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MAY 30 - JUNE 5, 2014



The developing story of developing Cityplace By Wayne Swearingen

University Park were created and began to grow along with the other areas of Dallas. Cityplace is an area of In 1911, Southern Dallas that is a short distance north of the Central Business Methodist University was created in University District. Loosely Park. SMU helped defined, Cityplace to pull developis bounded on the ment further and west by the Katy further north. Trail and Turtle In the 1950s, Creek, on the east as automobile by Lafayette Street use was explodand bisected by ing after World North Central War II, the state Expressway and of Texas underHaskell Avenue Wayne Swearingen took to construct east and west. one of the first The core area “freeways” in the state. It of Cityplace is composed of was known as North Central 160 acres of land assembled Expressway US Highway 75. in the early 1980s by The This Freeway ultimately conSouthland Corporation nected downtown Dallas with (7-Eleven stores). Many conthe Oklahoma border near sider the assembly the largDenison. est urban land assemblage The creation of North undertaken completely with Central Expressway set the private funds. stage for the future growth In the early part of the of the area near Downtown 1800s, the city of Dallas Dallas and ultimately led to was founded on the norththe creation of the Cityplace ern banks of the Trinity area. River. Initially, the city was In the 1960s, The huddled by the river and for Southland Corporation, many miles to the north the founded by the Thompson “Blackland Prairie Land” Family, was a rapidly growing which was used extensively national company that had for cotton farming. essentially created the idea As the city began to of the convenience store. The grow in earnest, the residenrapid explosion of automotial growth proceeded north bile use after WW II created from the banks of the Trinity a need for fast efficient places River. Growth generally folfor people to buy groceries. lowed the Turtle Creek and 7-Eleven became a public White Rock Creek waterconglomerate listed on the sheds, both of which run more or less north and south. New York Stock Exchange and continued to grow. In The Katy Railroad left the late 1960s, the company, the downtown area and which had been founded in proceeded north following a small icehouse in the Oak the Turtle Creek watershed. Cliff, needed to consolidate its In modern times, the rail management and office needs. right-of-way became the first 7-Eleven bought proplengthy urban park in Dallas: erty at the northeast corner the Katy Trail. of Haskell and North Central In the 1890s, a large area Expressway. A new high-rise of what was then “North headquarters was constructed Dallas” was platted for single along with other facilities family housing development. The lots were modest in needed by the company. In August of 1972, I left size and in most cases small Henry S. Miller Company wooden frame homes were and set sail with my first combuilt. These homes, many of pany venture, The Swearingen which survive to this day, Company (brokerage). served the so-called middle During the latter part of the income families. Larger, 1970s, I was asked to consult more expensive homes began with the Thompsons who to rise along Ross Avenue, wanted to build a much larger Turtle Creek Boulevard and headquarters for 7-Eleven; the Swiss Avenue area. where to build, how big, floor In the early 1900s, the configuration, etc. Henry S. cities of Highland Park and

YAPPY TALK By Mary Spencer

bought the original 7-Eleven headquarters buildings on the northeast corner of Haskell Avenue and Central Expressway, where they took over the data processing for 7-Eleven and other ACS clients. In the early 1990s 7-Eleven, under pressure from so-called corporate raiders, was forced to execute a leveraged buyout to protect the company from an unfriendly takeover. Shortly after the leveraged buyout was completed, virtually every other company in America that sold gasoline decided to restructure their gas stations and create convenience stores. Where once 7-Eleven had been almost the only convenience store chain in America, suddenly, almost overnight, the company was overwhelmed with competition from many of the largest and best financed companies in existence at the time, namely all the big oil companies. The convenience store business had now gone main stream and was changed forever. The result of these changes forced 7-Eleven into bankruptcy due to the heavy debt load from the leveraged

buyout and the resulting dramatic drop in sales and revenue due to the increased competition. The bankrupt company was sold to its largest area licensee, the company that operated all the 7-Eleven stores in Japan. Also, as part of the bankruptcy, the land which was known as Cityplace was sold at a substantial discount to create a tax loss that was needed by the company. In 1990, I left The Swearingen Company and formed Barclay Commercial Group, with offices in The Crescent. Soon after that, a long-time friend, moved his small brokerage operation in with me. I was familiar with the new players who would control the fire sale of the remaining 150 acres of undeveloped Cityplace land. We teamed up and brokered the 150 acres to a Fort Worth investment group for a reported $24,000,000. From 1991 through today, this group, embarked on a successful 23 year program of master planning, re-zoning, and selling land to developers. Most recent sales topped $100 per square foot for the land. The 42-story Tower at Cityplace has recently been

purchased by Florida based Parmenter Realty Partners, which is in the planning stages of development of their surrounding land. Plans could include multifamily, hotel and retail. The land can support over 600,000 square feet of additional development with a height limit of 175 feet. Over 30 percent of the office tenants and nearby residents now use DART and the McKinney Avenue Trolley. So, the area platted in 1890 as a small single-family residential area has become one of the most important areas for development in the City of Dallas. The vision of the Thompson Family has changed much over the past 30 plus years, but the quality of the developments have continued to improve and adapt to the changing times. Cityplace has taken its place as a very important part of the real estate fabric of Dallas. Wayne Swearingen, CRE, is a principle at Glacier Commercial Real Estate and lives adjacent to the Katy Trail. Contact him at

Academy classmates meet 70 years later William M. “Tuck” Huey and Fred Wiedemann both entered the U. S. Naval Academy in the same class at Annapolis six months after Pearl Harbor. They graduated as officers shortly before the end of World War II, both eager to serve their country. They lived near each other at the Academy but were not to meet for nearly 70 years. They shared common threads of family and service — both met their future wives in Maryland — but their stories diverged from there. They embarked on two very different courses that brought them full circle. Destined, it seems, to meet. Little would they know it would be at Photo by Judy Hillier Belmont Village Senior Living in Turtle Flo Wiedemann and Jean Huey (front), and Creek. Fred Wiedemann and Tuck Huey swap war As civilians, their lives continued to stories after serving in the Navy during WWII take different paths. Huey chose to work 70 years ago and reconnecting at Belmont in the aerospace industry. He and his wife Village in Turtle Creek. Jean have lived in 29 homes in 13 states during the course of their marriage. Wiedemann, and wife Flo, remained in Dallas for the next 72 years as a chartered financial consultant with a focus on corporate consultancy and a side interest in land development. He retired twice. Both men felt great pride in serving their country and say they feel privileged to have contributed to the safety of United States citizens. They now live on the same floor at Belmont Village — two Naval officers whose lives were changed in Annapolis. — Marie Dean

Neighborhood volunteers are on 'animal alert'

a second chance at a loving home. Microchips are critical The Dallas City Animal in getting a lost pet home, Shelter can proudly boast as well as tags. However, more than a 30 percent higher tags often come off, leaving live release rate the pet unidentifiduring the last few able to any stranger years. As chairwomwho finds it. Since a an of the Animal lost pet can’t talk or Shelter Commission, share its home adI believe that is a dress, many end up HUGE accomplishin places we would ment and one that, never want our pet to as a citizen of Dallas experience. and an avid pet The perfect scelover, I am extremenario for a lost pet Mary Spencer is to find his or her ly proud of. Often when I share this owner before it ever information, I invariably get makes it to the shelter. asked what constitutes a live One of the most successrelease rate. ful ways of ensuring that lost Adoption, transfer to one pets within a neighborhood of the shelter’s more than 100 return home is a neighboranimal welfare partners, or hood lost and found pet redemption to the owner are program. the three ways that animals One of the most successleave the city shelter alive. ful models for the various Adoption and transfer programs I studied is Forest are both fairly easy to underHills and Little Forest Hills, stand. The third, redemption two neighborhoods separated to an owner, seems simple merely by one street — not a enough. boundary a lost pet would be However, most people aware of. Therefore, these two are shocked by the number neighborhood areas banded of lost pets that enter the together to create Animal shelter daily, unchipped with Alert, founded by a local anino collar or tags, never to be mal advocate and extremely reclaimed by their owners. busy woman — Maeleska These pets must rely upon Fletes from Little Forest Hills, adoption or transfer to get under the guidance of Andi

Miller, Jr. and Harwood K. Smith (HKS founder) were at some of the earlier meetings. One day in 1979, I was asked to join the Thompson table at the Chateau Restaurant, now the site of Chateau Plaza building in Uptown. The decision had been made to build a tower of over one million square feet and assemble surrounding land for development. “Not just a little land, Wayne,” John Thompson said. “We want to buy up all the land just east of our current building and all the way to Turtle Creek.” “Great, let us do your land assembly,” I said. “I have the perfect broker to head it up.” In 1979, 7-Eleven gave the land assembly assignment to The Swearingen Company which in turn gave the task to C. King Laughlin, at the time a broker with the company. Secrecy to protect the integrity of the assembly was a primary goal of the assignment from the outset. The targeted area would come to encompass over 160 acres of land, the majority of which was occupied by all types of real estate, including office, retail, industrial, multi-family, churches, condominiums and single-family homes. There were over 1000 individually owned tracts that were all purchased with insured fee title over a period of five years. The secrecy surrounding the assembly was uncompromised for over four years and when the story finally broke, there were so few properties remaining to purchase that there was no adverse effect on the assembly. When completed, the total value of Cityplace exceeded $350,000,000, all land owned in fee and free of debt. 7-Eleven hired the architect Araldo Cossutta of New York to first conceive a master plan for the entire property and then to design the company’s new 42-story headquarters building. The 1,200,000 square-foot building, which exists today, was completed in the early 1990s at a cost of over $400,000,000 and occupied 100 percent by 7-Eleven. Soon afterward, ACS

Comini from Forest Hills. Animal Alert is in constant 24/7 contact with area neighborhoods. Through their combined efforts, more than 300 hundred dogs and cats have made it back home safely. “Our Animal Alert mission is to reunite lost pets with their families,” Fletes said. “In many neighborhoods, when a beloved family pet becomes lost, there is nowhere to turn except to the city shelter.” “Our Animal Alert volunteers all live right here in the neighborhood and provide residents the opportunity to get the word out fast when a pet escapes the confines of home. Pet registration is the first step. Forms are available via email and on the registration page, complete with pictures. The goal is to get every pet owner in a designated neighborhood registered into our Animal Alert system.” The system is successful, because Fletes receives phone calls or texts constantly regarding a lost or found pet — and because she knows her neighbors and their pets. I marvel at her ability to know which neighborhood dogs

two neighborhoods. Along with the many daily phone calls regarding lost or found pets, her constant posting on Facebook provides up-to-date information about any unclaimed animal in the area. A typical Facebook posting might read, “Miss Bernie was running loose at St. Bernard school parking lot. Many neighbors Photos courtesy of Mary Spencer tried to catch her, but I was successful by using a trap. are able to unlock their gates, “Afterward, I reescape from their yards or ceived many calls about this just enjoy a leisurely stroll super sweet Pit-Bull mix that through the streets visiting likes to run and be chased. friends on a regular basis. Clearly a case of abandonFletes also knows the habits ment, Miss Bernie is availof the pet parents, out of town able through DFW Furgotten trips planned and the unique Friends. She is spayed, up to traits that make their dog or date on shots and currently cat tick. being treated for heartworm For the ones that end through donated funds from up dumped in the area, she the neighborhoods.” jumps on these situations It is obvious that Fletes immediately, either finding takes the LFH Animal Alert to a foster home for the abanthe highest level of customer doned animal or placing it service provided by any lostwithin one of the many resand-found pet group. cue groups she supports. In Fletes and I began our other words, Fletes throws work together as fellow Animal 110 percent of her energy into Shelter Commission members Animal Alert, making it a back in 2010, when she was point to not only “know” the chosen by Councilmember registered neighborhood pets, Sheffie Kadane to represent but also to understand the District 9. For the last decade, complexity of lost, found and she has been active in several abandoned animals within of the area’s most recognized

and respected animal welfare and rescue organizations. In the process, several animals have found their forever home in the Fletes’ residence. As if all this is not enough, she currently serves as Board President of DCAP, an organization dedicated to bringing the community together to save lives. Through her involvement with DCAP, she chairs the HSUS Pets for Life Outreach program in south Dallas, which provides resources to low-income pet owners. In 2013, Fletes was awarded the East Lake Pet Orphanage prestigious John LaBella Award for her continued and outstanding service in animal welfare. A small-business owner and web designer, she enjoys spending time at her new home with her best friend and animal lover, Nick Shannon. In order for any neighborhood animal alert program to be successful, it definitely takes a truly dedicated individual such as Fletes. That, along with the support of the neighborhood, creates a model for successfully reuniting pets with their owners and finding others homes.

Katy Trail Weekly - May 30, 2014  
Katy Trail Weekly - May 30, 2014  

Katy Trail Weekly provides Dallas' best community updates, local news, special events and neighborhood information for Downtown, Uptown, Tur...