In the process of seeking approval for Phase 2 of its City Lights urban development, Charleston, North Carolina-based Greystar gave a teaser on where the company is going with Phase 3 in the Baylor Hospital District just east of the Central Expressway.
Andrew Orr, representing the commercial real estate developer and property management firm, told the Dallas City Plan Commission last month the company planned to build a 12 to 13-story apartment tower on the 700 block of Cantegral Street.
Greystar developed Elan City Lights, a high density apartment block at 2627 Live Oak Street that opened several months ago, and is immediately across Cantegral from Phase 2.
“Both projects are located on the DART rail, close to Pearl Station and Deep Ellum Station,” Orr said.
The apartment tower would rise above a Tom Thumb Grocery that would take up most of the ground level. This is a 55,000-square-foot grocery. Included in grocery will be a Starbucks Coffee, Wells Fargo bank branch, indoor-outdoor café seating that fronts onto Live Oak, and a beer/wine bar.
Greystar planned a building height of 165 feet with about 365 units. Parking was separated between apartment dwellers and store patrons, with shoppers entering an underground parking lot from Texas Street, and residents entering an above-ground garage on Cantegral, Orr said.
At the corner of Live Oak and Texas is the primary grocery store and café entrance. Off of Cantegral and Live Oak, we’ll have a secondary grocery entrance where bikes will be—we hope to have a minimum of 30 bike spaces.
As Orr described it, Greystar is trying to design the site in a way that will promote pedestrian traffic. But Live Oak carries heavy traffic and has little retail to speak of that would attract foot traffic. The commissioners noted this and offered criticism about the lack of shadow retail for the Tom Thumb.
Suzan Kedron, a land use attorney and partner at Jackson Walker representing Greystar, noted the java shop, bank and café in the store.
“This is a project that I’m personally excited about. It puts a grocery store just on the other side of the freeway from downtown,” Kedron said.
However, commissioners questioned why no retail was included in the first phase.
Greystar managing director of the Irving office, Laird Sparks, explained that they tried to add retail with Phase 1.
“We bought that land out of bankruptcy. There was an extreme time clock on it, so we had to move forward without it,” Sparks said.
Calling the project “one dimensional,” Commissioner Tipton Housewright questioned why Tom Thumb could not have made do with 50,000 square feet to provide another retail option. The square footage on the grocery store was driven by the size Tom Thumb demanded, Sparks said.
He then promised more retail, bringing to everyone’s addition this project has a third act.
“We have some other land on the other side of Bryan that you may recall. It’s vacant. We feel like if we can get this project going, and with the pedestrian corridor on Cantegral, that can act as access to that third parcel.
“Hopefully, that’s where we can fill in some other type of retail uses on the ground floor,” Sparks said.
Meeks+Partners is the architect. Phase 2 has an estimated cost of $100 million. Plans are to complete construction in 2018.