), and Fred Brodsky, to name a few.

“Basically, those who own the property aren’t selling, but people are making runs at them all the time,” says Greg Morse of Doell-Morse, Inc., a land brokerage firm.

At least one owner bought his land in past years at $10,000 an acre, or 23 cents per square foot. Others who bought in later paid probably about 50 cents a square foot at the most, one market watcher reports. Now look at today’s prices: Those properties that have sold recently but weren’t blessed with being at a major intersection or near the airport went for between $1.50 and $3.00. As you get closer in to the airport, prices run up to $4 or $5, according to land broker David Davidson. Those who own the major intersection properties could expect no less than $6 and at least one parcel has sold at $7.50, says Davidson.

Dallas folks are used to hearing prices at $200 and above per square foot (downtown) so $3 or even $7 sounds cheap. But, as Morse points out, these lands are no more than “goat pasture” right now. By the time Highway 121 is expanded, one wonders how high the high-rise offices will have to be to make the property pay for itself, once it begins the inevitable flips in ownership.



THE BACHMAN LAKE AREA-Spotty Redevelopment-or The Genesis of Revival?

Bachman Lake, at the head of the runway just north of Love Field, is one of those “picture postcard” areas. Yet the residences and business nearby, and along Northwest Highway to the west, are less than scenic. The area is, by and large, a strip of fast-food places, pawn shops, liquor stores and nightclubs.

Three developers are putting up a combined $75 million to say that the area around Love Field and Bachman Lake can sustain agressive real estate development. In the works now is a hotel, two mid-rise office buildings, a new retail center, and the renovation of a large, old shopping center.

Walnut Hill Village at Northwest Highway and Marsh Lane, a 33-year-old shopping center that has failed more than once, is no longer recognizable behind a new facade created by retail developers Hopkins-Shafer. Buildings at the front of the center were torn down to focus the entrance to the 255,000-square-foot, village-style center along streets lined with antique-style lighting. The majority of old tenants have hit the road, and the center, renamed Village at Bachman Lake, is mixing basic services and retail for neighborhood people with the boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops designed to attract the high-disposable-income crowd.

Developer Jackson-Shaw is targeting the business traveler on the road three or four nights a week with its Embassy Suite Hotel (a two-room arrangement with sitting/conference area and, in some suites, kitchens). Companies with personnel that frequently fly from Love Field are the target tenants for its two mid-rise office buildings. On the same 16-acre parcel at Lemmon and Northwest Highway, Trammell Crow is moving toward completion of its 80,000-square-foot specialty retail and restaurant center, which will include outdoor eating overlooking Bachman Lake. The two projects share a common name, Plaza on Bachman Creek.

“FOR A WHILE, everything was going north. Now we’re looking back to the city. You can see what’s happening in Oak Lawn. The Arts District is coming together. The downtown is booming. Preston Center (east of the Bachman area) speaks for itself, but the growth there has peaked,” says John Boles of Jackson-Shaw. Boles’ company is betting on getting some spillover from the Preston Center area. Love Field of course is the nucleus of the growth. Since its “death” in 1974 (when D/FW airport opened), the airport has revived as a close-in destination for commuter airlines such as Southwest and Muse. Activity has picked up so much that, rather than phasing the airport out, the city is obliged to rebuild the baggage pickup area and construct a huge parking garage.

Although Northwest Highway itself couldn’t be said to be in a state of revival, pockets of development are appearing. Already 1,000 or so new apartments have been built, and a number of sites are for sale, such as one across from Plaza on Bachman Creek.

At the Harry Hines end of the strip, Joe Lancaster’s Arcus Development Company has bought a five-acre site for 45,000 square feet of retail and two freestanding restaurants, on the present location of Lee Roy Jordan’s lumber yard. About an eighth of a mile to the east, Ray S. Tolson Co. is working on a retail strip. Connell Development is underway on its key corner of Northwest Highway and Harry Hines with a three-phase project which will include retail, office/showroom, and offices which will be called Northwest Corners. Not far away to the west at the triangular property where Northwest Highway, Walton Walker Freeway, and Stemmons Freeway converge, Connell is developing a 203-room Radisson Hotel.

“Everything from about the Brook Hollow Golf Club up to Walnut Hill along Harry Hines will be substantially redeveloped in the next five years,” predicts Lancaster. “A lot of people are trying to buy land in the area.” Land that was selling for $8 a square foot two years ago, he points out, is at $20 today.

With Las Colinas to the west, Preston Center to the east, Oak Lawn pressing up from the south and the LBJ office market nailing down the north, the Northwest Highway artery-with its lower prices and many areas in need of reclamation-may just be one of the next in-city areas for redevelopment.



THE HIGHLANDS OF ARLINGTON-

A “Smart” Campus Born of Dreams

With 340 acres of prime property to do with as you pleased and when you pleased, you could afford the leisure of dreaming. And that’s what Jane Mathes Kelton has been doing for the past 17 years about her family’s land along I-20 (bisected by Mat-lock Road) in Arlington. Now, with her son Andrew grown and working with her in their 2-year-old Kelton-Mathes Development Corp., she’s finally turning the land-and her dreams-into development.

The master-planned community, dubbed The Highlands of Arlington, will include all types of development except residential. But Kelton’s voice rises in pitch and her words pour out in a torrent when she speaks of the “medical and health campus,” one of the key centers of the multifaceted community. Explaining that hospitals are increasingly paring down to critical care only, she lays out the plans for centers for aerobics, a fitness laboratory, outpatient surgery, various forms of rehabilitation, diagnostics, and eventually research. One medical building is almost completed and at least 17 more acres will be devoted to medical facilities along with jogging trails and bicycle paths.

“Instead of having a smart building, we’ll have a smart campus,” describes Kelton of the centerpiece amenity. Eventually all buildings in the medical center will be connected to a medical databank and communications network available to doctors through individual office computers. Doctors will conceivably be able to check up on the latest journal reports or hook into diagnostic databanks to help pinpoint a particular malady. Kelton gets teased a bit by family members for “building her empire” and doing so in her 50. That doesn’t slow her down a bit. She simply points to her father, Curtis Mathes, who started fiddling with televisions when he was over 50, too.

HANGING TOGETHER-Hamilton Park wants to make a deal.

Hamilton Park homeowners are worried about money these days. It has them so worried, in fact, that they’re lining up financial counselors to speak at homeowners meetings. After all, a quarter or a half million dollars just dropped in your lap can be cause for concern.

“There are people who are getting ready for dreams, for that Mercedes or Cadillac they’ve never been able to buy. While they still don’t have the money in hand, this is the time to separate the dreams from reality,” says homeowner Margaret Stevenson.

No one in the middle-class neighborhood -an all-black subdivision built out in the middle of nowhere when the WWII veterans came home-has received a six-digit check yet. They also no longer live out in the middle of nowhere. Their 750 homes are tucked up behind one of the hottest areas in Dallas. Sitting on a slight rise above Central Expressway just north of Forest Lane, homeowners see the construction cranes from their windows. They want to be prepared when the cranes-and the windfall-shift in their direction.

It’s not that they want to leave. Many of the people have lived there for just over 30 years and reared their children there. This little piece of earth is the only one they’ve ever owned. They get out and pick the weeds in their yards, not just because it’s their home but because weeds make the whole neighborhood look bad. At night, they go the ballgames down at the school or just sit and visit on their porches.

The view from those porches, though, just isn’t the same. Already Central Expressway is lined with high-rises on the west. Now the activity has moved to their side. The drive-in theater out on Forest and Central Expressway has been under contract more than once. Bald from the scrape of a bulldozer, 21 acres at Central and LBJ is ready for new ownership. Even the Dallas Handbag Co. building can’t last forever. Its deed may restrict it to one-story, but if builders bought it and razed it, they could put up the 20-story structure the zoning allows.

“We don’t want to get out. But if they want our property, we want to set the price. Until the developer has satisfied each individual, there will be no sale,” declares Stevenson. “They’re still a neighborhood, and they’re planning to see this through together. “When developers start taking a piece of you, they leave what they don’t want. And no one else wants it either,” she continues.

Community leaders have hired attorney Reuben Ginsberg to represent their interests. The neighborhood is to be a package deal, if it is to be a deal at all. Not everyone has signed up yet, but the leaders are working on it. Ginsberg has been asked to bring in not less than $35 a square foot for the land. On a 7,500-square-foot lot, the $35 would multiply into just over a quarter of a million dollars. The larger lots would go for closer to a half-million dollars. One developer already has submitted a bid that Ginsberg threw away. But others are inquiring, and meetings are planned. A developer could do a lot with 172 acres just off the Central Expressway corridor.

Meanwhile, the residents just work together to protect the neighborhood they have. With the first new project to come in close to their neighborhood, Hamilton Park was lucky. They found a developer who proposed ways to lessen the impact of his Cot-tonwood Plaza-an office/hotel/retail project nearby, on the city park that cradles the neighborhood along Cottonwood Creek. He’s berming up the land into low hills, and planting trees behind the project to hide it from the residences. He’s also created a cul de sac at Schroeder to stop the commercial traffic through the Hamilton Park neighborhood.

Development is encasing Hamilton park, and at an ever-increasing pace, the neighborhood is becoming an anachronism. As they watch their area inevitably become a part of Dallas history, the folks who live there are planning for the day. Some homeowners welcome the change and the modest fortunes it might bring. Others realize that their neighborhood can’t be quantified in dollar signs-even the six-digit types.

“I just don’t know what I’d do without this,” says one neighborhood woman, pointing to her house and yard with the big shade tree in front. She shakes her head and just keeps on weeding her yard. She doesn’t want to think about it now. She can hear those building cranes just across the way, but, at least for now, the happy screams from the kids playing at the park still drown out the drone.

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