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."[jump]
Expect a big, bloody zoning fight, which Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates has already recused herself from because her husband's company is involved in the transaction.
In the meantime, some are also turning their attention to the other side of Preston and wondering: What the hell is Mark Cuban doing with all those vacant properties?
He owns a clump of them, two each on Averill Way and Jourdan Way. According to DCAD, he acquired the first in 1988, the most recent in 2012. Only one has a house on it (Cuban lives in a much larger mansion a few blocks away on Deloache); the rest are just big, million-dollar lots.
I could be that Cuban is sitting on the properties as a long-term investment, betting that land values will continue their upward trend. But Cuban has been accumulating -- and paying taxes on -- the land for 25 years now, leading to speculation that he's got something bigger in mind.
"Yes, there are concerns that he is buying up the property for a mixed use development," says Preston Hollow East Homeowners Association President Ashley Parks.
If Cuban is considering something along those lines, he's keeping it close to his chest.
"Nothing definitive," he wrote to Unfair Park this morning. "I get and liste[n] to offers all the time but I'm in no rush to do anything."
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.