Preservationists? Clean-up men? Or just young entrepreneurs who like a challenge? Call them what you will, but there’s little doubt that brothers Craig and Braden Power have been instrumental in rejuvenating East Dallas.
As the “Powers” behind Power Properties, they’ve turned disaster areas into artsy condos and slums into exclusive lofts. In effect, such arduous and expensive tasks have done much more than provide neat places to live, but have made East Dallas much more livable.
Take for instance the site they’re most revered for, 6011 Gaston. Once the Lakewood Apartments, the complex was roach-infested and riddled with bullet holes. It was also surrounded by a gaggle of criminal activity and boasted a swimming pool filled with mud. Now, the pool area contains exotic, metal sculptures, a trickling fountain and classical music playing over delicately positioned speakers. The apartments have been transformed into cleverly designed lofts and the overall aura surrounding the property is nothing short of unique.
“Sometimes, when we’re designing a courtyard we like to think that we’re somewhere else,” says Braden Power, 30. “That’s why we bring in palm trees and tropical feel of a resort. With that, people forget. They forget that they’re here in this flat, hot city. When they look out they’re windows they feel like they’re on vacation.”
Braden oversees much if the design work on his properties and shares business responsibilities with brother Craig, 33 who also coordinates work crews. Together, they began their real estate and restoration adventures nearly 10 years ago working with small historic edifices, then progressively taking on larger projects as time went by. Both were from North Dallas and were vaguely familiar with the city’s semi-nether regions until they began working (an eventually residing) within the area.
“Originally, Braden found a historic home on Junius. Incredible home. Beautiful,” says Craig. “The neighborhood at that time had really gone south. We grew up in North Dallas, so all of this was completely foreign to us. Overnight, the neighborhood had been destroyed from the real estate crash and the rise of criminal activity.”
So began the Power brothers initial project in East Dallas. It jump-started a slew of other renovations along Swiss avenue, Live Oak and Gaston. All of which presented financial and physical challenges (considering the dilapidated state of some of these places), but in the end, persistence paid off. It especially paid off in their battles to renovate the aforementioned 6011 Gaston location.
In a highly publicized conflict, the Power Brothers were opposed by the City of Dallas, who wanted to destroy the building. The Powers eventually won and silenced all naysayers with their near flawless reconstruction and clever design.
“The bones of that building were there,” says Braden. “The infrastructure was there and the location was fantastic. Although we develop in the inner city we’re very careful of what we choose to do.”
Currently, Braden and Craig are scouting new areas for prospective projects but are unable to divulge exact details at this point. They’re also enjoying the versatile atmosphere they’re currently working and living in. But the Powers are insistent on creating more than just nice homes. In describing the 6011 Gaston spot, Braden feels they’ve not only overcome the odds in its development, but have broke new ground in creating an entirely different type of living area.
“What we’ve developed is a sense of community where people enjoy their common space,” he says. “It brings people out. It’s beautiful, so they go outside and invite friends over for parties and get-togethers. And the space is small and intimate enough, so they get to know their neighbors. I think it provides for an atmosphere unlike anything else in the city.”
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