Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bill Grant's Vision of Dunwoody; Current Real Estate Market

Dunwoody's preeminent builder Bill Grant, stopped by our Keller Williams office on Tuesday to pitch our agents on joining the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce, of which he is chairman. While you might not find that of interest, and I'm fairly certain you don't, it was of interest getting Bill's thoughts on future expansion of Dunwoody.

Grant, who's been building in Dunwoody for 25 years and whose business currently focuses on remodeling projects until the economy turns around, feels the City of Dunwoody is primed to annex unincorporated areas of DeKalb County just inside the perimeter, where the old Hewlett Packard building residents (west of Ashford Dunwoody Road). He also feels that one day, Dunwoody will annex parts of Sandy Springs, north of Dunwoody.

On the building front, Grant says that for the first time in his career the size of his custom homes are decreasing, and that higher-income buyers, in general, are no longer demanding bigger homes. Grant says he doesn't foresee building anymore $2 million homes in the near future.

Current State of the Real Estate Market

Speaking of real estate, my office released its proprietary second quarter numbers this week, and while volume of home sales for the metro area is up 2.6 percent over the same quarter last year, home prices continue to decline, albeit just slightly. Distressed property sales (foreclosures and short sales) make up approximately 40 percent of all sales.

Currently there are 191 active listing in Dunwoody in the 30338 zip code, and 6 in Springfield. To view all listings, click on the Buyer's Short Report link below:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Millar, Taylor Win; Handel, Deal in Runoff

Congrats to Dunwoody residents Fran Millar and Tom Taylor, both of whom won their primary races on Tuesday, and for all intent and purpose, will win election in November. Millar is in line to replace retiring State Senator Dan Weber, while Taylor, the former Dunwoody City Councilman, is a virtual lock to win the State Representative seat vacated by Millar. Millar won with 63 percent of the vote (click here to see vote total) against opponents Jamie Sibold and Jim Duffie, while Taylor collected better than 70 percent of the vote (click here to see vote total) in his race against Tammy Anderson. Both Millar and Taylor have served the community well. There was never a serious option to Millar, meantime Taylor's experience was clearly the difference in his race (it's too bad that Anderson was trying to paint Taylor as a career politician, even though he has served less than 3 years in public office).

While former Governor Roy Barnes cruised to victory in the Democratic primary in his attempt to regain his old job, getting almost 66 percent of the vote, the Republicans are headed to a runoff. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who got 34 percent, will face former U.S. Representative Nathan Deal, who garnered 22.9 percent. Deal nosed out former Georgia Senator President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson, who finished with 20.1 percent. The favorite going into the election, State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, finished 4th with 16.9 percent. A valuable lesson was learned here - never trust the polling. According to Sunday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, Oxendine was ahead in the race with 31 percent of the vote. I even know one person who switched their vote from Johnson to Handel simply because they didn't think Johnson had a chance, and wanted to ensure that Oxendine didn't win outright! Turns out, a few more votes and Johnson, who co-sponsored the senate bill that made Dunwoody a city, would have been in the runoff. The runoff will take place on August 10.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Don't forget today is election day - primaries for both the Democratic and Republican Party. The Springfield neighborhood's polling place remains St. Luke's Presbyterian Church, located at 1978 Mt. Vernon Road.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not Endorsing Candidates

The primary election is just 5 days away. Unlike some of my fellow bloggers (and I will not mention my friend Rick Callihan by name or his Dunwoody Talk Blogsite), I will not be endorsing candidates. I did that once and regretted it!

With that said, one of the most intriguing races is the one for State House, District 79 to replace Fran Millar, who is running for State Senate. It pits former Dunwoody City Councilman Tom Taylor against Tammy Anderson, the wife of Dunwoody City Attorney Brian Anderson. Both have deep roots in the community with a history of stepping to the plate. Both played a role in getting the city of Dunwoody started. As a councilman, Tom was instrumental in the start up of the police department and helping the city procure its parks from DeKalb County. Tammy has not held an elected position, but she helped write the charter that created the City of Dunwoody.

In reading through their web pages and from material gathered from other sites, Tom seems focused on the state adopting a strict zero-based budget. Tammy's top priority appears to be gaining local control of our public schools.

I don't think we can go wrong with either candidate. It's simply a matter of what you deem most important to our community. For me it would be an obvious decision if I was backing a candidate based on their collegiate allegiance (like myself, Tammy is a graduate of the University of Texas). Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

As for the race for Governor, according to a poll in Thursday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Roy Barnes has a commanding lead on the Democratic side, while John Oxendine holds a slim lead in the Republican primary. Click AJC to read the accompanying story.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

DHA Welcomes New President

The Dunwoody Homeowners Association held it's first meeting under the direction of new president Bill Grossman on Sunday night. It was a relatively low-keyed meeting.
Among the highlights were the first drawings of the new Wendy's that will occupy the Perimeter Point shopping center (seen above). It is a stand-alone store that will sit on the street-side of the parking lot facing the theatre (right across the street from Wendy's corporate offices, so you can bet it will swanky by Wendy's standards).
Also, the owners of the soon-to-be new restaurant in off Dunwoody Village Parkway announced that they have signed a lease to occupy the old Bruster's ice cream. Village Burger hopes to open in August.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dunwoody Parade

According to the Dunwoody Crier, more than 25,000 attended Monday's parade, which appeared to go off without a hitch. While everyone seemed to have a great time, perhaps the politicians had the best time (there certainly were enough of them. Gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine is featured in the 3rd photo above). I had a chance to speak with Gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson, who made sure to remind me that he co-sponsored the bill that made Dunwoody a city.
Congrats to Kingsley Racquet & Swim Club for winning best float!

Springfield News

The DeKalb County Sherrif's Department was in the neighborhood on Tuesday, apparently evicting tenants that lived on the 4800 block of Springfield Dr. I, for one, won't miss all the cars parked in the driveway and on the lawn - or at least what is left of the lawn. It's ashamed, because the owner of the home spent a great deal of money renovating before leasing it out.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

In case you don't know it, this is the person that is referred to as "The Fat Lady" in the trite verbalization of "It's not over till the fat lady sings." Kate Smith was born and grew up in Columbia, Missouri .
In early 1940, Kate Smith, a fiercely patriotic American and the biggest star on radio, was deeply worried about her country.

She asked Irving Berlin if he could give her a song that would re-ignite the spirit of American patriotism and faith. He said he had a song that he had written in 1917, but never used it. He said she could have it.
She sat at the piano & played it and realized how good it was. She called Mr. Berlin and told him that she couldn't take this from him for nothing. So, they agreed that any money that would be made off the song would be donated to the Boy Scouts of America .
Thanks to Kate Smith and Irving Berlin, the Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties.

This clip is from the movie "You're in the Army Now. You will see a familiar face in this one.
Frank Sinatra said that when Kate Smith, whom he considered the greatest singer of his age, first sang this song on the radio, a million guys got "dust" in their eyes and had to wipe the tears the "dust" caused.

Sit back and enjoy a real Star (click on the photo to watch).

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Listing, Update from City Council

Although not in Springfield, I have a new listing nearby - at 1530 Cedarhurst Dr (above). It is a fabulously-kept two-story traditional, wonderful kitchen renovation, hardwoods on both floors and an amazing kid-friendly backyard. For more information, click on the Buyer Short Report below:

Currently there are 194 active listings in Dunwoody in the 30338 zip code. To prove that good homes priced right are still selling, there are 32 additional homes currently under contract. To view all the active listings in Dunwoody, click on the Buyer Short Report below:

Update from Councilman Wittenstein

Below is the latest update from Dunwoody City Councilman Robert Wittenstein.

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
First, a very happy Independence Day to everyone. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Dunwoody parade on Monday, July 5th. I congratulate the Dunwoody Woman’s Club as this year’s honorees and thank them for getting the tradition started and for all they do for our community.
My heart and prayers go out to the couple killed on Peeler Road on Thursday. This is a horrific incident and I am confident that our police department and the county are conducting the investigation with care and competence.

We continue to look at the advantages and challenges of taking over 911 emergency dispatch service from the county. We have broadened our discussion to include looking at the feasibility of taking over fire service from the county as well as 911. (Emergency Medical Service is tied to DeKalb County. The only way for us to take over EMS is to get DeKalb’s permission to withdraw from their service area or petition the state to re-draw the EMS boundaries. Neither seems likely.)
Many of you took the time to provide answers to the survey I created last month. There were 229 responses. 57% of you responded that you supported our taking over 911 even if it meant a small tax increase. 24% responded that you thought we should stay with DeKalb and the remaining 19% thought we should take over 911 but only if we made cuts in police, roads and parks spending to pay for it. Thank you to those who took the time to respond and to comment. I shared all the comments with the rest of the City Council and senior city staff.

As most of you are aware, we took over the parks properties from DeKalb County in June. We are now maintaining the parks and we have begun to make small improvements. This is reason for celebration! That said, we are horribly underserved by the parks we have inherited. At some point, as a community, we will need to make a commitment to create a parks and greenspace network for us, our children and our grandchildren. This will require an investment in land and capital improvements.
Also in June, we completed drafting our 20 year Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This fourteen month effort resulted in a document that provides a vision for Dunwoody. It is an incredible document and one we should be proud of. It has been submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review and will be posted on our web site shortly.
This past week, Mayor Wright, Danny Ross and I attended the annual Georgia Municipal Association conference in Savannah (along with Warren Hutmacher, our City Manager, and Sharon Lowery, our City Clerk). The conference allows us to take training, participate in policy sessions and discuss issues with state lawmakers. We also get to meet our counterparts in other cities and discuss solutions to common problems. It was a very worthwhile conference.
Finally, please be aware that in a week or so I will send out an e-mail with the subject, “Endorsements”. I have had the privilege to meet and talk with most of the candidates who are running for office in the July 20 primaries and I’ll provide my thoughts. This won’t have any Dunwoody news in it, so if you are not interested, please feel free to delete it unopened. Either way, remember to vote on Tuesday, July 20.