Five Hot New DFW Real Estate Projects for 2015

March 19th, 2015

With a whole new year ahead of us, it’s time to look at some of the biggest and best property projects on tap for realty dallas

1. The Toyota Effect

If it sounds like we’re overselling the magnitude of Toyota bringing its North American headquarters to Plano, we’re not. Quite simply, the importance of Toyota coming here can’t be overstated. For the company itself, Plano and northern DFW will be home for about 4,000 executives and workers in the company. For northern DFW, the presence of these 4,000 new, wealthy residents from New York and California will generate income to businesses that are scrambling to set up roots before the full crush of employees gets here. Vendors, suppliers, developers, and amenities are coming along with Toyota, to help support company operations and meet the demands of new residents.

2. Where 75 Meets 121

North of Plano sits McKinney, which was not only dubbed the most desirable place to live in the U.S. in 2014 by Time Magazine, but is also the hub of some major new development where routes 75 and 121 connect. Anchored by the much-awaited opening of the Nebraska Furniture Mart, a massive (almost 2 million square feet) warehouse and showroom that is expecting about 10 million visitors a year once it open in March, the 121 corridor into McKinney is growing under the major highway development transforming the interchange area and the development of Legacy West, a town center/residential turning 240 acres of once-overlooked Texas into a hotbed of residential and commercial activity.

3. Trammel Crow

Apart from the pending sale of the $60 million former Trammel Crow estate in Highland Park, the company is partnering with Metropolitan Life Insurance to develop an eagerly awaited mixed-use project in Uptown. The companies are finalizing plans to build a two-towered commercial-residential complex overlooking  the arts district from its perch at the Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Pearl Street. Plans call for a 30-story residential tower and a 20-story office building across from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

4. The Airports

You would think that once an airport is in place, it’s mostly just maintenance. But no, 2015 could see a flurry of activity from DFW Airport and Love Field, each trying to reinvent itself to meet the growing business epicenter that is the new DFW. The expansion of light rail service from DFW International to Downtown Dallas will continue in 2015 and will open the door for several construction jobs, as well as increase the mobility of those living on the heretofore neglected southwestern side of the Metroplex. And at Love Field, news that the Southwest Airlines monopoly will meet the competition of Virgin Airlines will be something to watch unfold as the aging airport will get a facelift to meet a flood of new executive travelers.

5. Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum hasn’t been doing so well since its heyday a decade or so ago. Businesses struggle to stay afloat as neighboring Uptown flourishes. But with Interstate 345 coming down and a bevy of developers looking to cash in on the growth happening less than two miles away, expect big things. This year, new development could generate upwards of $4 billion in investments here, and small projects are expected to be the first step toward closing the link between Downtown and Deep Ellum.

Five Great Wine Bars in DFW

March 18th, 2015

A great glass of wine is a wonderful thing. So is a night out. And when you want to enjoy a glass without having to put up with the bar scene to do it, one of DFW’s great wine bars could be the answer you’re looking for.


Mercy Wine Bar, Addison

Mercy is about the complete wine experience, where novices can learn and would-be sommeliers can indulge their palates. There’s always something new to try at Mercy, where warm and cozy are the watchwords. And you know they’re serious about good times because the name comes from Roy Orbison’s famous exclamation in the song Oh, Pretty Woman.

Cru, Dallas and Allen

With locations in Uptown and at Watters Creek in Allen, Cru manages to combine high-end wine with a non-snooty, welcoming atmosphere sure to turn any new oenophile into a seasoned connoisseur. With an intimate atmosphere that resembles a cigar bar and yet an openness that lets you feel like you can sit in a quiet corner and not be bothered, Cru is a great choice for a first-timer on the wine scene.


Winslow’s Wine Café, Fort Worth

Winslow’s Wine Café manages an interesting feat ‒‒ a friendly, neighborhood feel where wine snobs and wine newbies get along without worry. Intimate and relaxing, this is a great social stop for anyone hoping for a generally cool crowd who just happens to love good wines.


Veritas, Dallas 

Veritas Wine Room is an East Dallas treasure. A diamond in the rough and earthy vibe of the Knox-Henderson bar scene. Veritas offers some great extravagances alongside is varietals ‒‒ artisanal Texas cheeses and chocolates, gourmet nibbles, and select craft beers for those not up for a glass of the grape. You’ll very much love the comfy atmosphere and sophisticated vibe here.



Into The Glass, Grapevine 

Into the Glass Wine Bar & Texas Café in Grapevine has a motto that best sums up the entire experience here: Don’t overthink it, just drink it. Yes, you can be a wine snob, but ITG wants you first and foremost to just enjoy what you’re drinking. Wine, after all, is a sipping, social drink. So have a little fun when you uncork the next bottle.

Top 5 Golf Courses in Dallas-Fort Worth

March 11th, 2015

DFW is tailor-made for great golf. We have abundant sunny days, warm weather, and aren’t plagued by rain, making time on the links always an option. The number of great courses doesn’t hurt either. Check out these fairways when you’re looking for some great DFW golf.

Colonial Country Club

Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth is probably the city’s finest set of links. Founded in 1936, the club has a storied history and is the favored club of more than 1,500 members. Apart from the manicured country setting, Colonial is big into charities, meaning you can get in a round or two and feel good about helping some good causes benefitting Tarrant County.


 Old American Golf Club 

Up in the beautiful Colony, a little north of DFW, is the very-much-worth-the-trip Old American Golf Club. A throwback to traditional, old-school American courses as designed by the great Tripp Davis, Old American features gorgeous natural bunkers and views of Lake Lewisville that may make you want to slow your game and take a long look around. Old American is also one of the youngest courses in the area, having opened in 2010, but the club hosted a U.S. Open qualifier in the spring of 2012 and has received numerous accolades from golf publications and the Dallas Morning News.

Dallas National Golf Club

The venerable Dallas National Golf Club, designed by the legendary Tom Fazio, is a high-end club that exists entirely in its own world. This course does not border highways or developments. When you’re here, it’s just pure golf. From the 130-yard wide practice range (with tees on both ends and eight bunkered greens) to the natural beauty of the fairways, this is heaven for the golf purist.

 The Golf Club of Dallas

The Golf Club of Dallas opened in 1953, a year after the death of designer Perry Maxwell. In fact, GCD is the last course Maxwell designed. Since then, the management has taken great pains to retain Maxwell’s original designs and spirit. The club did get an upgrade in 2002, but not so much of one that it’s classic design suffered. The newly renovated course, actually, restores the traditional feel, so playing here is like playing how the club was originally intended.

 TPC Craig Ranch

TPC, just north of Dallas in McKinney, boasts 233 acres of breathtaking countryside views, behind the gated wellness and lifestyle community of Craig Ranch.  This is the place for an authentic PGA experience and is certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System member. The Tom Weiskopf-designed offers sweeping views of Rowlett Creek and offers lush rolling hills. If you’re serious about golf, a membership here is just the ticket.

The 2015 That Should Have Been

January 18th, 2015

According to Back to the Future (at least, part 2) we should all have hoverboards by now. Which is pittance compared to the amenities The Jetsons told us we would have by 2015.

It’s not their fault. No one could really have guessed that the miracle gadgets of the 21st century would be a lot more complicated to develop than we thought. Then again, we are ahead of the curve when it comes to talking to people on computer screens. With Skype and Google+ in our pockets, we can see and hear almost anybody.

Still, it would have been nice if buying a new home came with a kitchen that made all your food for you, from thin air. Or bathrooms and bedrooms and closets that had machines able to scrub and groom and dress us in preparation of those grueling three-hour work days we were supposed to get.

And yes, it would be nice if we all got those flying cars that allowed us to drop-ship ourselves to wherever we wanted to go. Imagine being able to live in McKinney and travel to work in Dallas without having to use the words “parking lot” on 75. Or, if you’re running late, would it not be great to have self-lacing and self-tying shoes like Marty McFly did?

Then again, those wonder-filled predictions for 2015 aren’t all wrong. Besides the videphone-style calls, we do have flat screen televisions, drones, 3-D television shows and movies, and the ability to unlock doors and cars with our fingerprints.

So maybe the predictions of the future won’t be all wrong. And, if the movies keep getting a few things right, it will only be another 20 years before we have personal robot servants and cars that drive themselves. Which will certainly go a  long way toward soothing any ire brought on by sitting in traffic around the Metroplex.

And hey, for any Cubs fans out there, you guys are finally supposed to get your World Series this year. At least that’s what Doc Brown showed us.

Looking Back at the Great Real Estate Market Of 2014

January 12th, 2015

Now that 2014 is fully in the history books, we can say it was an epic year for the DFW real estate market. Dallas itself continues to grow, and is, as we enter 2015, one of the 2014 Dallas real estate markettop five commercial markets (according to PriceWaterhouse Coopers) and the second-best residential market (according to CNN Money) in America.

The lofty hopes and predictions for Big D’s 2015 didn’t just happen. In commercial news, DFW set a high bar in 2014. The most notable deal in the market last year, of course, was the announcement that Toyota was bringing its North American headquarters to Plano. That move is already ramping up the North Dallas suburban home sales market, generating sales in the cities of Plano, Allen, and Frisco that have even gone above asking price.

Toyota’s imminent arrival also spurred demand for office space in DFW, as did expansions by Southwest Airlines and Omnitracs. Such major corporate deals generated nearly 5 million square feet of office space leasing, an eight-year high in leasing activity in northern Texas, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

In Dallas itself, the building boom echoed loudest in and around Uptown, where Harwood International’s 22-story Frost Tower (slated to be ready for occupancy by spring) touched off several building projects that are in progress. There is the construction at McKinney & Olive, where Crescent Real Estate Holdings is building a 530,000-square-foot mixed-use project; the much-anticipated construction at 1920 McKinney Avenue; and the 23-floor Victory Center tower just purchased by Hines.

In the residential market, starts were up 17 percent in northern Texas last year, according to a report by Residential Strategies. And third-quarter closings were the highest they’ve been since before the recession hit in 2008. Meanwhile, median home prices in DFW have come a long way since the depths of 2009. Since then, median prices here have grown by about 33 percent (around $70,000) to $275,000.

Even in the luxury market, 2014 was good to DFW. The listing for the $60 million former Trammell Crow estate in Highland Park capped off a year of big listings and sales, which also saw the titanic (and troubled) Waggoner family ranch hit the market for almost three-quarters of a billion dollars. Which isn’t so bad for half a million acres.

If 2015 is even half as good as 2014, it will still be a great year. But by all accounts, this year looks to be even better for DFW.

The Dallas Cowboys Prepare for Greenbay

January 10th, 2015

No, Dallas, you’re not dreaming. It’s January and the Cowboys are still playing.Dallas, Texas

Fresh off a dramatic comeback win against the Detroit Lions, the Cowboys are now headed to Green Bay for the divisional round, marking the first time the Cowboys and Packers will play an elimination game at Lambeau Field since 1967’s legendary Ice Bowl.

Though not expected to be balmy, the January 11 game will feature two teams having hot late-season success. The Packers themselves dispatched Detroit in Week 17 to clinch their division title, and the Cowboys, at last living up to their potential, have managed to parlay level-headed calm into a never-give-up style of play that is rewriting the decade-long disappointment fans have learned to live with.

Jason WittenKey to the Cowboys’ success against Green Bay will be which quarterback is most on his game. If Tony Romo, long (and, some say unjustly) blamed for the last several mediocre Dallas seasons, can maintain the level-headedness he attributed to the comeback win against Detroit, his leadership will likely carry his team through rough times (as it has all season). The Cowboy line, however, will need to do its part to protect Romo. Against the Lions, Romo found himself sacked six times. Part of that was a too-loose line, but Romo also needs to let go of the ball on pass plays sooner, so as not to tempt sack-happy defenses like the one Green Bay is about to throw at him.

Romo, of course, must also master his accuracy. Not long ago, Romo was known for tossing up interceptions at the worst moments, and his luck against the Packers was always dodgy at best. But Romo has mastered better throwing control since a disastrous late-fourth interception (yes, against Green Bay) a year ago. If he keeps his cool and shrugs off his mistakes, which he has been doing for most of this season, the Cowboys will do well against the Packers.

Dallas must also capitalize on the potential problems Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers will face. Rodgers is still getting over a calf injury he suffered from the same Lions that almost knocked off the Cowboys last Sunday. If the Cowboys can keep Rodgers on the run, his nagging calf injury could keep him off his game, especially late, when Dallas seems to most enjoy striking.

One major key to defensive Cowboy success in Green Bay will be the performance of rookie phenom DeMarcus Lawrence, who has, mostly, shown maturity under pressure. And so far, his most memorable moment this season is probably the late-fourth sack of Lion quarterback Matthew Stafford to essentially close out any hope Detroit had to rally back.

DFW 2015 Hype Basketball Championship

January 6th, 2015

One of the biggest youth basketball tournaments in the U.S., the Hype Tournament championship, took place last weekend in North Texas, and VIP Realty president Richard Soto’s  son, Caleb, was there when his squad scored the buzzer-beater that won the tournament.

D1 Shooters 2023

Caleb is a member of the D1 Shooters 2023, which competed against some of the best teams in the country. Teams from California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas took to the hardwood for the Hype championship, which seeks to foster drug-free, violence-free, diverse programs that advocate tolerance, unity, and acceptance among the many races, religions, and ethnicities of the world. The Shooters entered the championship 5-0, and put everyone across the county on notice that some of the nations best young basketball players are from right here in the Frisco area.

The 2023 Shooters were placed in a Super Pool with two other Top-15 teams ‒‒ American Roundball Corporation (ARC) from Los Angeles and the Oklahoma Chaos. The Shooters kicked off the tournament with a 38-33 thriller and swiftly moved through the best young players in America en route to the championship game against Houston’s Gulf Coast BlueChips at the Hype Sports Winter Jam in Lewisville.IMG_4292

The Championship game on January 4 was a thriller for the ages. An epic back-and-forth battle ensued from the opening tip-off, both teams making huge plays and showing their abundant game skills. But a forced a turnover with 12 seconds to play cost the BlueChips. With the clock ticking down and the score tied 28-28, the Shooters passed like pros and set up for what can only be described as a storybook ending for the young North Texans. Robert Jones Jr. saved a broken play with less than three seconds to go and made a dazzling pass to Ty Cox, who sank a 16-foot, nothing-but-net jumper as the final buzzer sounded, giving Shooters a 30-28 victory and a championship to cap their perfect tournament run.

“I’m proud of my son for playing like a champion and, mostly, for his sportsmanship,” Soto says. “He gave his whole family a memory we’ll cherish for years.

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What to Do in January

January 1st, 2015

We know. It’s cold and you don’t want to go outside in January. That’s too bad, because there’s always something to do in DFW. If you’re tired of the cabin fever, drop by one of this month’s ongoing events.


Have a Wine Chat in Dallas

Who doesn’t love a good, warming nip of the grape? If you’re near Turtle Creek, stop by Rosewood Mansion, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, Thursdays from 6:15 to 7 p.m. for a weekly Wine Chat. Come and test your knowledge of wines and learn a few new skills. The informal get-together is led by sommelier Michael Flynn, whose world-class palate and 20-year career in fine wines and spirits will always open new doors for connoisseurs from every walk. Admission is $25 per person and reservations aren’t required.


Second Annual Juried Artists Books Exhibitions, Fort Worth

If you’re a fan of actual books, don’t miss the Second Annual Juried Artists Books Exhibitions by WoCA Projects, every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through January 31 at WoCA Projects, 2902 Race Street in Fort Worth. More than just a celebration of paper knowledge and inspiration, the JABE looks at how artists express their visions through the book form. With reverence to the sanctity of the written word, these exhibitions explore the ways artists interpret how and why we still so love our books, even in the digital e-book age. Admission is free.


Lone Star Portraits, Amon Carter Museum

What is the meaning of Texas? As a concept, that is? Such a question makes for lively conversations about the mythic qualities behind the Lone Star State. It also makes for lively, contemplative art. ‘Lone Star Portraits,’ opening January 13 and running through May 17 (though this exhibit will not be open in February) at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, is a collection of great Texas faces by some of the best and best-known Texas artists. Always free, Amon Carter Museum also has a permanent collection of regional pieces sure to spark your Texas pride.


Skate Outside in Fort Worth

With Dallas’ Anatole hotel moving its Christmas show (Sparkle!) and ice skating rink indoors, there is but one place left in the Metroplex to go ice skating al fresco. So get yourself to Fort Worth’s Panther Island Pavilion by January 19 and enjoy a good skate. Sure, the weather is erratic, and sure the ice might be a tad soft. But this isn’t Michigan, and you need to get your skating while you still can.

Take In a Show This Holiday Season in DFW

November 25th, 2014


You might have heard rumors to the effect that Christmas and the holiday season are around the corer again. Well, in between fighting the mall traffic, frantic plan-making, and ‘Yeah, I’ll just have one more cookie,” you might want to catch one of DFW’s great holiday shows. Here’s some of the lineup you can catch before 2015 sets in.

1. The Nutcracker, Nov. 22-23, McFarlin Auditorium, or Nov. 28, Winspear Opera House

Kick off the holidays with the legendary Nutcracker ballet. Probably the most famous Russian export ever written, a rendition is performed by the actual Moscow Ballet on Nov. 22 and 23. If you’d rather see the Texas Ballet’s performance (or both, we don’t judge), catch it on Nov. 28. For Details, click here

2. A Christmas Story, Dec. 2-14, Music Hall At Fair Park

Is Christmas Day really Christmas Day without at least one viewing of Bob Clark’s immortal film? You know all the lines, you relate (painfully) to so much. And you love every minute of it. Well, A Christmas Story is a major musical too, and if you dig theater, it’s just as good as the movie. For Details, click here

3. Brian Setzer Orchestra: Christmas Rocks, Dec. 13, Winspear Opera House

The blondest pompadour in rock belongs to Brian Setzer, who’s turned his post-Stray Cats life into a rollicking blend of rock, opera, classical, and swing. Setzer, pompadour and band with him, brings his lauded holiday music show to Dallas for one night only, on December 13. Suitable for all ages, this is a show to see ‒‒ if you like rollicking, humorous, amazing music, that is. For Details, click here

4. Mannheim Steamroller, Dec. 28, Music Hall At Fair Park

Round out 2014 with the only classical rock band synonymous with Christmas, the mighty Mannheim Steamroller. In town for just one night, December 28, Mannheim Steamroller may be the perfect after-Christmas tonic to help you ready for the new year.  For Details, click here

The 5 Coolest Movies Shot in DFW

November 23rd, 2014

Ever get the vague sense that something in a movie looks familiar? Well, you’ve likely walked right through some of cinema’s more mainstream sets and never knew it. Or maybe you did know it. In either case, here’s a list of some of the coolest movies ever to set up camp in DFW.


1. RoboCop (The Good One)

Back in 1987, the vision of Detroit 10 years hence was in need of a location in transition. Dallas turned out to be just right. The filmmakers used Big D as the setting for futuristic Detroit to legendary effect. While not a film for all tastes, RoboCop is certainly an iconic passage in movie history.


2. JFK

Just about every movie about the Kennedy assassination has sent its crew to Dealey Plaza. But no film about the fallen president is bigger (or better) than Oliver Stone’s 1991 take on the paranoia and chaos that surrounds the still-hotly debated death of our 35th president.


3. Armageddon

Okay, so most of this one wasn’t shot here, but a handful of scenes filmed in Denton qualify Michael Bay’s 1998 space/disaster opus as a DFW project. Which is fitting, considering the asteroid dooming earth in this film was the size of Texas.


4. Logan’s Run

This vintage sci-fi epic about a future dystopia turned 1970s Dallas into a classic set piece for a society that does anything but revere its elders. Dallas has changed a lot since the filming, but the idea of  an overpopulated metropolis is still relevant for anyone stuck in traffic downtown.


5. Office Space

Call it cult or call it justifiably beloved by everyone who’s ever hated a job, Mike Judge’s 1999 small-budget classic made wonderful use of Dallas’, well, office space. Not to mention excellent use of an abandoned field where an uncooperative computer meets a most satisfying fate.