Traveling down Oak Cliff Gateway across the Trinity River down North Zang Boulevard, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit urban rail line can be seen reaching its completion at Bishop Arts District.
There was every expectation the passenger rail project would revitalize the area with new development, and those expectations have been met in spades.
Alamo Manhattan was the first to exploit the DART rail extension into North Oak Cliff, but city planners had every expectation more high-density development would follow.
In fact, for nearly a year Crescent Communities has worked behind the scenes on its own project. On Aug. 4, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based apartment developer got the City Plan Commission to unanimously approve a new subdistrict and a reduction of a “shopfront overlay” for a city block bounded by North Zang Boulevard, East Davis Street and North Beckley Avenue.
The southern half of the project site is directly across Zang Boulevard from the northern half of Alamo Manhattan’s Bishop Arts Station development. Both projects are transit oriented and would benefit from the streetcar station planned on Zang between Davis and West Seventh Street.
The subdistrict consists of 2.77 acres of land currently owned by Dallas County Schools but under contract to the developer. Crescent Communities plans to turn 80 percent of the area, 94,683 square feet, into a mixed-use development, according to a Planning & Development staff report.
The apartment development, Steps of Zang, will take up 20,150 square feet; of that, 14,896 square feet will be for the building. An open space amenity will occupy 3,838 square feet.
“The remainder of the area request, north of the abandoned West Neely Street, is intended to be used for a townhouse development (Towns on Zang),” staff said.
The development plan specifies there will be 300 residential units in total and 498 parking spaces, of which 352 will be for residents.
Rob Baldwin of Baldwin Associates, a land use consultant representing Crescent Communities, explained how the “shopfront overlay” required 90 percent of the ground floor space be used for non-residential functions such as retail, office or civic.
Baldwin argued the developer’s concept is more creative. Rather than make everything look like what is found in Uptown’s West Village, “retail on the street and four or five stories of residential, it’s all very blocky, this allows us to create us to create different height buildings and a piazza that goes through the site that creates a really lively and open space.”
City Plan Commissioner Michael Anglin participated in a town hall meeting with neighbors and stakeholders the day prior to the commission hearing. He made the motion in favor.
What Anglin claimed to like most about the project is how the building structures stair-step down, with the intense use of retail and restaurants is at the southwest corner of Zang and Davis and roof heights reach 82 feet.
“And then as you go north on Zang toward the neighborhoods, the heights drop down to 60 feet and then to 40 feet,” … “It’s a beautiful transition into the neighborhoods to the north and to the west, Lake Cliff and Kidd Springs.” ~City Plan Commissioner Michael Anglin
Crescent Communities plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2017.