Investors renovate 1950s office building in Elmwood

elmwood place office

Homes in Elmwood typically sell for $200,000 or more.

Compared to just a few years ago, the residential real estate market in that neighborhood, between Winnetka Heights and Kiest Park, is blowing up.

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Commercial real estate in that market, however, has been slower to come up. But one father-and-son team is investing in commercial property there and fixing it up, one building at a time.

Bob Stimson and son, Matt, recently bought a 1950s office building at 1809 Balboa. They bought the two-story, 8,000-square-foot building in December. The previous owner had used it for storage, and the Stimsons filled two big dumpsters with junk. They renovated the building over the winter, and the first new tenants moved in last month.

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They also bought a 4,000-square-foot former garage nearby, and they are part owners of a retail building on Edgefield.

“We just want to buy as many as we can and fix them up,” says Bob Stimson, who served as president of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce from 2007-2014.

They compared Elmwood’s commercial real estate to that of West Davis 10 or 15 years ago. Even after residential values increased in Winnetka Heights and Kings Highway, it took many years for West Davis to come around.

Lighting is a problem for the Elmwood commercial district, which centers on Edgefield and Ferndale. At night, the streets are very dark. So the Stimsons want to ask the city to consider installing streetlights in the district, similar to what it did for Bishop Arts years ago. City Councilman Scott Griggs asked city staff for an estimate, and they found it would cost about $500,000, so that could be funded in a future bond election.

So far, the Stimsons have leased spaces in their building, called Balboa Place, to a barber shop, “El Lider” newspaper and Sunset Art Studios, a startup from neighborhood artists Rachel Rushing, Emily Riggert and Ryan Rushing.

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  • Smokey

    Congratulations to the Stimsons! My family had our first Beauticontrol Cosmetics plant just across the street in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ll drive-by this weekend and take a look, great news!

  • Cairenn Day

    For some time I have thought that there were properties on Elmwood that would be great for artists. They are going to be chased out of Bishop Arts with rising rents. Time to develop a new area.

    In fact this is one building I had wondered about.

    There are several of these commercial areas tucked into neighborhoods that would be great for new businesses.