There’s always something changing in Oak Lawn — such as development firm Harwood International announcing a 20-story hotel just as they’re finishing off a 22-story office tower, along with the Dallas City Plan Commission putting its collective foot down on the endless delays over an affordable housing policy. That’s in addition to some new details on The Union mixed-use project in Victory Park, but more on that later.
We’ll start with Alliance Residential Company’s Knox-Henderson neighborhood multifamily project. When we last visited, the Oak Lawn Committee was very much against it. Alliance proposed a massive half-block multifamily structure in a mostly single-family residential area that would include several stories of above-ground parking. Months of negotiations and several important compromises turned the project around — heck, the Oak Lawn Committee has now voted in support of the development.
Sue Krider, the committee’s city hall liaison, told the Plan Commission at an April session that Alliance was very sensitive in addressing their concerns, agreeing to put all parking underground. The developers stepped down the height of the building, so that it now slopes from seven stories and 85 feet high at Armstrong Avenue to five, four and even three stories as it goes from the center of the lot to the street, and to the south end of the block. From the roof levels, the building has a T-shape that descends on three sides. You can see the building’s partial geometry and tiered setbacks in the above rendering and illustrated plan below:
Krider also noted that Alliance was very respectful of the streetscape by agreeing to preserve a row of large shady live oaks, enhancing the streetscape’s wide sidewalks, and providing three courtyards that are not fenced and open to public view.
Alliance vice president Nick Wilhelmson added that the company had agreed to limit coverage on the 2.2-acre site to 60 percent, though many developers are trying to get 80 percent. Alliance took the unusual additional step of guaranteeing that 10 percent of the project’s 335 units would be reserved as affordable housing, with the developer to accept government program Housing Choice Vouchers. There are presently only a few neighborhoods in Dallas where the city offers housing density incentives to developers in exchange for affordable housing and Knox-Henderson isn’t one.
A few residents opposed the project for its sheer mass, but Alliance had the support of a vast majority of the neighborhood. This should have been a slam dunk to pass, but city staff took the odd step of asking for a delay because the Housing Authority wanted to review the terms of the affordable housing component. That led to a long-winded debate among the commissioners about how the city had dithered for years over creating a more expansive policy on developer incentives for affordable housing.
The commission refused to grant further delay. They expressly stated they were sending a message to City Council by way of using this project as a poke in the side, recommending in favor of Alliance. Commissioner Paul Ridley said it best:
“Walkable neighborhoods, everybody seems to want them. But they aren’t created in a vacuum. Knox has long been a retail center, but it is just now becoming truly walkable. This project will add to that density, which makes possible a truly walkable urban district.”
— Paul Ridley, Dallas City Plan Commission
The case is pending on City Council’s May 23 agenda.
Harwood District — But Not Harwood Historic District!
Harwood District, the master-planned section of Uptown controlled by Harwood International, will be getting a new hotel project soon. The district, not to be confused with the Harwood Historic District on the southeast end of downtown, is an 18-block rectangle using Harwood Street as its spine, and stretches from Olive Street to Reverchon Park. Harwood International’s notable developments include Bleu Ciel and the Rolex Building (also known as Harwood No. 8).
In 2016, Harwood broke ground on Harwood No. 10 at 2850 North Harwood Street, a 22-story office tower that is scheduled to open this fall. Now comes news of a hotel that will be constructed three blocks southeast of Harwood No. 10.
According to an April state filing by its architect, HDF, the Harwood No. 12 building is anticipated to break ground in June. It’s described as a “20-story hotel comprised of two split levels for entry and lobby, four levels of above-ground parking, 14 levels of hotel and amenity space, and a roof level.”
The site is presently a surface parking lot at the southwest corner of McKinnon and Moody Streets. Its assigned project address is 2012 Moody Street. HDF estimates the tower will be completed by June 2020. The estimated project cost is $50 million, about $5 million more than was estimated for Harwood No. 10.
The Union Dallas Chugs Forward
As for The Union — yes, somehow this project too is in the Oak Lawn district — RED Development paid a visit to the Plan Commission to get a regulation amendment for new signage on this much anticipated 22-story Union mixed-use tower that topped out in February. Here’s the stats for the building:
- 800,000 square feet total
- 420,000 square feet office space
- 309 apartment units by StreetLights Residential
- 8th Floor tenant deck (green roof)
- 60,000-square-foot Tom Thumb grocery store with Starbucks
This project has gestated for some time. First announced in 2014, RED Development predicted completion by 2017, but is now looking at a September grand opening. While applying the finishing touches, the developer showed its exterior designs and signage for the Tom Thumb grocery to the commission:
Check out a virtual tour of the project here.