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Frisco STYLE Magazine

Residential Renaissance

Apr 01, 2021 ● By Allie Spletter

Frisco is a big city with a small-town heart and feel, and so much of its heart is deeply rooted in the area where it was originally settled. As the city continues to grow and thrive, a section of its historic downtown known as the Rail District is reinventing itself as residential and retail tenants flock there. 

According to the Heritage Association of Frisco, in February 1902, the Blackland Townsite Company held an auction and sold lots in the town, which was founded along the new railroad line  built by the San Francisco and St. Louis Railway Company. The land was bound by what today is Walnut Street to the north, Ash Street to the south, John W. Elliott Drive to the west and North/South County Road to the east. The following month, a second auction was held during which lots in what was called the “Griffin Addition” were sold. 

Featuring many historical markers, and with some of the homes from that era still standing, the Rail District has been in a state of revitalization and rejuvenation over the past few years, following the Frisco Downtown Advisory Board’s plan to allow the area to evolve yet stay true to its roots. While Downtown Frisco’s Main Street boasts quaint boutiques and unique dining options, just off of the busy thoroughfare, homes new and old are playing a big role in the residential revival of the Rail District. 

“The Rail District has now become the most expensive per-square-foot real estate in all of Frisco,” said local Realtor® and downtown Frisco expert Matt Calloway. ”We have over 15 new homes being built in addition to many remodels by owners. Nack Development has invested over $50 million and has had 11 new business move here in 2020-2021 alone. It’s the heart of Frisco, and people want this area to be cool. We need it, as Frisco is often defined only by master-planned communities and strip (shopping) centers. Many people don’t realize, but we have almost 70 businesses that call the Rail District home.”


The Dow Baccus House
Oak Street

Mr. Calloway and his family also call the Rail District home. They live in a historic home in the heart of downtown. According to the Frisco Heritage Association, on April 17, 1905, the Baccus family purchased three acres from the Blackland Townsite Company on which the house was built. Mr. Baccus, who served as the mayor of Frisco in 1911 and 1916, selected the lumber that was used to build the home, which featured cypress siding and coal-burning fireplaces. The 4,200-square-foot home, nestled on a half-acre lot, has four bedrooms and five bathrooms in addition to a guest house and a six-car garage. It stands majestically at the corner of Oak Street and South County Road, and boasts many characteristics of the Greek Revival architectural style. 

 About his family’s decision to move to the Rail District, Mr. Calloway said, “In 2012, we had a vision of this area being transformed into something like the Bishop Arts district or lower Greenville and the M Streets in Dallas. Since then, we’ve invested and live in the area. The lifestyle is why we love it. … We walk two blocks to restaurants and shops. We know everyone, and it feels like Mayberry.”

The home has undergone a few renovations, but Mr. Calloway said he and his wife love its original aspects and have worked to preserve its historic appearance. They do plan to proceed with a major renovation this summer to bring its exterior up to perfection. “People stop by almost daily taking photos and asking about it. We Airbnb our guest house and meet so many wonderful people that truly get inspired by walking downtown and experiencing staying with us in the Rail District.” Mr. Calloway said he loves the lifestyle that the area provides. “Walking to restaurants, the murmur of live music, the big lots and trees, and realness and soul … you don’t get anywhere else in Frisco.” 

The Rogers House
Oak Street

Nick and Yvonne Brown weren’t necessarily looking to restore a historic home, but after making an offer on the house in September 2020, they learned of its significance. Though it does not have an official name, the Browns have nicknamed it the Rogers House, in honor of its first owner, Dr. I.S. Rogers. The home is set to receive a historic marker from the Heritage Association this month.

According to the association, Dr. Rogers, one of Frisco’s most revered early residents and its first mayor, built the home after purchasing lots from the Blackland Townsite Company in February 1902. The Folk Victorian-style abode features four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, a kitchen (with a separate utility room) and dining room, in addition to a wraparound porch with a large outdoor deck just off the living room. The 2,058-square-foot home is surrounded by a large yard with mature trees and enough parking to accommodate four cars. “Its excellent location in the heart of Frisco (is) close to shops, restaurants, coffee stores, but it’s also nestled in its own quiet corner amongst mature trees and gardens,” Mrs. Brown said. “I stand on the edge of 5th and Oak sometimes and just envision driving by in years to come, to see a family enjoying its yard in the Texas sunshine.” 

With the hope of preserving its historic look, Mrs. Brown says the home will very much appear the same on the outside once its restoration is complete. “The more we peeled back the layers on the inside, the more issues we found, mostly due to poor upkeep and severe termite damage throughout,” she said. “We have managed to salvage a lot of the original shiplap used to build it and will expose a feature wall of shiplap in each of the bedrooms. We are also keeping the stairs, bannister and four original internal doors, which will be refurbished and placed back into the home.”

The process of restoring a historic home has been fascinating, she said. “Each time I walk through the home, I imagine the people who lived there, babies who were born into the home. Dr. Rogers’ daughter was married out of the home, and how they lived each day with none of the conveniences we have now and endured the crazy Texas weather. It’s a very special home for sure.”


 Matie Custom Homes
Oak Street

Mark Matie Jr. and the team at Matie Custom Homes didn’t waste any time working to create an incredible newly built home that certainly adds to the Rail District with its fresh aesthetic. Just under 2,300 square feet, the home boasts three bedrooms, three baths, a two-car garage, and open-concept living with a fireplace, office, mudroom and large covered patio. 

Mr. Matie Jr. said that the decision to build in the Rail District stemmed from what has been and is currently happening in the area. “The new construction is bringing a much-needed resurgence and life to the downtown Frisco area. All the new homes, brownstones, restaurants, shopping, coffee shops, shared co-working spaces, workout facilities … is really boosting the entire development of downtown Frisco,” he said. “My ultimate goal was to build a home that will bolster the area and inspire other people to see the quality, design and attention to detail we poured into this house and continue to do the same work in the community.”

Mr. Matie Jr. said that the vision for this home was a California-esque modern farmhouse. Natural elements of cedar wood nod to the historic downtown area’s charm while also bringing a fresh, contemporary look. “This home has given us a chance to do something we haven’t done in a long time. We’ve had the opportunity to branch out into a different segment of design, which has really made this such a special project,” he adds. 


NorthStar Luxury Homes
Sycamore Street 

The Wilson family has lived in the Frisco suburbs for more than 15 years, but they’ve always been intrigued by the city’s downtown. “When our kids graduated, we decided it was the right time to make a change. We both grew up in a small town in Kansas, and when we started looking, the downtown Frisco area and the Rail District area reminded us a lot of the small-town atmosphere that we love and grew up in,” they explained. 

Barry Hensley, of NorthStar Luxury Homes, said it’s very difficult to find a newly built property in the area. “I hope to show potential buyers that not only is the Rail District a great place to build a home, but by exercising some patience, they can find a great site and be very proud of their home.” 

The Wilsons, with the help of NorthStar Luxury Homes and Mr. Hensley, are building a home on Sycamore Street. The home, which backs up to Frisco Commons Park, is approximately 3,000 square feet and features four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths with an oversized two-car garage and a large back patio. The Wilsons said, “We’re building a modern farmhouse-themed house, and we love that it’s going to be a bit different as we’re not using any brick or stone for the look of our house. We’re really simple in our tastes and style, and we feel the house will resemble that and blend nicely into the neighborhood and the Rail District.” 

Despite being a new build, the home “incorporates a style that is not available in other parts of Frisco,” Mr. Hensley said. He believes the Rail District is destined to become one of Frisco’s most sought-after residential destinations. “With the new commercial developments planned for Main Street, those who choose to live in the Rail District will enjoy their decision for years to come.” 


Larry & Amy Davis
Maple Street

Larry and Amy Davis opted for the Rail District specifically because it’s not a typical subdivision neighborhood. “It was always a want for my wife and I to be in a neighborhood that was (in) close walking distance to restaurants and bars,” he said. In the Rail District, “We were fortunate to find a corner lot that had been cleared for building and that was close to Main Street for us to get our wish.” 

The Davis family finished their build and closed on the home in February 2020. The custom-designed-and-built home is 3,356 square feet, all brick with cast-concrete front entry and window accents. It features three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and an office. A central courtyard, which will soon feature a pool, helps to create an indoor/outdoor living area. The home took roughly 11 months to design and build and brings a classic, elegant vibe to the farmhouse design, with unique features that allow it to stand out in the neighborhood. 

“We wanted the design to fit into the overall area, where we knew several historical homes were located, but also where we saw several new homes being developed,” Mr. Davis said. “We hope our home brings an increased sense of transformation for the surrounding area.” The family enjoys being “part of a community that has a distinct identity and an exciting future for rejuvenation. It’s amazing to see what is happening in the Rail District and how the blending of both old and new is transforming the area.”

 Almega Homes
6th Street

The team at Almega Homes, a boutique builder with customizable floorplans and finish outs, has been an integral part of the area’s redefined look, having brought new and exciting aesthetics to the area.

Tommy Piwonski, an Almega Homes partner, attributes the company’s attraction to the area to the walkability of the Rail District’s streets. “A place where you can live and walk up the street to a coffee shop or restaurant … we really loved that appeal,” he said. The Almega team has constructed three Craftsman-style homes with modern farmhouse elements on 6th Street, just blocks from the Rail District’s retail and restaurants offerings. The homes range from 2,400-2,800 square feet and are two-and-a-half-to-three stories tall. Mr. Piwonski said most of the homes have three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. Each features high-end, custom finishes. 

Kaeley Duncan, lead design and product management consultant for Almega Homes, said the trio of homes are special in that each has its own character and appeal. “Each home has its own unique floor plan and elevation. This way no two homes we build downtown are the same. They are also all three painted a different exterior color to provide uniqueness with also uniformity with the three. A client of ours is wanting to call them Frisco’s painted ladies. In all, the historic feel with all the modern updates is what is most unique about these three homes.”

Builder and developer Richard Henson, of Richard Henson LLC, worked closely with Realtor® Matt Calloway so that families will be able to call the Rail District home in the future. He recently purchased an oversized lot on Oak Street, where he will build two homes, each around 3,500 square feet with heated and cooled living areas. Once completed, they will likely be priced close to the million-dollar range.

“We’ll look to try to keep the architecture in the type of the farmhouse style consistent with the area, that will include a large front porch,” Mr. Henson said. “We want to maintain the charm of the neighborhood, and we’ve definitely included that in the design, and we’ve done that with an architect from the ground up. They’ll feature high ceilings and all of the charm of the older period architecture with the modern convivences.” Mr. Henson is confident the homes will add value and charm to the area, and that families who will reside there will develop relationships with neighbors and enjoy all that the Rail District has to offer for years to come.

While large subdivisions and other housing developments continue to be planned and built throughout Frisco, there’s no denying the residential renaissance that is underway in the Rail District, which appears poised to carry on as area newcomers and even some longtime Frisconians discover the fascinating history, undeniable charm and unique lifestyle that comes with calling downtown home.  



 Mike Scarlett

Alair Homes Frisco

As a property owner and resident in the Rail District, Mike Scarlett has specialized in custom-home building, remodeling and commercial construction throughout North Texas for 17 years. In 2020, he transitioned his business to Alair Homes Frisco as an owner/partner. With plans to construct two houses on a split lot in the Rail District, Mr. Scarlett said he looks forward to building custom homes to fit buyers’ wishes while keeping with a traditional style and more contemporary-designed interiors. 

“I want to add value and new homes to the Rail District for the people that have dreamed of owning a new custom home and be within walking distance to all the new shops,” he said. “I love that all the houses are unique with varying sizes and styles. As a resident in the Rail District, I have loved watching the neighbors getting to know each other and having get togethers. The people here are friendly and like to have fun.”

Mr. Scarlett said finding lots in the area upon which to build can be a challenge. “So, now, buyers are willing to buy a home to tear down to get a lot in the Rail District. I have a list of people that want me to find them an old house on a big lot to build their dream home.”


Richard Henson LLC

Oak Street

Frisco is a big city with a small-town heart and feel, and so much of its heart is deeply rooted in the area where it was originally settled. As the city continues to grow and thrive, a section of its historic downtown known as the Rail District is reinventing itself as residential and retail tenants flock there. 

According to the Heritage Association of Frisco, in February 1902, the Blackland Townsite Company held an auction and sold lots in the town, which was founded along the new railroad line  built by the San Francisco and St. Louis Railway Company. The land was bound by what today is Walnut Street to the north, Ash Street to the south, John W. Elliott Drive to the west and North/South County Road to the east. The following month, a second auction was held during which lots in what was called the “Griffin Addition” were sold. 

Featuring many historical markers, and with some of the homes from that era still standing, the Rail District has been in a state of revitalization and rejuvenation over the past few years, following the Frisco Downtown Advisory Board’s plan to allow the area to evolve yet stay true to its roots. While Downtown Frisco’s Main Street boasts quaint boutiques and unique dining options, just off of the busy thoroughfare, homes new and old are playing a big role in the residential revival of the Rail District. 

“The Rail District has now become the most expensive per-square-foot real estate in all of Frisco,” said local Realtor® and downtown Frisco expert Matt Calloway. ”We have over 15 new homes being built in addition to many remodels by owners. Nack Development has invested over $50 million and has had 11 new business move here in 2020-2021 alone. It’s the heart of Frisco, and people want this area to be cool. We need it, as Frisco is often defined only by master-planned communities and strip (shopping) centers. Many people don’t realize, but we have almost 70 businesses that call the Rail District home.”


Allie Spletter is a freelance writer who can be found roaming the aisles of Target, getting lost in a good book, or watching Hamilton … again.