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LUXURY HOMES

For Sale: Swiss Avenue
By SALLY GIDDENS STEPHENSON |

THE DUST HAS CLEARED FROM the For Sale signs in front of a number of Swiss Avenue homes that have been on the market for years, and inventory has begun to move. Realtors and homeowners say the area-wide recovery of the housing market, a growing renaissance downtown and an Uptown housing boom have contributed to the recent activity on Swiss.

Realtor Doug Newby, whose Douglas Newby & Associates maintains a heavy presence on the avenue, says a 2- to 3-year-old backlog of inventory has indeed cleared out. “At the end of 1996, homes on the market for a long time began to sell right along with those that had only been on the market for two or three months,” Newby says, adding that the prices along Swiss seesawed with values in Lakewood. Newby’s $495,000 listing at 5412 Swiss sold the second week of April for more than $125 per square foot.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a Dallas Landmark and a Texas Historic Site, the Swiss Avenue Historic District runs for eight blocks between Fitzhugh Avenue and La Vista Drive and includes 106 homes, many of which are among the area’s finest examples of early 20th-century architecture.

Suzanne Palmlund, a founder of The Swiss Avenue Women’s Guild, a 2-year-old group, says the area is “one of this country’s best kept secrets.” She hopes the group’s new brochure, tour on tape and signature coffee mugs, available at the Dallas Museum of Art gift shop, will help change some of the misconceptions about the inner-city neighborhood-that it suffers from high crime and that it’s not a place for families with children. “We don’t have high crime, and I can count 20 kids under 10 years old living within three houses each way of mine,” she says.

Palmlund, like many other Swiss Avenue dwellers, is fiercely proud of the historical district and has lived in more than one home in the area.

Ellen Noble, a Realtor with RE/MAX Northwest, was expecting to close the sale of 5907 Swiss Ave., listed at $649,000, at press time. The couple buying the 4,900-square-foot home are young professionals already in the area. The sellers had been transferred out of town. Similarly, Steve Thompson of Abio & Associates sold 5105 Swiss, a 5,401-square-foot Italian Renaissance house reduced to $525,000 from $650,000, for $475,000 to a couple who already lived on the street. His sellers also moved out of town.

Thompson said anticipated rezoning and redevelopment along nearby Gaston Avenue will likely enhance property values along Swiss.

Ed Creel, who recently dropped the price on his home at 5750 Swiss Ave. from $795,000 to $550,000. agrees that rezoning and changing perceptions will make houses there worth a fortune-which is what it cost to build most of them between 1905 and 1930.

The home was designed by J.W. Halsell in 1923 for J.H. Cristler. In 1938. his daughter and son-in-law, former Dallas mayor J. Woodall Rodgers, made it their residence. Gigi Potter of Briggs Freeman, who is listing the house, estimates the Creels put more than $ 1 million dollars into the property when they lived there between 1985 and 1996. It’s been on the market for two years, but with the price cut, it likely will go quickly.

Unless the Creels change their minds. “We miss the neighborhood.” Creel says. “It’s such a fun place to live.”