Rawlings Declares "Let The Dirt Fly" as City Council Approves Sylvan Thirty Zoning

BrentJacksonandMonteAnderson.jpg
Brent Jackson, at left, and Monte Anderson
Just after that totally delightful discussion on the voting habits of trees, after which the city council OK'd a new Walmart, there came another momentous development matter: the West Dallas mixed-use project known as Sylvan Thirty, the one we've been writing about since, I dunno, forever-ish. The city council voted unanimously to approve the new development, but not before some impassioned speeches and what looked a lot like a moment of profound existential despair from Belmont Hotel owner and developer Monte Anderson .

Anderson, as we've noted previously, has emerged as a staunch opponent of Sylvan Thirty's proposed rezoning and told the council today that he's been called a lot of names lately: "Zealot, selfish, greedy, idealistic, uneducated, untrained, incompetent and much worse." He talked at length about the developments he's helped to oversee in the city -- the restoration of the Texas Theater and Belmont and Smoke among them -- and the "countless hours" he's spent working on Fort Worth Avenue. He said that he even represented Brent Jackson, Sylvan Thirty's developer, in acquiring the land Sylvan Thirty will sit on. In return, Anderson said, Jackson has "completely ignored" the Special Purpose District 714 rules that are supposed to govern development in that part of town.

Mayor Mike Rawlings asked at that point if Anderson could "focus on the project."

"Please sir, let me finish my talk," Anderson replied, adding that it was "unfair" that he didn't have enough more than three minutes before the council. "I'm a major stakeholder who invested $20 million across the street," he told Rawlings. "This is wrong. I have a right to speak about this."

Ultimately, Anderson said, the project represented an unacceptable departure from the PD that was adopted by the city. "Why do we keep going away from these plans?" he said plaintively, pausing several times to collect himself. "What's the point? Why do we go through this process? What's the point?"

David Lyles, president of the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, also spoke in opposition to the project. He asked the council to "help us enforce quality development standards," adding, "Cast your vote wisely."

But the plan had plenty of supporters too, chief among them David Marquis, who's been consulting for Sylvan Thirty. He said the project is LEED certified, has wide community support and will bring "$47 million worth of economic development in West Dallas."

"The good people of West Dallas have been neglected," he told the council, to loud applause from the audience. He asked everyone in support of the project to stand; there were easily 50 people there in favor of it, including a representative from the North Texas Food Bank, an urban planner who was also a founding member of the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, a rep from the La Bajada Homeowner's Association and Geraldine McDaniels, an elderly woman lady in a rainbow sweater who said she's been living in the area since World War II.

"We need this in this neighborhood," she said. "Be so kind as to let us have something in the southern area."

Jackson himself stood up to say a few words, chief among them "Thank you," "God bless America," and "Yes, sir," when Rawlings asked him if the "equity is all lined up" for the project.

"We've had positive conversations with the city of Dallas," Jackson responded.

"I know," Rawlings said. "I mean private equity."

"Yes, sir," Jackson said, without elaborating.

Council members Monica Alonzo, Delia Jasso and Scott Griggs also spoke up in favor of the process, although Griggs added there's "still a lot of work to do."

"Too often, the zoning process is more like wrestling," he said. He thanked Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, the City Design Studio and Monte Anderson for sitting down with Jackson. "This application is so far from where it began," he said.

With that, persuaded by neighbors, developers and elderly ladies in excellent sweaters, the council voted swiftly to approve the project.

"Today is the first step of creating our economic driving force," Rawlings said. With Sylvan Thirty and the new Walmart, he added, "our city will have directly invested over $70 million. That's $327 million in economic impact over 10 years."

"This is huge for the city," the mayor concluded. "Let's let the dirt fly. Let's go."

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anonymous
anonymous

It was a cavalcade of phonies with Marquis parlaying his unsuccessful acting career into paid for pathos at the horseshoe.  They found a laid off architect that had contributed to the original PD language who shilled for her mortgage.  I suspect several cans of tuna fish were donated to the North Texas Food Bank for their shill.  An elderly woman dressed like the rainbow they pretend they represent felt Brent was Ponce De Leon and Cox Farms would be her Fountain of Youth helping her live into eternity. Then they wrapped it all up with a big shout out to God at the Bank of Heaven for all His help getting Brent all the money good white privileged Christians deserve and a fast track back up to St. Marks land.  

All in all... a fortune was spent - including maximum contributions to the Mayor and all the Council and paydays to both the West Dallas and Oak Cliff Chambers of Horror to save the few dollars it would have cost to do the right thing the Ft. Worth Ave. Development Group asked for in the first place and to avoid the reputation of a prepster camel with no hope of ever making it through the eye of a needle. 

Now he's sh$t outta dough but we can give him some of the money we don't have for his swanky new pod site.  Maybe we can start calling potholes Jacksons.  

City for sale to the highest bidder.  No morals required. 

Trinity Riffer
Trinity Riffer

Great piece of fiction, Anonymous. Maybe someday you'll learn that intelligent people expect even a shred of evidence before they believe such stuff. A shred?

Nope, didn't think you had any. Cause there aint any.

Still, that's a very worthy piece of fiction there, downright deserving of a Pulitzer nomination. Good luck with that.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Dallas "the government of developers, for developers, and by developers shall not perish" isn't that in the City's charter?

The Dallas Credo: To hell with planning, to hell with quality of life, to hell with the neighborhood; give the developers what they want regardless of the long term implications.

 The typcial Dallas real estate developer, unlike Monte Anderson, has a very short term involvement in the neighborhood, once the property is built and fully leased (or foreclosed) they sell it, cashing out, and on to the next project. Long term viability and neighborhood stability aren't a consideration. Buying off a few members of the "neighborhood" for window dressing is part of the process.

That's how Dallas over the past decades has got such quality neighborhoods like Bachman Lake and Vickery Meadow and that's' why there's two wastelands at Walnut & Central and on Skillman. To hell with planning.

Best of luck to any Dallasites who are concerend about the quality of life in Dallas, that last on the list of concerns by the City Council and City Hall.

As for Mr. Anderson, I think this line from Animal House best sums up his situation:

Dallas City Hall to Anderson: You fucked up, you trusted us.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

1.What caused the project to go wheels off in the first place ?  I thought the area had if not a master plan at least a very good idea about what would /would not be built in that area.2.Without city speak  what was this ruckus about ?3.Will those of us who shop there ever see or notice what changes were implemented in this zoning case ?I mean it will be  all new so we wont have an old to compare it to .

And a question for those who might know, are property's in this area going to subject to this extra process ?Because I guess  thought there was like I said at least a very good idea about what would /would not be allowed to be built in that area.Wouldn't a developer know what was/was not on the list of what was/was not approved ?DO WE EVEN have a list ? Or sarcasm (just visions of what should be )

Who will invest to become invested in this Confluence of Conundrums ?

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

It was the developer asking for all kinds of deviations from the approved zoning that initially derailed it.  Buildings not facing the street, exceeding height restrictions, etc.

I may not agree with Monte on everything but he has a point.  Why do we have a city planning and zoning department, public town hall meetings to get feedback from neighborhoods, then out-source the plan development to private groups with a vested intherest in the outcome, only to have the final developer go in and ask for deviations from the existing zoning?

Trinity Riffer
Trinity Riffer

Same reason we have amendments to our Constitution. The PD(zoning) was good but flawed. Even Monte agrees with that and has asked in the past the zoning be changed for him.

More important tho, the apartments that caused such a ruckus arent even located inside the zoned area. The guy could have built up 200 feet if he wanted to given existing zoning. He agreed to 70. Monte wanted less.

This was personal pure and simple. There are many more far worse examples of developers veering from current zoning than this one all over this city. 

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Be afraid Dallas.   Look at the best laid plans of rats and consultants at Central and Walnut Hill, Take a peak at Mandervill Lane and Meadow Road too while you are at it.   Dallas' can do is more here we go again for another tax abatement failure.  I guess that the long standing string of failures of Dallas has made me a pessimist.

The Madding Crowd
The Madding Crowd

And I really want someone named MisterMean running my city. Curious...what successful project have YOU brought to the city?

We didnt think so...

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So you are proud of the track record of Dallas Mad?   Every month another example of incompetence is presented to us.   Constant waste of tax dollars and the city wanting even more to continue their ways.  It is NOT my job to run this city.  With my tax dollars that I pay (close to 10 thousand per year) I EXPECT those who have been elected to DO THEIR JOB!  You seem to condone this nonsense.  

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Sorry about the delay in response.  I am only familiar with City Place (the office tower & DART Station).  Have noted the boom in construction of new apartments around Hall street, Bryan and around Baylor Hospital/Gaston Ave.  Not sure if these projects can be traced to City Place……   I guess my issue, and I can only cite this in the above parameters, is that one business, of whom I know the owner, says that all (most?) of these apartments/condos/townhouses are vacant.   I recall reading in the DMN about one apartment (apartments and lower level retail on the ground floor off Hall Street) filing for bankruptcy. To be honest and fair while the new construction might be welcome (one sees quite a bit of it) it is of no use if the apartments go vacant, go bankrupt or are not kept up.   I seem to feel that there is a disconnect between what the betters of Dallas envision vs the economic reality of the actual demographics of the city population.   Perhaps a not so good example is Victory Place where everything is very expensive-and the city betters and the investors just can’t grasp the fact that a vast majority of the population is unwilling (or more realistically can’t) drop the necessary cash to patronize such establishments.  Indeed I know of no where to go to view actual non biased occupancy figures for any of these projects.    That with the never ending news of the city’s failure or miss management in most all projects that it has it’s hand in.   I realize that this may be a bit extreme but having read about the city’s track records over many years has left me skeptical at best of the city’s ability to do anything right.

Trinity Riffer
Trinity Riffer

MisterMean:

Worthwhile question.

Three I can think of would be West Village, Pinnacle Park and Cityplace.

I frequently shop at the first, never shop at the second and sometimes shop at the Target at the third.

Regardless, ALL of these have generated way way more tax revenues for the city than the abatements granted to them many years ago. West Village doesnt really apply but the last two represent, like Sylvan/Thirty, an investment in a part of town that was considered a huge risk by developers otherwise. Chances of getting anything good there, otherwise, is VERY, VERY low.

Saying the city shouldn't offer abatements because the projects might not succeed is like saying the federal government shouldnt let homeowners reduce their taxes by deducting their mortgage interest since they might default on their mortgage. Risk is part of life and certainly part of business.

Maybe Dallas does it too much, but Allen, Fort Worth, Frisco, Arlington and Cedar Hill will all be happy to offer those tax abatements if Dallas doesnt. How much harder do you think it would be for Dallas to pay for its libraries, fire fighters etc if Cityplace, Pinnacle Park and West Village were in the suburbs instead. In other words, if we were Detroit.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Maddining Crowd/NotAnotherTaskForce (or who ever you are today):I am glad to know that the city of Dallas belongs to you: "And I really want someone named MisterMean running my city".  In one of my past missives a city of Dallas employee told me that "Dallas is owned by developers".   Is you a developer?   Hope not….. Seriously though my issue is that so many developments fail or fall short-especially after they are granted tax abatements by the city forcing the tax burden on others.   They are built only for the developer’s ego.  However I would love to hear about some success stories where these plans have panned out.   My guess is that there is not many despite all the feel good meetings the city has and all the consultants they hire to produce propaganda videos that try to paint a rosy picture of their failures.

The Madding Crowd
The Madding Crowd

Sounds to me like the word 'rant' pretty much sums up the problem here.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I use to send these comments to the entire city council members but I got an amusing email from one of them who asked me not to include her (southern district) in my rants.   She said that she never read them and when I commented that it was part of her job she insisted that I not include her.  I suggested using the spam filter if she felt that way-then got emails from her (in response to my comments) telling the city IT network administrator to mark it as spam (I think that she could not resist reading them).  I got the distinct impression that the city does not like to hear from the tax payers nor be accountable to them.  Oh yes my council member knows Mister Mean as well as a few others.  Like banging ones head against a brick wall (trying to get the city council to acknowledge differing views).

Ellum08
Ellum08

If you are that concerned about the way the city is run, not only should you expect those elected to do their job, but demand it. Do you talk to your Council person? Do you email the Mayor and City Manager?

Or is complaining constantly on a blog an easier solution?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Don't forget Lake Highlands Town Center.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

The sad part is that the list goes on forever.    The difference between ignorance and stupidity is that one learns from ignorance not to do it again but with Dallas stupid means doing it again and again (and expecting different results each time).  

Ellum08
Ellum08

yeah, I guess the economy tanking didn't factor into any of those projects beginning.

Rangers100
Rangers100

There are enough thoughtful people in favor of this for me to celebrate the vote finally passing. This isn't just another North Dallas investment group. A lot of people interested in and knowledgeable about the area support the project.

Jeffrey Siegel
Jeffrey Siegel

I'm thrilled this was approved today. I live within walking distance of the site. An organic market? A custom meat market? We've been waiting for something like this for years. I understand that Monte Anderson may not share the vision for that side of the street, but other people's visions are just as important as his. I respect what he has done for the area but I was disappointed how he handled this, 

The Belmont is a good renovation but no place I'd go to more than once or twice a year. If Sylvan | 30 lives up to its expectations, I could envision stopping there almost daily.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

If you believe the developers' predevelopment BS, you'll either childishly naive or a fool.

He will put anyone that can pay the rent in the space, get ready for a Pizza chain, Check Cashing, Dollar Store, and Title Loan business.

Forgotten all the promises of high-end retailers that Perot said were going to move into Victory?

I know way too much
I know way too much

I hope you are happy with the big open space created because of this project because I think that's all your going to get in the end. Can't wait for the "For Sale" sign to go up and we'll see what dirt flies then.It's amazing what money can buy these days! Unfortunately I think Brent spent his money up front, on a two bit hustler like Marquis, and now needs all the "public incentives" because he is broke.I wouldn't be surprised if Marquis badgered all the residents and maybe even delivered  little gifts of organic veggies to them to get them to the council meeting. I know for a fact one person who was in the audience has shown me a handbag given to her by a former council member. Interpret that as you see fit.....When "economic development" really just means a new "big box", we are all barking up the wrong tree. Also, "LEED brain" thinking is what gets us to the point when you just need more and more "public incentive $$" to accomplish what you could have done if you just kept some of what you had and reused it.To David Marquis, because I know he reads these comments: Food desert, my butt. Come over and pick some greens in my garden, it's not far from this project and as a landowner in West Dallas, and in Stevens Park, you ignore me all the time, likely because I won't pay you. Green in your world is just the money you extort. I'd like to know what habits cost so much money that you have to take from your own neighbors at the expense of other neighbors. GET THE PRIVATE FINANCE OUT OF POLITICS!

I Know Even More Than You Do
I Know Even More Than You Do

Mrs. Griggs:

How much private finance funded your hubby's city council campaign last spring? Like, Clear Channel, for example?

Mariana with one "n"
Mariana with one "n"

Believe me, if I had been in charge, it would have been none, but if you must know, more went out than came in, to cockroach-like consultants. I did not post as myself only because I figured some "specials" would try to discount it. You can work on living the example you want to be and then we can talk. I'll be in the garden.

Politico
Politico

"GET THE PRIVATE FINANCE OUT OF POLITICS!"Couldnt agree more, this is what has now made 1 out of every two americans qualified as a low-income individual, per the latest census data. 

Read about it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... 

Montemalone
Montemalone

"Yes, sir," when Rawlings asked him if the "equity is all lined up" for the project.

"We've had positive conversations with the city of Dallas," Jackson responded.

"I know," Rawlings said. "I mean private equity."

"Yes, sir," Jackson said, without elaborating.

Still laughing as I type this.Is JWP on the zoning committee?

TrinityRiffer
TrinityRiffer

Hmmm. Montemalone. As in Monte on Malone Hill (the street behind the Belmont Hotel). Now WHO could be using THAT handle, hmmmm?????

Montemalone
Montemalone

Well, I can tell you whoever you think it is, you're incorrect.If you look to the left of the name, you'll see to whom it belongs. (Forgive my anthropomorphisizing).

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

"We've had positive conversations with the city of Dallas," Jackson responded.Sounds like developer speak for "we're making progress towards a big City of Dallas subsidy. Merry Christmas to me!"

Noname
Noname

Wow, a Walmart? Although I don't particularly like Monte Anderson, he's put his heart into developing that area before anyone else deemed it to be worthy of development. Now it will just be another concrete WallyWorld jungle instead of the groovy place it WAS shaping up to be.......capitalism at its finest. Go Dallas and corporate greed......

Trinity Riffer
Trinity Riffer

Noname -- Learn how to read. The Walmart is a completely different project in a completely different part of town -- South Oak Cliff. The project this story is talking about is an indie project with an organic grocery, custom cut butcher and other indie retail space.

Take off your wool cap, put down your pink smartphone and learn how to absorb information correctly and maybe you'll actually be able to post your name to your blog comments like a big girl!

Smy2k
Smy2k

Good grief TR, correcting someone is one thing, but no reason to be a jerk about it. What's your name big girl?

Kessler Parkie
Kessler Parkie

The Wal-Mart isn't going there. That was a completely different council item in a completely different part of the city.

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