Yet another of the various transit-oriented, high-density developments that are so attracted to light-rail corridors, InTown Homes introduced Urban InTown Homes LLC, a 90-unit development that–for its small size–includes the novelty of a new public street.
As explained by the ever charming Audra Buckley, owner of Permitted Development and InTown Homes’ representative, the developer offered to built and donate to the city an extension of Beaumont Street that would extend it by one block from Wall Street to Cockrell Avenue.
“This is a very disconnected neighborhood right now. If we bring Beaumont across to Cockrell, that gives residents a means to get to the DART station. We’ve got the Cedar Station that is all of 650 feet northwest of us, but there’s not a walk path to get to it.”
Buckley added that the street has to be made public because a private street cannot be connected to two public streets. It would also have 6-foot-wide sidewalks and trees planted at 25-foot intervals.
InTown Homes is also proposing to rebuild Wall Street, which is in substandard condition, and would widen it to 45 feet by ceding a 5-foot right-of-way strip of its property to the city.
This is one unconventional project in that there are two tracts being combined in one subdistrict, but Tract 2 is a document storage warehouse that was purchased from Iron Mountain. There are no present plans to convert the 57,449-square-foot warehouse to residential, but it was snatched up in part because the site has an unused parking lot that InTown Homes will develop at a later date, Buckley said.
The development, as proposed, is on Tract 1 and will have a mix of three-story residences that would either face public streets or turn inward to face courtyards. A conceptual rendering of the residential facade has the appearance of an office building made of limestone, steel and glass.
There is currently a 97,935-square-foot warehouse on the tract to be developed that will be demolished.
- Project Name: Urban InTown Homes LLC
- Location: The Cedars, between McKee, Wall and Cockrell
- Number Units: 90 lots with 209 parking spaces
- Average Unit Size: 2,400 Square Feet
- Land Area: 6.3 Acres
- Special Circumstance: New Public Street
At the October 20 City Plan Commission meeting, there was resistance to the project, mainly because commissioners felt there were not enough assurances in the plan that InTown Homes would actually build what was being presented. There were some who also objected to the density and scarcity of green space (landscaping was estimated at between 15 and 20 percent of the total area).
Commissioner Jaynie Schultz pressed Buckley to come up with some kind of stipulation on the spot, or risk holding the project with the commission into the New Year.
However, Commissioner P. Michael Jung noted that while there has been residential development around Cedar Station, the area is predominantly industrial, with many warehouses still in the area.
Commissioner Mark Rieves, who made the motion for approval, reminded everyone that Buckley came armed with a letter of approval from the Central Business District Neighborhood Coalition.
“They are for this,” Rieves said. “I agree, there’s a lot there, but as Commissioner Jung point out, it’s a warehouse district. If the neighborhood was against this, I would be against this.
“There’s a lot on this postage stamp,” Rieves added, suggesting Buckley show on the subdistrict plan which units would face the street versus a courtyard.
Taking a marker to the site plan map, Buckley hand-wrote which units would face the street. That satisfied the majority.
Commissioner Tipton Housewright was the lone nay vote: “There’s a lot to like about this project. Nevertheless, I can’t support the motion. The green space, frankly, are scraps left over after the developer planned the maximum number of units. There’s no place-making. There’s no urban design.”