Archive for the ‘Green Building’ Category

We Can All Take the Credit or Accept the Blame

September 30, 2009
Anything written by Rev. Gerald Britt will command my attention.  He has been in the trenches, working on behalf of the community for decades.  With that in mind, make sure you read his post on his Change the Wind blog.
Rev. Britt is right; a lot of people are working countless hours to improve the community. In some areas, assistance is given by the city but we always need residents and interested citizens to fill the gap. We also need media to report the good and bad that is going on.
With respect to District Four, the philosophy is to “make it safe,” and then businesses will return.  I still remember three years ago when people were telling Dwaine Caraway that his campaign would go nowhere if he made public safety his number one issue. Well, as we continue to find innovative ways to reduce crime the investment is coming back slowly but surely.

Even within the City, we are not waiting for the Task Force to do the work for us.  Crest Shopping Center in Oak Cliff is being revitalized, the 8th & Corinth/Fiji mixed-use transit-oriented development project will break ground shortly, and zoning is being reviewed on the eastern side of our district to ensure better uses for that area.

The convenience store initiative is now law, and the goal is for it to be expanded to car washes. The store ordinance requires videotaping of all areas of the premises, as well as all being part of DPD’s criminal trespass program which allows police to effectively address loitering issues which foster drug dealing and other crimes.
The city has a role, the newspaper has a role, and the community has a role.  Everyone has a part in the success.

Let Oak Cliff Development Move Forward

August 9, 2009

After years of dealing with an overabundance of car lots, motels, and boarded up buildings, the Fort Worth Corridor is in a stage of redevelopment and revitalization. The Belmont Hotel, as well as the Cliff Cafe (currently under renovation and rebranding) and the Salón Las Américas center have sparked the rebirth of this once-forgotten area.

Project Luke is the name for a highly-anticipated mixed-use development which will stretch from I-30 to Fort Worth Avenue along Sylvan. It has the makings of the type of development the city had in mind when we got our Form-Based Zoning framework approved; moving buildings farther out towards the street and parking behind the buildings vs. having a sea of parking along the street. The most important piece of this development is the plan for a 30,000 SF +/- site at the I-30 frontage road & Sylvan. Such a footprint would accommodate a mid-size grocery store or an organic grocery like Newflower or Whole Foods. Plans also include loft/studio spaces.

Unfortunately, the entire development is now at risk. There is a major roadblock which is impeding the continued revitalization of this corridor. The issue at hand is the county-owned land that is needed for this development, located at the corner of Sylvan & Fort Worth Avenues (map). Here is a recent picture of county auto shop from DCAD:

According to the news article, a land swap was proposed because State law doesn’t allow the county to sell directly to a private party. For now, the county commissioners are balking at the proposed swap and instead vote to have an appraisal completed at a maximum cost of $12,300 to determine the land value.

All of the commissioners quoted seem to be focusing on the value of the land. The underground fuel tanks were also mentioned; I’m sure the developer realizes that tanks will have to be addressed.

Curiously, there is no quote from County Commissioner Ken Mayfield, who represents the area in which the auto shop is located.

While the county does have a responsibility to make a good deal for the taxpayer, it is not a good idea to risk major developments whose benefits far outweigh the amount of additional upfront value that the county can receive form the developer. The increased tax dollars generated (from its current level of zero) base would also be a benefit.

There are plenty of other places to locate this shop. As noted by Shannon Brown, the assistant Commissioners Court administrator, many auto dealerships are closing. There is also no shortage of service station/repair shops that are closed on which such a county facility could be located.
I’m also not sure if the shop must be located in Oak Cliff.

To me, this land arrangement should not be viewed as a cash cow for the county. It should be treated as an opportunity to bring needed retail and services to this part of Dallas, and one that should be welcomed with opened arms.

Follow up on Dallas’ Sustainable Block

December 9, 2008

Larry James of Central Dallas Ministries has more detail on his blog surrounding the Re:Vision Dallas Sustainable Block that I wrote about yesterday. The more I hear about this project, the more I like it.

Dallas’ Sustainable Block Location Announced

December 8, 2008

Sustainable development has always been an important issue to me. Thanks to some of my friends in green building, I learned about this great project.

Check out Re:Vision Dallas. They have announced the location of what is reported to be Dallas’ first fully sustainable city block. The location is the block across from the parking area behind City Hall (map below).

Now while we were the first to use the “One Block at a Time” slogan in Dallas, this is such a great idea I’ll give them a pass.

Ideas like Re:Vision, along with the Convention Center Hotel and the proposed renovation of the Convention Center Arena are the types of projects that can transform this area of downtown Dallas.

Greening Downtown Dallas

August 3, 2008

As my regular readers know, I’m interested in most things “green.”

This Sunday, Mariana Greene of the DMN has a commentary entitled Time to add vibrancy to downtown Dallas. It talks about some of the things that Chicago is doing to successfully make its downtown an exciting, vibrant place to be. Check it out.

Houston Doesn’t Recycle?

July 29, 2008

While Dallas rolls out trash to natural gas plants and works on multifamily recycling programs, here comes a piece from the New York Times that Houston is at the bottom among major cities when it comes to recycling.

While it’s true that Dallas is way below the national average of 32% at only at 11% , it would seem that a sprawling city the size of Houston would embrace recycling. Unfortunately, H-Town recycles only 2.6% of it’s trash. This rate is the lowest among the 30 largest cities in the U.S. While you must be a subscriber to get detailed info, here is a list of cities surveyed by Waste News Magazine (the basis of the NYT article).

The article also cites some interesting numbers:

25,000 Houston residents have been waiting as long as 10 years to get recycling bins from the city.

The city picks up garbage at some 340,000 households, and fewer than half have recycling bins. ..the city says it cannot afford more bins.

Those without the special bins must cart their recyclable garbage to one of just nine full-service drop-off depots in the city.

But when Monica Pope, a locally renowned chef, approached a city-run recycling depot in her silver pick-up truck full of containers, she was turned away. “They said my truck was too full,” Ms. Pope recalled, laughing. “There are cultures that just don’t get it, and, unfortunately, Houston is one of them.” Now, Ms. Pope recycles at what she says is a safer, cleaner and more convenient drop-off center operated by an autonomous city within Houston, saving $6,000 a year in trash fees.

Check out the graphic from the NYT, which is a snapshot of recycling rates from around the U.S. It seems like we have a ways to go in Dallas, but we’re certainly on the right path.

Atlantic City will Build Largest Single-Building Solar Project

June 23, 2008

Public-private green building partnerships are catching on as a way for cities to save money and be good stewards of the environment at the same time.

My buddy Jetson Green has taken his show on the road from Dallas to Utah, but still remains on the cutting edge with info about all things environmental. He reports that Atlantic City’s new convention center will be the United States’ largest single building solar project.

Here’s the kicker within the original article:

The center says it will save about $4.4 million in electricity costs over the 20-year contract, while also reducing greenhouse gases and helping the environment. It currently spends about $1.4 million a year on electricity.

Atlantic City is also considering the use of wind turbines, whose proposed usage near the Trinity Parkway is causing some heartache locally but seems to be catching on around the country.

Jetson also pointed me to info about the world’s first green-built convention center, located in Pittsburgh.

My Environmentalist Side

June 16, 2008

On a day where former VP Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in Flint, Michigan, I felt like sharing a few “green” links with my readers.

Gas 2.0: For the first time ever, the Prius is the most searched vehicle on search site Who ever thought that car commercials would lead on MPG? San Francisco passes the largest city solar program in the U.S.

Popular Science Magazine’s The Green Mega City. It’s an interactive site with all types of info.

Eco-Bridge: Chicago’s New Harborside Green Space.

The Vertical Farm Project: How we can use indoor farming to sustain our urban communities.

We all have to do the best we can to take care of the environment. Hopefully these links make you think about the world around you and how we can all do our part to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.

GREEN development in Lower Greenvile

May 9, 2008

According to Avi Adelman of Barking Dogs, the old Arcadia site will be redeveloped as 20,000 SF of green (!) multi-use retail. From checking out the site plan, it looks like they want two restaurants, a coffee shop, and one other retail space to go in at this site.

They want $40 per square foot. I remember when very few neighborhood properties south of Mockingbird could fetch that kind of asking price.

Times are changing! I’m glad to see it happen.

Green Building Coming Soon!

October 26, 2007

Be on the lookout for a major announcement for “green” houses being built in District Four. We’ll let you know when the official announcement and ribbon cutting takes place.