An insider contends the maestro has been complaining about the expense of the place for quite a while. But so far no one’s saying exactly why the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Jaap van Zweden has listed his 4,258-square-foot unit at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton for sale. Actually, according to DCAD, the DSO music director is only a 50 percent owner of the 3-bedroom place. World-renowned violinist Michael Guttman owns the other half, the appraisal district says.
Valued by the green eyeshades at DCAD at a proposed $1.8 million, the swanky home has been listed for more than a month now for $2.9 million. Jonathan Martin, the DSO chief executive, told us the other day that Jaap “isn’t going anywhere,” and we know his contract runs through 2015-16. So, it may just be that he’s traveling so much these days he’d like to off-load the Ritz digs while the market is fairly strong, then move into something less grand. (We’ve tried repeatedly to call the DSO to speak with Jaap, but for some reason no one’s picking up the phone.)
Dallas’ best landmark, Reunion Tower, will have a snazzy new observation deck open early this fall, if everything goes according to plan.
RealPoints was all over the announcement of the big changes ahead:
Gensler, the firm that designed Hunt’s corporate headquarters between Akard and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas, was selected to tackle the Reunion Tower redo. Judy Pesek, regional managing director, said the design is inspired by the tower and its geodesic dome. New ticketing and queueing areas are being developed on the lobby level. On the observation deck level, it’s all about the view.
Wire mesh that encases the ball will be removed, replaced with a cable system that will allow for unobstructed views. A interactive display will stretch 52 feet and provide information on things to see and do in Dallas. High-def zoom cameras and high-powered telescopes will line the perimeter; a map of Dallas will be woven into the carpet.
The floor between the observation deck and Five Sixty, which occupies the top floor, will become a cafe during the day and a lounge at night. It also will be available for private functions and as Five Sixty overflow space.
The cafe menu will include kid-friendly options, as well as specialties like enchiladas, a Texas take on the cuban sandwich, and the “Tower Caesar,” served in a tall glass, said Five Sixty executive Andrew Sidebotham.
My question? Does every restaurant in Dallas have to serve Caesar salad? Who’s eating these things?
(But seriously, I look forward to being obligated to accompany all visiting out-of-towner relatives to what sounds like it might be a fine observation deck with a view that rivals the one we get every day here at D HQ)
West Fertilizer Plant Was Plagued by Theft, Tampering. While investigators are continuing to try to sort out the cause of the April 17 explosion, this Reuters report details some troubling information about the plant’s recent history of lax security. The perimeter wasn’t fenced, and there were no burglar alarms or security guards. “It was a hometown-like situation. Everybody trusts everybody,” said McLennan County Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Cawthon. Police received reports of 11 burglaries and five ammonia leaks there during the last 12 years. Some of these leaks were attributed to thieves siphoning off gallons of anhydrous ammonia, a liquid gas that can be used to cook methamphetamine. However, anhydrous ammonia has been ruled out as the cause of the blast, so Heisenberg can probably be ruled out as a suspect.
Victory Park to Get a Reboot. The owners of the still-troubled development around the American Airlines Center know that they need to make some big changes if they hope to see its largely empty retail space filled. Their solution involves building even more retail and office space, rejiggering some of the streets, and changing the look of the storefronts, signs, and landscaping. “Some of what is there now is very cold and monochromatic and doesn’t add energy,” said one of the planners of the redo. “We want that street to feel like a linear park and look more inviting.” Reminds me of something Patrick Kennedy wrote in D about the fixes needed at Victory: “Real places don’t have hard edges.”
Sen. Ted Cruz Denies Presidential Aspirations, Sort of. There have been reports that our freshman senator is prepping a 2016 White House run. Here’s what he told the media before a dinner for the Institute For Policy Innovation last night in Dallas: ”My focus is entirely on the U.S. Senate. That’s where the battlefield is. I can’t help what the media choose to write about or don’t write about.” Seems that leaves plenty of wiggle room for entering the race.
Last Night Ridiculously Cold For May. Don’t worry. Should be warmer today and this weekend. You might need the A/C again by Tuesday.
Before talk of a New Bubble goes too far, we should point out that the home-price index for Dallas has only regained ground to get back where it was in July of 2005. Still, it’s nice news about the state of the local economy.
Agree with his politics or not, you can’t accuse Rick Santorum of being inconsistent. While the unsuccessful 2012 GOP presidential candidate makes no bones about his preference for smaller government, he acknowledges the need to address big, persistent problems like crime and poverty. So he’s thrown his weight behind innovative private-sector solutions like Behind Every Door LLC, a Dallas-based group that aims to “transform neighborhoods” by buying up and improving Class-C apartments. Some services at the LLC properties are supported by donations to a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Behind Every Door Ministries, making the outfit a unique sort of hybrid solution.
Friends with one of the group’s investors, Santorum showed up gratis at downtown’s Petroleum Club yesterday noon to talk up Behind Every Door to a crowd of about 100 businesspeople. His support for the local outfit meshes neatly with his own vision of remaking urban America, in part by energizing conservatives to fight for traditional values and stronger families. While he didn’t mention it in his remarks, Santorum’s reportedly open to running again for president in 2016. In an interview before his talk, the former Pennsylvania senator said Republicans should not have lost the 2012 election, but did because “we had a candidate who tried to be all things to all folks, instead of articulating a clear vision for … average Americans.”
In the Sunday Dallas Morning News, Gromer Jeffers opined that the Dallas City Council campaign of Jennifer Staubach Gates is being aided by the famous name and wealthy friends of her father, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and commercial real estate bigwig Roger Staubach.
Staubach has long been expected to become a political candidate himself, though he never has, Jeffers wrote:
But the game’s not over. Staubach is handing off any dreams of public office to his daughter, Jennifer Staubach Gates.
When I interviewed Staubach this morning, Jeffers’ column was one of the first matters he brought up. He didn’t like the implication that his daughter is running for office in his stead and that he harbors political ambitions of his own.
“I didn’t really want her to be in politics,” Staubach said. “The reason I mention that is my dream was never, never even indicated, never even tried, never any contemplation of going into politics.”
Christine will have a post up shortly on RealPoints with all the nitty-gritty details (UPDATE: right here.) of the $3 billion mixed-used development that’s taking the place of Valley View Center along LBJ. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s calling itself Dallas Midtown, even though it’s 10 miles north of Dallas Uptown and Dallas Downtown.
For now, check out their dance-music-infused 3D video trip through the development, hitting the highlights: an Iconic Office Tower! a Hike and Bike Trail! a Cable Car! a Surfing Wave Pool! Sears!
View Dallas Rebranded in a larger map
Since we’ve already gotten ourselves an Uptown, and a West Village, and since it looks like the area around the Galleria and Valley View Center will transform into Midtown, let’s quit tip-toeing around this thing. All Dallas neighborhoods will be better off rebranded with somewhat arbitrarily applied New York City names.
Oak Cliff Advocate takes a look at the 72-square-foot fallout shelter in Don Sanders’ Kessler Park backyard:
When it came to surviving the bomb, homeowner J.G. Mullhollan went top-of-the-line. He blasted a hole in his rocky backyard and installed a grade-one shelter, the very best. The shelter is still intact, about 12 feet by 6 feet, constructed of solid concrete and insulated using molten lead. “It’s designed for three people to survive for seven days,” says Sanders, who bought the house in August 2012. Preserved underground since 1961 are three canvas bunks, clothing hooks, two pantry cabinets, a water tank, an aluminum garbage can and a chemical toilet. There are even uncapped glass jugs filled with some kind of chemical, unevaporated after all these years, for the emergency commode. The shelter is equipped with two blast doors and crank-operated air intake and ventilation systems. Sanders says several of his neighbors have fallout shelters too, but none is on par with the dentist’s.
Our April issue, featuring the 100 Most Expensive Homes in Dallas, should be arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes soon. How much value do you suppose an A-bomb shelter adds to a house?
Whenever I used to vent to former Arts District executive director Veletta Lill about all the things that frustrate me about the Arts District — its shortage of residences, its orientation towards the high end of the market, its one-dimensional character as a depot for imported art and performances — Lill would remind me that the Arts District as it stands today is only 25 years into a 50-year vision. The things that make a neighborhood a neighborhood (people of all walks of life, services, booze and coffee) will come, she promised optimistically.
Regarding that future vision, Lill always singled-out the parking lot adjacent to Museum Tower as key component in the overall Arts District build-out. Now it looks like the spot could be the location of the most significant development on Flora Street since Rem Koolhaus and Joshua Prince-Ramus decided to perpetually torture any Dallas theater lover with weak knees. Curious what’s going on? Jump.
Is the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Overinvested in Real Estate? There are so many questions raised by this lengthy report on how the pension fund that owns Museum Tower ended up managing the luxury proprieties it propped-up with large cash infusions after the real estate bubble burst. For example: What are the properties really worth now? Should the pension fund be managing Hawaiian estates and Napa Valley resorts? Is fund administrator Richard Tettamant having too much fun hobnobbing on the taxpayer’s dime? If speculative land plays don’t pan out, is it really accurate to report them as investments in “natural resources?” Is Tettamant cutting sweetheart deals for developer buddies? Are his efforts to beat market returns putting the future of the our city’s finest – not to mention the pocketbooks of Dallas taxpayers – at considerable risk? Lots of questions. But here’s the one I want to ask: did the fund really need to pay to move a piano from Hawaii to the lobby of Museum Tower? I mean, they sell pianos in Dallas, right? Really nice ones, I bet.
As American Swallows U.S. Airways, Airline Field Thins: There was a time when airports were packed with brands like Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Braniff — all of which have gone the way of the Concorde. Now the “extraordinarily complex” merger between American and U.S. Air leaves just four major carriers: American, United, Delta and Southwest.
Tim Tebow to Speak at First Baptist: The announcement that the incredibly meh quarterback will speak at Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church raises all the expected questions about whether or not Tebow endorses statements Jeffress has made in the past about homosexuality, Mormonism, Islam, and on and on. And I suppose those are pertinent questions to ask, even if I wish the only question surrounding anything regarding Tim Tebow was “who cares?”
Says so right here in Forbes:
At $135 million, the mega mansion’s asking price tops the $125 million Fleur de Lys estate in Los Angeles, which has been the singleÂ most expensive home publicly listed for saleÂ since Miami’sÂ Casa CasuarinaÂ reduced its price tag to $100 million in November. Other uber expensive listings include theÂ $100 million CitySpire penthouseÂ in New York City, two Â additional $95 million apartments in New York, and the $95 million Beverly House in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Have a look at Realtor Doug Newby‘s video tour of the old 25-acre Crespi estate. Cinda and Tom Hicks, finding themselves empty-nesters, have put the place on the market. This isn’t the sort of property that gets a public listing price, but you can figure somewhere north of $100 million. You can find more photos here.
Golf Courses Are the Ultimate Cure-All For Urban Poverty: Here’s another article (paywall) that talks about how Mayor Mike Rawlings is really jazzed about how great that golf course is going to be for South Dallas. But you don’t need to click through. You already know how huge this deal is going to be. Just think about what a major boom Dallas National has been for Cockrell Hill. I mean, can you think of a more affluent and booming neighborhood in North Texas than the island city of Cockrell Hill? It’s like a second Highland Park, which also has a golf course in it. Coincidence? I think not.
Man Tries to Steal $269 Worth of Meat: In order to really appreciate this story about Rodney Johnson’s attempt to make off from a Kroger with $269 worth of meat shoved up under his coat, you have to try and picture just what $269 worth of meat looks like. Then read how he was first tackled by police and then struck in the back of the head before officers finally managed to arrest the hungry thief.
Michael Young Is No Longer a Texas Ranger: Drop your head to your chest, raise your right arm, extend your fingers, and drop a final claw on Michael Young as he heads out the door to Philadelphia. “If there was crying in baseball, I guess I’d cry,” Wash said. But we all know Wash cried.
Cowboys Win Game, Josh Brent Just Loses: What do you say about Josh Brent? Over the weekend he lost his best friend, he lost his career, and he quite possibly lost his freedom for up to the next 20 years (the maximum sentence for intoxication manslaughter). He was released from jail after posting bail that was $10,000 more than his $490,000 2012 salary. “It’s not a good moment for anyone right now,” Brent’s attorney said. I guess that’s all you really can say.
The new Perot Museum of Nature and Science hasn’t opened yet–it’s scheduled to do so, debt-free and ahead of schedule on Dec. 1–but Ross Perot Jr. is already eyeing an expansion. The facility needs to grow to compete long-term, the Hillwood chairman told D CEO’s Glenn Hunter at a “Night at the Museum 2012″ fundraiser Saturday.
Available land surrounding the museum could allow it to easily triple or quadruple in size, said Perot, who also shared his thoughts on the next wave of Dallas office development. Read Hunter’s report over at RealPoints.