Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Santa NOT Welcome in Murphy, TX

Update: the MFD was able to perform this act of kindness and gift to the kids in Murphy!  Way to go MFD!  Express your gratitude so they'll be out again next year:

    Email the Fire Chief's Office and express gratitude here... drounsavall@murphytx.or


   Well, that might be a bit hyperbolic but there is a community issue that warrants your attention!

One of the neatest traditions in our little town comes at
Christmastime when Santa rides atop the Murphy Fire Department engines and greets kiddos all over town.  It's a fantastic thing for the kids.  Murphy is a city full of children.
Well, a few vocal complainers are ruining it for the silent majority!  After word leaked out that the MFD wasn't doing the Santa thing this year, I contacted the FD and Mayor Barna to see if it was true and how the citizenry could help restore this warm and delightful tradition.

   Mayor Barna was very responsive and highlighted a few challenges and opportunities to get Santa back on the horse... or engine, as it were!  The complete text of the Mayor's email to me is below.
  • The Parade of Santa is a voluntary act of holiday kindness performed by our fine MFD.
  • Those of us who were excited to watch the children wave at Santa on the big, shiny, fire engine didn't know we needed to wave the flag and beat the drum in support of this local tradition.
  • Those few who were eager to ruin it for the majority, found a new target for their whining and without consideration of children, set ablaze a delightful time for little ones rather than allow themselves to be mildly inconvenienced once a year!
  • If Murphy wants a Parade of Santa, we need to voice our support to get it back!
  1. If you want to show your support for the Fire Department's holiday season gift to our kids and community, email the mayor's office and declare your opinion!   ebarna@murphytx.org
  2. The entire city Council can be reached here http://www.murphytx.org/Directory.aspx?DID=5
  3. Email the Fire Chief's Office and express gratitude here... drounsavall@murphytx.org

Mr. Oden,

Thank you again for your email.

The Parade of Santa was originally dreamed up by our Fire Department and uses the on-duty crew. The idea came about as a way to give back to the community. The Fire Department has done this for a number of years and over the years the event has changed due to feedback received. The Parade of Santa started by traveling down every street in Murphy and would take a couple of weeks to complete. If a call was received during the Parade, Santa and his helpers would have to tend to the call. It was a very busy time for our Fire Department. Over the years the Parade of Santa became an abbreviated version in which a selected number of street were visited and a date and time schedule was produced. Last year the Parade of Santa only visited Murphy parks. The families who live close to Murphy parks still thought the Parade visited all streets in Murphy.

Over the years the Parade of Santa has produced feedback. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of feedback had been negative. Everything from waking sleeping babies to scaring residents in their homes. The Fire Department, in hopes of saving the Parade of Santa made adjustments over the years to find a good balance. Those who looked forward to the annual Parade of Santa failed to provide feedback to our Fire Department. As such a minority of opinion became a majority of opinion.

Our Fire Department does this on their own using their own budget to produce the Parade. They aren't on order to provide this Parade and do this because they feel in their hearts they want to do this. I can understand their concerns with the feedback they received over the years. If the feedback was more balanced they probably could see what you and I know - the majority of residents appreciate the time and effort given by our Fire Department in areas other than keeping us safe in Murphy.

The Fire Department isn't trying to play Grinch this year but trying to balance the desires of many Murphy residents and their own time and effort. I can't think of many people who will continually provide something when the majority of feedback is negative, no matter how small the feedback. The men and women of the Murphy Fire Department aren't elected officials. They are staff members who are actually going above and beyond to provide a little more Christmas joy to our residents.

I'm currently down in Houston with a family emergency but will return next weekend. I will meet with the Fire Chief and City Manager as soon as I can in an attempt to reach a compromise which will allow the Parade of Santa to continue. But, please realize this event is not a budgeted expense and done through the hearts and goodness of the men and women of the Murphy Fire Department. Positive feedback is very important to keep events like this continuing in Murphy.

Warm Regards,
Mayor Eric Barna

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Houston Based Lionstone Group now Owns Preston Park

Ever shop at United MARKETPLACE at Preston Park in Plano?

The Preston Park shopping center anchored by Marketplace has just recently been acquired by The Lionstone Group, a privately owned real estate investment firm in Houston, Tx.  Lionstone was founded in 2001 by partners Tom Bacon, Dan Dubrowski, and Glenn Lowenstein.  As reported by Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News this is the first Dallas area shopping center added to its portfolio.

The 169,842-sf Preston Park shopping center is at Park Blvd. and Preston Rd.  Anchored by grocer Market Street, the center built in 2009 is 66 percent leased.  Dallas-based PegasusAblon will handle asset management of the property and United Commercial Realty will lease it.

HFF LP brokered the sale.

Friday, September 6, 2013

USAA Brings over 600 IT Jobs to Plano

PLANO (Dallas Morning News) – USAA is bringing almost 700 high-tech jobs to Plano.
The San Antonio-based insurer and financial services firm is turning the former AT&T campus in Legacy business park into an information technology center. The firm purchased the 255,000-sf property earlier this year.
USAA received $5 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund and will receive an economic incentive package for the project.
The IT center will be on Legacy Dr., east of Dallas North Tollway. It will cost $31 million and employ 680.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

FHA Extends Mortgage Insurance Offer

  HousingWire reports that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is offering mortgage insurance to those who fell on hard times during the recession.

Borrowers who filed for bankruptcy or lost their homes through a foreclosure or short-sale proceeding and can prove they are no longer financially compromised are eligible if they meet all other FHA requirements.

"Besides the burden of proof on the borrower to demonstrate a recovery from the 'economic event,' the potential homeowner must also complete housing counseling," reports HousingWire. "This event would need to result in a minimum loss of 20 percent of the household income."  Lenders also must verify that at least a year has passed since foreclosure and that the economic event was responsible

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SOLD -- Allen Office Center

Gladstone REIT has purchased a fully leased 115,200-sf office property in this north Dallas suburb.
The two-story Allen Office Center was built in 1998. Among the tenants are Frontier Communications Corporation and Micron Technology.
CBRE arranged the transaction.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Billingsley Starts Two Office Buildings

 Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor for the Dallas Morning News reports that Billingsley Co. has begun work on two office buildings in Plano.  Construction is underway on a 180,000-sf building at 6111 W. Plano Pkwy. 
The building is slated to be completed next summer. ReachLocal Inc. will lease 100,000 sf as its headquarters. 
The company has also started the three-story, 180,000-sf speculative building at 8951 Cypress Waters Blvd. Expected to open mid-2014, the structure will be in Billingsley’s 1,000-acre Cypress Waters development.  Pritchard Associates Inc. is the construction manager for both buildings.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Record-Breaking May!

Well, that was fun!  
The Dallas Morning News reports that May was a record-breaking month for the North Texas housing market.Seemed like that around here too.  DMN says that nearly 9,200 existing single-family homes were sold last month — the most ever in one month, according to Real Estate Center and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems data. Sales were up 23 percent from over a year ago.

The median price was $180,000, a record for the area and an 11 percent increase over last year.  Homes were on the market an average of 54 days, the shortest time in almost ten years.  New listings were up 8 percent, but the total number of houses for sale was down 22 percent from last year. Inventory was at 3.4 months.

So, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The Dallas Morning News reports that area home sales started the year at a blistering pace.  Metroplex real estate agents sold 4,733 existing single-family homes last month, the largest January total since 2007 and the second-best selling January in a decade.  Along with the rapid rate of sales comes a dwindling inventory of listings that worries Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. James Gaines.

With only a 3.4-month supply of existing homes on the market, “that inventory is getting to a critical level,” Gaines said. “That’s so low, it is going to put a strain on the market . . . that means the prices will start being bid up.”  The median price for single-family homes sold in January rose 9% compared with the same month last year. Sales prices for condominiums also jumped, 14%.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Best Planned Communities are in Texas

...well Houston, but still, TEXAS!

According to the Robert Charles Lesser Company, nearly half of the country’s best-selling master-planned communities are here in the Lone Star State, and mostly in the Houston area.  According to the latest data from RCLCO, eight of the top 20 master-planned communities are around Houston. San Antonio is home to a ninth top community.

The Woodlands is Texas’ top planned community at number three, followed by Cinco Ranch (4), Riverstone (7) and San Antonio's Alamo Ranch (8). Rounding out the top 20 are Bridgeland (15), Sienna Plantation (16), Shadow Creek Ranch (17), Woodforest (19) and Telfair (20).

Nationally, the best-selling master-planned community is The Villages in Ocala, Florida.

I ...didn't see my HOA, Windy Hill Farms on the list.  Hmmm....