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Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Springfield, VA
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Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Hello. I am moving from Northern VA (right outside of Washington, DC) to Dallas. I have worked in Dallas since January. I found a house on Marvin Ave in Kessler Plaza. I am not too crazy about the surrounding streets (Jefferson and N. Hampton), but the inside streets seem to be well kept, established, and quiet. I really need to make a good investment. I do not want to purchase foolishly, but I really love the older homes in Kessler Plaza and N. Oak Cliff. There seems to be a lot of development going on in the Bishops Art District and surrounding areas. I hope that is a good sign. Most of the posts that I've read about Oak Cliff have cautioned buyers to stay away. Any insight or advice would be greatly aprreciated.

Dallas, Texas
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1. Re: Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

I don't think most of our posts have cautioned against Oak Cliff or Kessler Park, but there are parts of these neighborhoods you should be careful with. Of course, I haven't looked at all the posts en masse in a while, so maybe I'm losing track of overall tone. The recent posts I remember mentioning these areas, I remember as being positive.

Also, take negative posts from folks who don't live in downtown areas with a grain of salt. There are people living around 635/Beltline in all directions who have never been to Dallas, or have only been to one or two areas and that's it. When my husband worked at 635/Abrams many of the folks he worked with were always making comments about how "dangerous" our area was. When they'd come to our Christmas parties, they'd be in total shock at how nice our neighborhood was.

I am not famiiliar with Marvin Ave, but I can tell you that there are many nice homes and folks over there. Our Mayor lives in Kessler Park.

There is a lot of upscale building and renovation going on in the neighborhoods. It's very eclectic and uneven and your best bet is to hook up with a realtor who knows the area very well. Realtors really do specialize in sections of the city, and someone who works primarily in east Dallas or some other area, may not be the right realtor for you.

If your whole block is nice homes, you're pretty safe in a purchase. Also, check whether the section you're looking at is covered by a Historic District or Conservation District designation. That will mean there are neighbors working their tushes off to keep the neighborhood looking great and to keep improving the area. If it doesn't have one, that's not a black mark against it, but it's definitely a positive mark if it does.

A neighborhood down the street from me, Junius Heights, just got their historic designation and those folks have worked to get it for the last 10 years. The neighborhood has improved dramatically over these 10 years simply because there were so many people who live in the area who shared a vision of what they wanted for their neighborhood.

I'd go for it, myself. I still toy with the idea of moving over there, and had I known about that area when we moved here, it would have been on my short list.

I do live in an inner city neighborhood (1.5 miles east of the central business district). Note that Dallas doesn't have much of a true inner city neighborhood. When I moved here in 1991 the only folks who lived in downtown Dallas lived in the Manor House and a few shotgun type houses over off Harry Hines/Pearl, a total of about 200 people. Now they are filling in more downtown areas with apartments and condos in the West End area and over by Deep Ellum. Neighborhoods like mine and Oak Cliff were the distant suburbs in their initial development.

The two magnet schools for the arts in the lower schools are in Oak Cliff. Lanier is in a very poor area of north Oak Cliff, north of Fort Worth Avenue. Greiner is right off Davis/Polk area. There are many talented kids going to those schools. Here's the DISD site for Greiner with photos from the turn of the last century. dallasisd.org/schools/ms/greiner/history.html

Also, I'd give my eye teeth to be represented by their councilperson. We used to have a great councilperson, but the new one's not so great in my opinion. However, Ed Oakley is very smart and very proactive for Council District 3. He has a great website and puts out a newsletter (that I subscribe to because I like him so much, and he's a great conduit for information about what's happening in the district and at City Hall). Definitely get on his mailing list and check out his web site.

Write webmaster@edoakley.net to get put on the e-mail list.

Here's info on the upcominb bond package http://www.edoakley.net/bondpackage.htm

And his website is at http://www.edoakley.net/

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Oak Cliff is Dallas' best kept secret- We have lived in the N. Oak Cliff area here for 15+ years and love it. The Kessler Park area is spectacular. We just sit back and watch folks move further and further out (North) to the suburbs and then pay twice as much money for a shoddily built new house (McMansion)...- North Oak Cliff was "re-discovered" some 25 years ago by "urban pioneers" who began renovating the 1920's era houses and neighborhoods.

Whereas the outlying suburbs are homogenous -We Oak Cliffys celebrate our diversity- Your neighbors will be Hispanic and Asian and White and Black and Gay and Straight and Hippies or Missionaries and any combos thereof- you get the picture- Oak Ciff is Dallas' diverse and friendly and -safe -neighborhood. And it's a good investment-As people who fled to the 'burbs in the 60's are now moving back to "the city"...

As you have discovered- there is a wide range of housing stock. From 1100 sq ft starters to 3000 sq ft original arts and crafts .

We live in a "historic district" which affords a certain amount of stability due to inherent restrictions. Kessler Park is very nice -

re: Dallas schools- recent (last 30 or so days) Newsweek mag named an Oak Cliff high school the "best" high school in the country..

check out our local neighborhood webpages

www.winnetkaheights.com

and

www.winnetkaheights.org

Coming from the N.E. - I think you will really enjoy the hills and greenery of Oak Cliff which is lacking in the suburbs

any other questions- post 'em- I'll be happy to try and answer.

Springfield, VA
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3. Re: Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Thank you dfwguy and ChrystinP for your replies. Is N. Oak Cliff and Kessler Park the same as Kessler Plaza? The house I am referring to is on Marvin Ave, so coming from downtown on Hampton, you would make a right onto marvin. It's a beautiful street and I have talked to neighbors on that same street. It does seem to be very diverse which is great. Should I be concerned that so many properties are for sale? Either way, I'm looking forward to the purchase and move. Thank you for your replies.

Dallas
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4. Re: Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Kessler Park, East Kessler, Kessler Highlands and Kessler Plaza are in the same general North Oak Cliff area.

Kessler Park and East Kessler has mostly larger and very expensive homes, while Kessler Highlands and Kessler Plaza are of the smaller Tudor variety (exactly like the M streets in east Dallas if you're familiar) - usually around 1400-2000 sq ft -- sometimes larger if some one has added on...

Dallas, TX
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5. Re: Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Having lived in the North Oak Cliff area for the last 20 years I can give you a pretty good idea of what it has been and is becoming. The neighborhoods in O.C. are very close knit (those of us who have been around a while call it Mayberry), and each has its own personality. Whether you are single, in a relationship, married, with or without children you can find your niche in Oak Cliff.

Our current home has more than tripled in value since we purchased it 12 years ago, so that might give you some idea of investment value.

You do need to be aware that the area is quite diverse, but those of us who have chosen to live "across the river" from Dallas relish this fact.

I am more than happy to discuss in depth, just post your questions in the forum.

Dallas, TX
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6. Re: Considering buying a house in Kessler Plaza in Dallas, TX

Check out www.mstreets.com

The realtor specializes in Homes in East Dallas, Lakewood and Oak Cliff.

I live in East Dallas area and I must say I LOVE IT. Its the best place Ive lived in my whole life and Ive been around. Lots of trees, awesome neighbors, front porches, close to white rock lake, close to downtown, beautiful neighborhoods and great architecture.

I would be apprehensive about Oak Cliff except for Kessler Park and Stevens Park areas. If it were me, I would rather but in East Dallas or Lakewood for the same $$