Mark Cuban: Good at Owning Basketball Teams, Terrible at Real Estate

Categories: Real Estate

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Dallas -- nay, America -- has many good reasons to love Mark Cuban. He turned the Mavericks into NBA champions. He's the most accessible billionaire in the universe. He yells at terrible refs on our behalf and feuds with the Perots. He was a disruptor before disrupting was cool. But for all of Cuban's endearing qualities, let's be honest about something: He's really terrible at real estate.

The sample size here is small, just the office complex he wants to build at Preston Road and Northwest Highway and Wonderview, the gigantic mixed-use development he was going to build on a landfill next to Cedar Crest Golf Course.

Wonderview was announced in 2010 to great fanfare and rosy predictions that it would save southern Dallas. It would be massive, 176 acres of shops, apartments, townhouses, sports fields, parks, the Mavs' headquarters and so on costing up to $1 billion Construction was imminent.

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So Why's Mark Cuban Buying Up Lots at Preston and Northwest Highway?

Categories: Real Estate

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There's a lot of buzz right now in Preston Hollow over a plan to redevelop the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway, currently home to an oddly dumpy apartment complex and rows of considerably less-dumpy town homes, into a few hundred luxury apartments. Most of it is negative.

"This development is all about greed, and paying the affected property owners ridiculous prices for their land and structures," according to the most popular comment on this Change.org petition urging the city to stymie any attempted zoning change. "ZONING IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT ALL OF US DALLAS CITIZENS FROM THIS KIND OF ILL-THOUGHT, GREEDY PROPOSED OVERPOPULATION AND SLICK-MARKETED ACTIVITY FROM OCCURRING IN AN ALREADY DENSE AREA OF ESTABLISHED VOTERS AND HOMEOWNERS."

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On White Rock Lake, An Architect is Building a House Out of Shipping Containers

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PV14house.com
When Google's Street View car rolled by 422 Peavy Road in late 2011, it captured a spacious but ordinary four-bedroom, ranch-style home that was all but indistinguishable from its neighbors.

No more. The structure that's being erected in its place is a strikingly modern, 3,700-square-foot box whose third-story penthouse will afford sweeping views of White Rock Lake. It also happens to be made of shipping containers.

Candy's Dirt first caught wind of the plans back in May. Contacted by Unfair Park at the time, the builder acknowledged the project but declined to give details.

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The New Valley View Will Be Like Uptown, With a Gondola

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Via.
The last time I set foot in Valley View Center three or four years ago, it was eerily reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic zombie flick, and not the old-school kind with the undead lurching forward with laughable slowness. The zombies that come to mind are the type that are puma-quick and would have no trouble overtaking their prey across the depopulated expanse of brown tile.

For at least the past year, a plan has been taking shape to transform the mall and its surroundings from dreary movie set into the thriving center of commerce it was 20 years ago. Commercial real estate developer Scott Beck purchased Valley View last year, envisioning the construction "centralized urban village."

The big reveal came today when Beck and city planners presented their grand vision for the Valley View area And "grand" might actually be an understatement. This is a $10 billion-plus development on 450 acres bounded by Preston Road, LBJ, the Tollway, and Alpha Road. We're talking 1,000 hotel rooms, 5,000 upscale apartments and condos, 4 million square feet of office space, plus generous amounts of space dedicated to entertainment and retail. Pretty much all that will remain is Sears, JC Penney, and the AMC theater, and those will all have new digs. There will be European-style "bullet trolleys," 20 acres of green space, and connection, via bike trails, to White Rock Lake.

The whole thing has been dubbed Dallas Midtown.

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Lawsuit: Former Cowboy Roy Williams Still Owes Half Million on University Park Home

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For much of the last decade, Roy Williams was the hard-hitting enforcer of the Cowboys secondary, pulverizing any player who dared to bring the ball in his general vicinity. His reputation has since been tarnished by the poor pass coverage and general descent into mediocrity that led the Cowboys to release him, but that future wasn't clear in August 2006, when Williams signed a four-year, $25.2 million contract extension.

New contract in hand, Williams then went house shopping, closing in October of that year on a 5,700-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa on Colgate Avenue in University Park. Williams financed the purchase through Colonial Bank, signing a promissory note pledging to repay $2.1 million by (after several extensions) October 2009.

In the months leading up to the due date, two notable things happened. First, in March, Williams was released by the Cowboys. He ultimately spent two seasons in Cincinnati before hanging up his cleats and, after a cameo on the cast of Storage Wars Texas, joining the University of Oklahoma's radio broadcast team. Then, in August, Colonial Bank was pulled down by bad mortgages and taken over by federal regulators.

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Pension Officials Have Done $1 Million of "Due Diligence" in Luxury Vacation Destinations

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The Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund stumbled into a PR disaster when it went all in on the allegedly-art destroying Museum Tower, but that was far from its only foray into real estate. At times, as Anna reported last year, as much of a third of the fund's $3 billion portfolio has been tied up in luxury subdivisions, apartments, retail centers, and glittering residential towers.

The investments carry a high level of risk, but they have another side effect illustrated in documents released last week to the Morning News and WFAA: giving pension officials and board members a handy excuse to travel the globe.

The Morning News puts the travel expenses for trips taken by officials and board members at about $1 million over the past four years. The preferred destination seems to be Napa Valley -- there have been 18 trips there since 2007 -- but itineraries have also included jaunts to Hawaii, Italy, Scotland, Abu Dhabi and elsewhere.

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David Cooper, Guy Who Tried to Take Arlington Home Through Adverse Possession, Gets 90 Days in Jail

Categories: Crime, Real Estate

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WFAA
David Cooper, at the Arlington home he was convicted of squatting in.
If you direct your browser to 16dollarhouse.com and plunk down $9.97 for an e-book, you can still learn from Ken Robinson ( "poised, measured, insightful and wise" and an AMERICAN, all caps, as the site informs you) how to use adverse possession, a once obscure Texas law, to get a house on the cheap.

See also:
- The Man With the $16 House

Be forewarned that Robinson's legal theories haven't worked out so well in practice. Earlier this year, he was evicted from his $350,000 Flower Mound McMansion after a judge decided that his claim to the house was bullshit. His disciples have fared little better.

Following news of Robinson's scheme, officials in Tarrant County made the rounds evicting squatters who moved into homes after filing adverse possession claims. Eight of them were charged with theft or burglary.


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Highland Park Will Be Having None of Your Tacky Artificial Grass, Thank You

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Highland Park's city council has decided to ban fake plastic grass from the town's front yards, a scourge which according to one city official has overtaken at least three (3) properties.

The Morning News reports that council members voted on the new ordinance on Monday. Artificial turf will still be allowed in "side yards and back yards," though, provided that you obtain a special permit and keep the stuff out of sight.

Andrew Barr, a city council member, told the DMN after the vote that fake grass is "not in keeping with the design and quality of design we want to have in our town." He added that the decision was made to "address this before it affects the neighbors and the general public."

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Lakewood Country Club Thinks $7.4 Million is Way Too Much For its 120 Acres, Sues DCAD

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Flickr user coltera
What would 120 acres of pristine, undeveloped green space in the heart of booming Lakewood go for on the open market? Hard to know, but it's a fair bet that it would be much, much more than $7.4 million the 100-year-old Lakewood Country Club is listed for on county tax rolls. One might even wonder if Dallas Central Appraisal District should up its assessment a tad.

Let's do a bit of math. The house next door on West Shore Drive sits on three quarters of an acre that is valued, land-only, at $200,000. If you multiply that by 160, which would give you the area of the country club, you come up with something like $32 million. Suddenly, paying property taxes on just $7.4 mil seems like a bargain.

Lakewood CC begs to differ. In a lawsuit filed yesterday, it claims the appraisal district just wasn't being fair when it made its determination. Specifically, $7.4 million "represents a value in excess of fair market value. The appraised value is unfair and discriminatory, arrived at through the adoption, application, use and enforcement of a fundamentally erroneous and unlawful plan, method and formula of valuation and assessment."

Makes you tear up just to read it.

Of course, Lakewood CC is no stranger to the county courthouse. Matter of fact it was there just last year claiming that its $6.95 million valuation was just way too much for a wee little 120-acre golf course, and several times before, too. That 2011 lawsuit is on hold, according to court records.

Of course, Lakewood's plight pales in comparison to that of the Dallas Country Club, whose 118 acres of Highland Park real estate was valued at $36 million. Just how do these people eat?

Tom Leppert is Moving, We're Just Not Sure to Where

Categories: Real Estate

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May we suggest Las Colinas, now just a short train ride away.

Update at 11:09 a.m.: Candy Evans, just back from vacation, has more. You can snap up the Leppert homestead for a mere $5.7 mil. Movie theater included.

Original post: Tom Leppert, you might have notice, did not do terribly well in his quest for U.S. Senate. He lost. Got trounced, even. Not Craig James trounced, but defeated rather handily. So he's not going to Washington, but he is going somewhere. On the same day voters go to the polls to choose between one of Leppert's rivals, his Preston Hollow digs are hitting the market, the Morning News' Steve Brown reported last night.

Former councilwoman Mary Poss is listing the 10,800 square foot home, on the tax rolls for $4.3 mil.. The Lepperts aren't sure yet where they will move, she told Brown, but they're empty nesters, see.

""Their kids are almost out of college and they don't need that much space any more."

Me? I think he just got fed up with neighbor T. Boone's late-night shenanigans.


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