When Monte Anderson turned the aging 1946 motor inn into a hip boutique hotel on Fort Worth Avenue in Dallas, he used goats to clear the property of invasive plants.
Photo courtesy of the Belmont Hotel.
March 31, 2014
Commercial real estate developer Monte Anderson is known in Dallas for leasing, sales, property management and development of commercial property, but less well known is the eco-friendly way he approaches it.
“I remodel buildings. I don’t tear them down and if I do have to tear them down I repurpose everything, even the concrete,” said Anderson. “But my main objective is to keep everything out of the dump.”
As a board member and founding president for the North Texas Chapter of Congress for the New Urbanism, he is aligned with the nonprofit’s mission to create sustainable neighborhoods. Like, CNU, he's dedicated to promoting walkable mixed-used developments as an alternative to urban sprawl.
Anderson admits the green efforts of his company Options Real Estate are not heralded on its website, but says it’s just part of the way he does business.
“We have no green gizmos and what we do is real and a part of life and not what we need a certificate for.”
Anderson grew up in the southern part of Dallas, attending Carter High School before graduating in 1976 from Midlothian High School. Since that time, he says he made a commitment to return to his old neighborhood and recycle old buildings to help the area retain its character and thrive.
Although he has a home in DeSoto, he lives part-time in the 68-room historic Belmont Hotel, located on Fort Worth Avenue.
Belmont Hotel interior.
It’s a property he finished restoring in 2005, earning awards from Preservation Dallas and Preservation Texas awards. Part of that restoration included using goats to clear the property of weeds, a move that was more cost effective and more eco-friendly too.
Anderson also repurposed Fire Station #15 in the Oak Cliff neighborhood, which is now Gloria’s restaurant, a cornerstone in the Bishop Arts District. In addition, as president of the Oak Cliff Foundation, he renovated the historic Texas Theater that currently operates as a movie and live performance venue.
Gloria's and the Texas Theatre are two properties Anderson renovated in the Oak Cliff neighborhood.
His office is in downtown Duncanville in an old repurposed post office where he also added two apartments to rent in an effort to be part of the rejuvenation of that city’s downtown area.
His most recent development is a 131-acre mixed-use, traditional neighborhood development currently under construction in Midlothian.
Regarding the interior of his projects, there is a green theme there too as he recycles materials like countertops, uses non-chemical carpets, bamboo flooring and energy-efficient windows.
“Green building is also about the positioning of homes/buildings to make use of the shade of trees and the like,” he added.
Among his many achievements, in 2012, he was awarded the Ruth Chenoweth Conservation Achievement Award by the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League.
“Monte and the Options Team exemplify sustainable development,” Phil Levin, president of OOCCL, told Oak Cliff People. “He applies a long-term vision to create projects that are economically viable, and also sensitive to history, the community and the environment.”
Monte Anderson with award presented by Phil Levin, president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League. Courtesy of Oak Cliff People.
Anderson says even without the recognition he would still do things just the way he is doing it.
“What we do is good,” he concludes. “The reason eco-friendly is important is for our grandkids too. What are the consequences in 100 years if we don’t do something right now?”
Watch Monte Anderson's video: Creating a Sustainable Duncanville.