Andy Beal, he of enormous banking wealth and modest fame from his second life as an amateur mathematician, high-stakes poker player and failed space entrepreneur, has purchased what was listed as the most expensive home in Texas history — Tom Hicks' sprawling, 25-acre Preston Hollow estate. Being that Preston Hollow is one of the more cantankerous, and definitely one of the richest neighborhoods in Dallas proper, we figured it might be a good idea to give Andy the billionaire some advice about his new hood.
Beware the Scammer
One of the weirdest, and best, stories to come out of Preston Hollow in the last three decades was the time scammer legend John Spano tried to buy — in the way that he tried to buy things — Dallas real estate blogger Candy Evans' house. Spano was a rich dude, but not nearly as rich as he purported to be. Leveraging falsified bank documents and owner Norm Green's desire to sell quickly, he almost got his hands on the Dallas Stars in 1995, despite having a net worth of less than $5 million. In 1996 he did briefly wrest away control of the New York Islanders, despite failing to make any of the agreed upon payments to secure the team — when he needed to make a $17 million payment, he both bounced a check and then wired only $1,700 and blamed it on the bank. In 1997, Spano made what he said was an $875,000 cash offer on Evans' house on the corner of Park Lane and Hollow Way in the neighborhood. He never put up any earnest money and, luckily for Evans and her husband, eventually turned down the couple's final counter offer of $966,000. Spano has been in and out of prison since 2000. His most recent sentence, handed out last May, will see him spend up to 10 years in an Ohio prison.
Diamonds Aren't Forever
Just down the street from Beal's new digs on Hollow Way, Michael Salim bought a lot two spots down from his existing home on the street. Seeking an investment and, he said at the time, space to play for his kids, he covered the space in artificial turf adorned with the white outline of a baseball diamond. Neighbors complained and the city of Dallas quickly put a stop to Salim's plans. No matter what you want to do with your 25-acre bounty, Andy, make sure your neighbors are cool with it first.
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Don't Throw a Rock
Throwing rocks isn't nice no matter where you live, but it's especially dangerous in Preston Hollow because of the risk of hitting a politician. Former President George W. Bush, who's become something of a Dallas icon, showing up to applause at sporting events throughout the area and bolstering his SMU-based presidential library, lives in a home a couple of blocks away from Beal's spread, as does H. Ross Perot, who, along with Pat Buchanan, developed the presidential run prototype Donald Trump is currently following to perfection.
Make Friends With Cubes
Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban has spent the last 25 years buying up property near the corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. Mostly, he's remained mum about what he wants to do with the property, but rumor has it he wants to build an office building or two on his land. As the Observer has documented, he doesn't want to talk about it with neighbors, and he keeps knocking down houses. Surely, someone of your wealth, Mr. Beal, could talk some sense into your fellow new-money stalwart.
The Sky(bridge) Is Falling
If you haven't lived in Preston Hollow, it's hard to understand how something as simple as building a pedestrian bridge connecting the aging, city-owned parking garage at Preston Center to a new Tom Thumb could be controversial enough to cause years of consternation. It has, because neighbors believe the bridge and the grocery store that will come with it will increase traffic in the area around the shopping center and create chaos. Last summer, a vote on the bridge was delayed until November. In the fall, it was pushed again until August. You'll be in like Solomon if you can help your neighbors settle this mess.