At a recent meeting of the Dallas City Plan Commission, Houston-based developer Urban Lofts Townhomes got a hearing to obtain a multifamily subdistrict zoning in Oak Lawn, as part of the firm’s proposed new townhome development at 4523 Cedar Springs Road, The Lofts on Cedar Springs.
The commissioners went easy on Urban Lofts’ representative, Karl Crawley of the land planning firm Masterplan. The only issue of which there was still any question by the time the case made it to the panel was the width of the project’s curbside sidewalks. City staff recommended an 8-foot width, but Crawley argued the alternative would mean sacrificing trees. He also noted that neighboring properties had 3-foot sidewalks.
“When I start making bigger sidewalks, I then start getting into three plantings and the trees that I’m trying to save,” Crawley said.
Commissioner Chad West said the width of neighboring sidewalks shouldn’t matter, since the city’s development goals include the future of pedestrian walkways.
“But I do think your argument that you want to save the trees there is the most compelling part of your argument,” West added.
Commissioner Mark Rieves complimented the developer, Urban Lofts Partners Inc., stating, “It completely fits everything that is around it and very appropriately.”
That’s something of an understatement, considering that the surrounding neighborhood has seen a large number of high-density multifamily developments in recent years.
The Urban Lofts Townhomes, project, by comparison, would provide a little buffer for the remnant of a single family neighborhood in the area — barely a third of a city block of homes in the 2900 block of Hawthorne Avenue.
This niche of homes is boxed in to its east and west by communities The Dylan and The Lucas at Cedar Springs (formerly the Aura Cedar Apartments). Another block east, just across the Dallas North Tollway, are the Tribeca condominiums and the Echo apartments. For its scale alone, the project is a change from what’s been happening around the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and the Dallas North Tollway.
But the project is notable for another reason.
The Urban Lofts development will occupy slightly less than a quarter city block. However, the lot was part of a plat that encompassed a half block bordered by Cedar Springs, Hawthorne Avenue and Lucas Drive. That plat was zoned a few years ago for a 188-unit single-structure multifamily development that would have meant demolishing the former Bethany Presbyterian Church — which is currently still standing — and the Spring Villa Apartments, a small 1970s-era apartment community.
By purchasing the lot with the church from the company that held title to the Spring Villa Apartments, and then rezoning it for townhomes, Urban Lofts killed a larger project. Ben Navo, an architect with Urban Lofts Townhomes, told Towers that The Lofts on Cedar Springs will be completed in two phases and have a total of 26 townhomes upon completion.
“The first phase will be our more traditional units with 3 beds/3.5 baths, with roof terrace. On the second phase, we will be offering a larger four-story townhome,” Navo said. “The third and fourth floors can be customized to accommodate a master suite on the third level, or an extra bedroom/game room on the fourth. All plans are elevator-capable.”
If all goes well, Lofts on Cedar Springs will break ground in August or September, he added. According to the site plan, the average lot area per unit will be 1,837 square feet. Coverage will be 60 percent on a 1.097-acre lot.
Urban Lofts Townhomes hasn’t been in Dallas long. They were first featured in Towers with the opening of Wall Street Townhomes in the Cedars in 2016. The company followed the project with Lofts on Bennett Avenue, a project at 1507 Bennett Avenue — a block from Garrett Park where the Knox/Henderson neighborhood meets Lower Greenville — that is expected to break ground in March or April.
It will consist of 15 townhomes with three main layouts,” Nova said. “All plans are 3 bedrooms/3.5 bath and elevator capable.”