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  #261  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2005, 5:54 PM
Owlhorn Owlhorn is offline
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Bank One conversion in downtown Fort Worth courtesy of John R




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  #262  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2005, 5:54 PM
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Bank One conversion in downtown Fort Worth courtesy of John R




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  #263  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2005, 10:02 PM
hunter wadle hunter wadle is offline
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GREAT SCOTT! That is a large update thank you for the pictures and renderings....good work Owlhorn!
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  #264  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2005, 10:02 PM
hunter wadle hunter wadle is offline
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GREAT SCOTT! That is a large update thank you for the pictures and renderings....good work Owlhorn!
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  #265  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 6:24 AM
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Council approves Arts District expansion
Dallas council also approves blueprint for Trinity corridor project
11:08 PM CST on Wednesday, March 9, 2005
By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcon...ncil.49a6c.html

Dallas City Council members unanimously approved two land-use projects Wednesday: an expansion of the city's Arts District and a blueprint for developing the Trinity River corridor. The agreement to widen the Arts District boundaries ended eight months of negotiations over the zoning change. And while one property owner in the expansion area spoke against lengthening the district, the others – including developer Lucy Crow Billingsley, who owns 10 acres on the edge of the district and originally opposed the change – said they generally favor it. "Great things are coming to the Arts District," said Ms. Billingsley, daughter of real estate magnate Trammell Crow. "We are excited because downtown is coming to a revitalization. We believe that a great future lies immediately before us."

As a result of Wednesday's vote, the Arts District – which is now bounded by Ross Avenue, Woodall Rodgers Freeway and St. Paul and Routh streets – will be extended four blocks northeast to Central Expressway. The unpaved weed-choked lots and rundown gas stations in the expansion area will eventually be subject to the same standards as their elegant Arts District neighbors. That will include design guidelines along Flora Street and some landscaping and parking requirements. "More than $500 million worth of public/private investment is being made in the Arts District," council member Veletta Forsythe Lill said. "It is incumbent on the public to protect that investment, to advance that investment. The Arts District belongs to all of us."

But John Leedom, CEO of Wholesale Electronics Supply and a former state senator said Wednesday that he doesn't want to belong to the Arts District. The former City Council member said he lost a multimillion-dollar contract on his property because of the zoning change. And he said the city is violating the Texas Constitution, which states that "no person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for any special public use without proper compensation to persons." "There are many vacant lots" inside the Arts District, he said. "There's no justification. It will not add anything to the district."

Cultural centers

Conceived in 1977, the Dallas Arts District houses the city's most prominent cultural centers, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Garden and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Construction on the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled to begin in late 2006, said Bill Lively, president of the center's foundation. "This is going to complete a 25-year dream of the district as it is now defined," Mr. Lively said. "The extension beyond Routh will be very positive for the district." Also Wednesday, council members adopted a long-awaited land-use plan for the Trinity River corridor, directing the city staff to to enforce design and zoning standards along the waterfront.

"It's been a long road. ... It's not something we just thought up overnight," council member Steve Salazar said. "This is a really huge effort on the part of the city of Dallas to make sure whatever developments do come to the bottomlands, that there are standards [that must be] followed." Under the proposal, crafted after meetings with property owners along the 20-mile Trinity corridor, Dallas' central business district would be extended across the river, bringing office towers onto the west bank. Warehouse space along Irving Boulevard would be turned into a residential and commercial strip. And heavy industry close to downtown would be moved north into the Elm Fork area and south into the McCommas Bluff area.

Much of the waterway north of downtown and in the Trinity Forest area would remain in its natural state. In parts of West Dallas, Oak Cliff and southern Dallas, communities of single-family homes would be preserved. "The process is absolutely necessary for people to really begin to understand we are serious about this project," council member Ed Oakley said. "If we've got an opportunity to develop an alley, we need to have the ability to develop a uniform look." Council member Sandy Greyson said Wednesday that she was concerned zoning changes and design standards would be implemented on a case-by-case basis, leading to inconsistency along the Trinity corridor. "It concerns me that ... as we so often tend to do, we would give people what they want without taking into consideration that we have an overall, overarching plan," Ms. Greyson said.

'Wall of buildings' feared

Ms. Greyson also said she fears a "wall of buildings" and large signs will crop up along the waterfront, blocking scenic views. "I want to make sure we address that before people come in and start building," she said. The land-use plan includes a provision to preserve "view corridors," Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan said. But she said the city will have to work with consultants to determine design standards for signs along the river. "I don't think anyone wants a whole sea of billboards along the corridor," she said. Under the plan, existing industrial and commercial businesses along the downtown corridor would be "grandfathered" – allowed to operate until the property changes hands, Mr. Oakley said. Then they would be phased out with zoning changes and replaced with urban retailers and loft living.

"Residential is coming, office is coming, retail is coming," Mr. Oakley said. "And somewhere down the road ... [industrial businesses] may need to consider that whatever their facility is needs to be in a different location." In other Trinity River news, council members authorized a 20-year agreement Wednesday with the National Audubon Society to manage the Trinity Interpretive Center, a riverfront nature center.

E-mail eramshaw@dallasnews.com
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  #266  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 6:24 AM
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Council approves Arts District expansion
Dallas council also approves blueprint for Trinity corridor project
11:08 PM CST on Wednesday, March 9, 2005
By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcon...ncil.49a6c.html

Dallas City Council members unanimously approved two land-use projects Wednesday: an expansion of the city's Arts District and a blueprint for developing the Trinity River corridor. The agreement to widen the Arts District boundaries ended eight months of negotiations over the zoning change. And while one property owner in the expansion area spoke against lengthening the district, the others – including developer Lucy Crow Billingsley, who owns 10 acres on the edge of the district and originally opposed the change – said they generally favor it. "Great things are coming to the Arts District," said Ms. Billingsley, daughter of real estate magnate Trammell Crow. "We are excited because downtown is coming to a revitalization. We believe that a great future lies immediately before us."

As a result of Wednesday's vote, the Arts District – which is now bounded by Ross Avenue, Woodall Rodgers Freeway and St. Paul and Routh streets – will be extended four blocks northeast to Central Expressway. The unpaved weed-choked lots and rundown gas stations in the expansion area will eventually be subject to the same standards as their elegant Arts District neighbors. That will include design guidelines along Flora Street and some landscaping and parking requirements. "More than $500 million worth of public/private investment is being made in the Arts District," council member Veletta Forsythe Lill said. "It is incumbent on the public to protect that investment, to advance that investment. The Arts District belongs to all of us."

But John Leedom, CEO of Wholesale Electronics Supply and a former state senator said Wednesday that he doesn't want to belong to the Arts District. The former City Council member said he lost a multimillion-dollar contract on his property because of the zoning change. And he said the city is violating the Texas Constitution, which states that "no person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for any special public use without proper compensation to persons." "There are many vacant lots" inside the Arts District, he said. "There's no justification. It will not add anything to the district."

Cultural centers

Conceived in 1977, the Dallas Arts District houses the city's most prominent cultural centers, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Garden and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Construction on the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled to begin in late 2006, said Bill Lively, president of the center's foundation. "This is going to complete a 25-year dream of the district as it is now defined," Mr. Lively said. "The extension beyond Routh will be very positive for the district." Also Wednesday, council members adopted a long-awaited land-use plan for the Trinity River corridor, directing the city staff to to enforce design and zoning standards along the waterfront.

"It's been a long road. ... It's not something we just thought up overnight," council member Steve Salazar said. "This is a really huge effort on the part of the city of Dallas to make sure whatever developments do come to the bottomlands, that there are standards [that must be] followed." Under the proposal, crafted after meetings with property owners along the 20-mile Trinity corridor, Dallas' central business district would be extended across the river, bringing office towers onto the west bank. Warehouse space along Irving Boulevard would be turned into a residential and commercial strip. And heavy industry close to downtown would be moved north into the Elm Fork area and south into the McCommas Bluff area.

Much of the waterway north of downtown and in the Trinity Forest area would remain in its natural state. In parts of West Dallas, Oak Cliff and southern Dallas, communities of single-family homes would be preserved. "The process is absolutely necessary for people to really begin to understand we are serious about this project," council member Ed Oakley said. "If we've got an opportunity to develop an alley, we need to have the ability to develop a uniform look." Council member Sandy Greyson said Wednesday that she was concerned zoning changes and design standards would be implemented on a case-by-case basis, leading to inconsistency along the Trinity corridor. "It concerns me that ... as we so often tend to do, we would give people what they want without taking into consideration that we have an overall, overarching plan," Ms. Greyson said.

'Wall of buildings' feared

Ms. Greyson also said she fears a "wall of buildings" and large signs will crop up along the waterfront, blocking scenic views. "I want to make sure we address that before people come in and start building," she said. The land-use plan includes a provision to preserve "view corridors," Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan said. But she said the city will have to work with consultants to determine design standards for signs along the river. "I don't think anyone wants a whole sea of billboards along the corridor," she said. Under the plan, existing industrial and commercial businesses along the downtown corridor would be "grandfathered" – allowed to operate until the property changes hands, Mr. Oakley said. Then they would be phased out with zoning changes and replaced with urban retailers and loft living.

"Residential is coming, office is coming, retail is coming," Mr. Oakley said. "And somewhere down the road ... [industrial businesses] may need to consider that whatever their facility is needs to be in a different location." In other Trinity River news, council members authorized a 20-year agreement Wednesday with the National Audubon Society to manage the Trinity Interpretive Center, a riverfront nature center.

E-mail eramshaw@dallasnews.com
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  #267  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 7:42 AM
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Turtle Creek area landmark to get redo
Maple Terrace apartments will go condo and add units
11:46 PM CST on Wednesday, March 9, 2005
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcon...race.7365f.html

The Trammell Crow Co. said Wednesday that it's working with owners of the historic Maple Terrace apartments near Turtle Creek to convert the building to condominiums. The Maple Terrace apartments were built in 1925. 'We will put it back to its grandeur,' said developer Art Lomenick. The project includes remodeling the 1925 landmark and building a condo tower. "We are in a redevelopment venture to save the old building and grounds," said Art Lomenick, a managing director for Crow Co. subsidiary High Street Residential. Crow formed High Street Residential three years ago to build residential and mixed-use projects in markets around the country. The Maple Terrace redo is its first high-profile project in North Texas.

High Street Residential and Maple Terrace's owners are seeking city approval this week to renovate the old apartment building. "We will put it back to its grandeur in the 1920s and 1930s," Mr. Lomenick said Wednesday. Developers said it was too early to announce prices, the number of condominiums or a start date for the project. The residents in the building aren't being asked to move out yet and will be offered a chance to buy the units. The seven-story Mediterranean-style building at Maple Avenue and Wolf Street was designed by British architect Sir Alfred Bossom, who was also responsible for Dallas' landmark Magnolia Building. The building cost $1 million to build and was laid out with more than 300 rooms that could be configured into various-size apartments.

Plans to redevelop Maple Terrace have been in the works for several years. In 2000, developer Frank Aldridge and David Corrigan, whose family has owned the building since the 1940s, announced plans to convert Maple Terrace into a luxury hotel. But with the recession in the hotel market, that project never got off the ground. Mr. Aldridge and Mr. Corrigan are working with High Street Residential on the latest redevelopment proposal. The city of Dallas' planning department has recommended approval of the project.

"We are going to build the new building in a complementary style," Mr. Lomenick said. "We are in the design process, and marketing will kick off in a couple of months." Across the street from the Maple Terrace, the owners of the 82-year-old Stoneleigh Hotel are working on a similar plan. Prescott Realty Group of Dallas is working with the Stoneleigh's New York owners to remodel the hotel and build a condominium high-rise.

E-mail stevebrown@dallasnews.com



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  #268  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 7:42 AM
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Turtle Creek area landmark to get redo
Maple Terrace apartments will go condo and add units
11:46 PM CST on Wednesday, March 9, 2005
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcon...race.7365f.html

The Trammell Crow Co. said Wednesday that it's working with owners of the historic Maple Terrace apartments near Turtle Creek to convert the building to condominiums. The Maple Terrace apartments were built in 1925. 'We will put it back to its grandeur,' said developer Art Lomenick. The project includes remodeling the 1925 landmark and building a condo tower. "We are in a redevelopment venture to save the old building and grounds," said Art Lomenick, a managing director for Crow Co. subsidiary High Street Residential. Crow formed High Street Residential three years ago to build residential and mixed-use projects in markets around the country. The Maple Terrace redo is its first high-profile project in North Texas.

High Street Residential and Maple Terrace's owners are seeking city approval this week to renovate the old apartment building. "We will put it back to its grandeur in the 1920s and 1930s," Mr. Lomenick said Wednesday. Developers said it was too early to announce prices, the number of condominiums or a start date for the project. The residents in the building aren't being asked to move out yet and will be offered a chance to buy the units. The seven-story Mediterranean-style building at Maple Avenue and Wolf Street was designed by British architect Sir Alfred Bossom, who was also responsible for Dallas' landmark Magnolia Building. The building cost $1 million to build and was laid out with more than 300 rooms that could be configured into various-size apartments.

Plans to redevelop Maple Terrace have been in the works for several years. In 2000, developer Frank Aldridge and David Corrigan, whose family has owned the building since the 1940s, announced plans to convert Maple Terrace into a luxury hotel. But with the recession in the hotel market, that project never got off the ground. Mr. Aldridge and Mr. Corrigan are working with High Street Residential on the latest redevelopment proposal. The city of Dallas' planning department has recommended approval of the project.

"We are going to build the new building in a complementary style," Mr. Lomenick said. "We are in the design process, and marketing will kick off in a couple of months." Across the street from the Maple Terrace, the owners of the 82-year-old Stoneleigh Hotel are working on a similar plan. Prescott Realty Group of Dallas is working with the Stoneleigh's New York owners to remodel the hotel and build a condominium high-rise.

E-mail stevebrown@dallasnews.com



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  #269  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 8:35 AM
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apparently this place has broken ground

GlobeSt.com EXCLUSIVE: Condo Developer Steps Up Construction
By Connie Gore - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 08:15pm
http://www.globest.com/news/116_116...s/126492-1.html

DALLAS-A Dallas developer, playing to a niche condo market, is readying a site to go vertical on a "for sale" development on the Uptown-Highland Park border. The $25-million Drexel Highlander is moving ahead just as one project wraps up and plans start flying for a first quarter 2005 groundbreaking for a third condo development on yet another infill tract.

Robert Dale, principal of Drexel Development Co., says the Highlander's walls will start going up in 30 days. Pre-sales begin in January 2005, with delivery penciled for the fourth quarter on a nine-story, 48-unit building positioned on about three-fourths of an acre at the hard corner of Prescott Drive and Oak Lawn Avenue. "There have been a lot of inquiries because it's a premier location," Dale says.

Designed by Smith & Ekblad of Dallas, the Highlander is 18 units larger than the developer's first "for sale" product, the Drexel Montane at 2885 Woodside St. in Uptown, but will be the middle child when ground breaks on the first phase to an estimated $50-million development with 100 condos at build-out. Dale says the land's under control, but it's not closed so he's not ready to say if it's Downtown or North Dallas, both locations on the developer's "to do" list.

Meanwhile, work is wrapping up on the $12-million Montane, where keys will be ready to turn within 30 days. The Montane's units, of which 11 have been sold, range from 1,400 sf to 2,550 sf and are tagged for sale at $350,000 to $725,000. In comparison, the Highlander's units range from 2,000 sf to 3,500 sf, with prices of $550,000 to $1.4 million.

"We think the market is very strong for 'for sale' product," says Dale, whose firm has built two rental properties in Uptown. "Our intent is to take this product type and continue to develop it." And, he says, that means going beyond the Dallas city limits. Dale and principal Robert Edelman are eyeing "three or four" sites in Mid-Cities and Fort Worth. They've also looked at Houston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK. Dale says it could be "a year or two" before the show goes on the road, but it will happen.

The Drexel team believes the design's success is mortared by an electronic access, quarter-size device that ensures privacy and security from private parking areas to direct-entry elevators--incorporated into rental and condo product alike. The devices can be programmed for certain hours to allow access for services like housekeepers, but block the locks when the time's up. Should an employee or service be tendered, the device is rendered useless. "No one else in Dallas has anything like this," Dale says.



looks like its State-Thomas brethren, the Drexel Montane
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  #270  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 8:35 AM
Owlhorn Owlhorn is offline
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apparently this place has broken ground

GlobeSt.com EXCLUSIVE: Condo Developer Steps Up Construction
By Connie Gore - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 08:15pm
http://www.globest.com/news/116_116...s/126492-1.html

DALLAS-A Dallas developer, playing to a niche condo market, is readying a site to go vertical on a "for sale" development on the Uptown-Highland Park border. The $25-million Drexel Highlander is moving ahead just as one project wraps up and plans start flying for a first quarter 2005 groundbreaking for a third condo development on yet another infill tract.

Robert Dale, principal of Drexel Development Co., says the Highlander's walls will start going up in 30 days. Pre-sales begin in January 2005, with delivery penciled for the fourth quarter on a nine-story, 48-unit building positioned on about three-fourths of an acre at the hard corner of Prescott Drive and Oak Lawn Avenue. "There have been a lot of inquiries because it's a premier location," Dale says.

Designed by Smith & Ekblad of Dallas, the Highlander is 18 units larger than the developer's first "for sale" product, the Drexel Montane at 2885 Woodside St. in Uptown, but will be the middle child when ground breaks on the first phase to an estimated $50-million development with 100 condos at build-out. Dale says the land's under control, but it's not closed so he's not ready to say if it's Downtown or North Dallas, both locations on the developer's "to do" list.

Meanwhile, work is wrapping up on the $12-million Montane, where keys will be ready to turn within 30 days. The Montane's units, of which 11 have been sold, range from 1,400 sf to 2,550 sf and are tagged for sale at $350,000 to $725,000. In comparison, the Highlander's units range from 2,000 sf to 3,500 sf, with prices of $550,000 to $1.4 million.

"We think the market is very strong for 'for sale' product," says Dale, whose firm has built two rental properties in Uptown. "Our intent is to take this product type and continue to develop it." And, he says, that means going beyond the Dallas city limits. Dale and principal Robert Edelman are eyeing "three or four" sites in Mid-Cities and Fort Worth. They've also looked at Houston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK. Dale says it could be "a year or two" before the show goes on the road, but it will happen.

The Drexel team believes the design's success is mortared by an electronic access, quarter-size device that ensures privacy and security from private parking areas to direct-entry elevators--incorporated into rental and condo product alike. The devices can be programmed for certain hours to allow access for services like housekeepers, but block the locks when the time's up. Should an employee or service be tendered, the device is rendered useless. "No one else in Dallas has anything like this," Dale says.



looks like its State-Thomas brethren, the Drexel Montane
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  #271  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 9:17 AM
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Spectacular new urbanist project at Big Town site in Mesquite shot down

Finally.

Advertisement
For more than four decades, the Big Town Mall area on the western edge of Mesquite has been on the decline.

After decades of dormancy, the city recently received two proposals for redevelopment of the Big Town area from the same developer, Spence Albert.

Albert is no stranger to Mesquite as he is responsible for the Falcon's Lair North and South projects.

In fact, the project that will more than likely be presented in a public hearing before the city council on Monday calls for the demolition and subsequent environmental clean-up of Big Town Mall.

The mall site, the convention center, the farmer's market area -- all gone under the demolition proposal.

"We have a zoning application for a business park," said City of Mesquite Economic Development Director Tom Palmer. "The Big Town Task Force is recommending establishment of a TIF [Tax Increment Finance] zone for $5 million.

"There has been discussion that the TIF would stay in place for a number of years to help cash flow property development should it occur."

Originally, Albert presented something more grandiose for the area.

The Villages of Big Town was an ultra-trendy, West Village-style, new urbanism type of development similar to those found in Southlake, Frisco, Plano or Mockingbird Station in Dallas.

It also featured the complete leveling of Big Town in its present state -- replacing it with a combination retail/residential development with streetscape infrastructure and even a club overlay district.

And, the TIF district that would have been created with the project was a proposed 30 years -- generating $100 million.

City Councilor David Paschall voiced a number of concerns with the Villages concept at the Dec. 6 council meeting -- including the creation of a TIF with such a large commitment.

"I can't stand corporate welfare," he said this week. "I believe a project should be able to live on its own. Those TIF monies are revenues that would be going to the general fund and as our budgets get tighter, it's hard to justify taking money from the taxpayers and giving it to someone else."

Another concern Paschall noted at the council meeting was that the Villages of Big Town concept was an apartment project -- and that it would have been eight times larger than any other apartment project in the city of Mesquite, he said.

"One of the messages I have received from the people of my district is, 'No more apartments,'" he said. "And, this would be the biggest TIF with the longest lifespan we would have ever put together."

As it turned out, with the Villages concept apparently going by the wayside, the business park proposal fulfill two important purposes for the city.

First of all, Paschall agreed that a commercial or industrial development would be more consistent with the development that has occurred in adjacent areas to Big Town -- such as the Unilever distribution center.

And, the recently adopted development guide recommends commercial projects for the Big Town area.

Secondly, the business park concept could provide much-needed land for industrial and commercial prospects.

Palmer said the city is rapidly running out of industrially conducive land and the Big Town business park concept will fill that void.

"The business park concept would present some quality standards that could serve as a front door to the community," Palmer said. "It would have nice entry features and a retail component could be built in.

"The Big Town name still carries some nostalgic market value. It is down right now, but it could be something that could perhaps be rekindled."







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  #272  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 9:17 AM
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Spectacular new urbanist project at Big Town site in Mesquite shot down

Finally.

Advertisement
For more than four decades, the Big Town Mall area on the western edge of Mesquite has been on the decline.

After decades of dormancy, the city recently received two proposals for redevelopment of the Big Town area from the same developer, Spence Albert.

Albert is no stranger to Mesquite as he is responsible for the Falcon's Lair North and South projects.

In fact, the project that will more than likely be presented in a public hearing before the city council on Monday calls for the demolition and subsequent environmental clean-up of Big Town Mall.

The mall site, the convention center, the farmer's market area -- all gone under the demolition proposal.

"We have a zoning application for a business park," said City of Mesquite Economic Development Director Tom Palmer. "The Big Town Task Force is recommending establishment of a TIF [Tax Increment Finance] zone for $5 million.

"There has been discussion that the TIF would stay in place for a number of years to help cash flow property development should it occur."

Originally, Albert presented something more grandiose for the area.

The Villages of Big Town was an ultra-trendy, West Village-style, new urbanism type of development similar to those found in Southlake, Frisco, Plano or Mockingbird Station in Dallas.

It also featured the complete leveling of Big Town in its present state -- replacing it with a combination retail/residential development with streetscape infrastructure and even a club overlay district.

And, the TIF district that would have been created with the project was a proposed 30 years -- generating $100 million.

City Councilor David Paschall voiced a number of concerns with the Villages concept at the Dec. 6 council meeting -- including the creation of a TIF with such a large commitment.

"I can't stand corporate welfare," he said this week. "I believe a project should be able to live on its own. Those TIF monies are revenues that would be going to the general fund and as our budgets get tighter, it's hard to justify taking money from the taxpayers and giving it to someone else."

Another concern Paschall noted at the council meeting was that the Villages of Big Town concept was an apartment project -- and that it would have been eight times larger than any other apartment project in the city of Mesquite, he said.

"One of the messages I have received from the people of my district is, 'No more apartments,'" he said. "And, this would be the biggest TIF with the longest lifespan we would have ever put together."

As it turned out, with the Villages concept apparently going by the wayside, the business park proposal fulfill two important purposes for the city.

First of all, Paschall agreed that a commercial or industrial development would be more consistent with the development that has occurred in adjacent areas to Big Town -- such as the Unilever distribution center.

And, the recently adopted development guide recommends commercial projects for the Big Town area.

Secondly, the business park concept could provide much-needed land for industrial and commercial prospects.

Palmer said the city is rapidly running out of industrially conducive land and the Big Town business park concept will fill that void.

"The business park concept would present some quality standards that could serve as a front door to the community," Palmer said. "It would have nice entry features and a retail component could be built in.

"The Big Town name still carries some nostalgic market value. It is down right now, but it could be something that could perhaps be rekindled."







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  #273  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 11:57 PM
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W Hotel as of 3/10


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  #274  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2005, 11:57 PM
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W Hotel as of 3/10


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  #275  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2005, 3:13 AM
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Wow. These are some pretty impressive plans for the big D! Me likes.
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  #276  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2005, 3:13 AM
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Wow. These are some pretty impressive plans for the big D! Me likes.
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  #277  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2005, 6:02 PM
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Funds for Trinity bridges approved

Transportation bill includes $76 million for I-30, I-35E spans


07:10 AM CST on Friday, March 11, 2005


By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News



The U.S. House passed a $284 billion transportation bill Thursday that includes every dollar Dallas officials requested for two new bridges spanning the Trinity River.

The U.S. Senate and House must still arrive at a final version, and President Bush must sign that six-year spending plan, which has been stalled for 18 months. But congressional leaders said Thursday that they are confident that will happen well before the current bill expires May 31.

The $76 million allocated for Trinity bridges isn't guaranteed, if only because "a chicken doesn't crow until the egg hatches," said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas. "But I'm very, very hopeful we get this done, and quickly. It looks good."

The future of Dallas' Trinity River project depends on three bridges – sweeping structures designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The first, a Woodall Rodgers freeway extension bridge that will be named for philanthropist Margaret Hunt Hill, is already fully financed.

If the House version of the transportation bill is adopted, it will help fund construction of the Interstate 30 bridge and Interstate 35E bridge, as well as two highway interchanges on Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway.

"I am beyond ecstatic, and I attribute every penny to Pete Sessions and Eddie Bernice Johnson," Mayor Laura Miller said of the representatives. "This was the big hurdle. The heavy lifting has been done, and it was done by two people."

The most recent transportation bill, which expired at the end of 2003, has been kept alive with three short-term extensions. The White House has threatened to veto the reauthorization bill if it exceeds $284 billion.

In the House bill that passed Thursday, Ms. Johnson, D-Dallas, earmarked $25 million for the I-30 bridge and $15 million for the I-35E bridge. Mr. Sessions allocated $34 million for the I-30 bridge, and U.S. Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, and Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, each allocated $1 million. This represents the full funding the city requested for the bridges.

"We have a huge debt of gratitude to our congressional delegation, Eddie Bernice Johnson and Pete Sessions, and all of their leadership," said City Council member Ed Oakley, who will be in Washington with the mayor Wednesday to discuss appropriations for the Trinity River Project. "Now, all our eyes will be focused on the Senate and the White House."Mr. Sessions said: "Make no mistake about it. The money we are awarded is thanks to a lot of bipartisan work."

If the House version is approved, the $76 million for the Trinity bridges will be coupled with dollars from the Texas Department of Transportation to finance construction, said Rebecca Dugger, director of the Trinity River Project.

"We're happy; we're excited," she said. "We've still got some work to do. But we're one step closer to getting [design] done and breaking ground."


Staff writer Dave Levinthal contributed to this report.

E-mail eramshaw@dallasnews.com
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  #278  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2005, 6:02 PM
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Funds for Trinity bridges approved

Transportation bill includes $76 million for I-30, I-35E spans


07:10 AM CST on Friday, March 11, 2005


By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News



The U.S. House passed a $284 billion transportation bill Thursday that includes every dollar Dallas officials requested for two new bridges spanning the Trinity River.

The U.S. Senate and House must still arrive at a final version, and President Bush must sign that six-year spending plan, which has been stalled for 18 months. But congressional leaders said Thursday that they are confident that will happen well before the current bill expires May 31.

The $76 million allocated for Trinity bridges isn't guaranteed, if only because "a chicken doesn't crow until the egg hatches," said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas. "But I'm very, very hopeful we get this done, and quickly. It looks good."

The future of Dallas' Trinity River project depends on three bridges – sweeping structures designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The first, a Woodall Rodgers freeway extension bridge that will be named for philanthropist Margaret Hunt Hill, is already fully financed.

If the House version of the transportation bill is adopted, it will help fund construction of the Interstate 30 bridge and Interstate 35E bridge, as well as two highway interchanges on Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway.

"I am beyond ecstatic, and I attribute every penny to Pete Sessions and Eddie Bernice Johnson," Mayor Laura Miller said of the representatives. "This was the big hurdle. The heavy lifting has been done, and it was done by two people."

The most recent transportation bill, which expired at the end of 2003, has been kept alive with three short-term extensions. The White House has threatened to veto the reauthorization bill if it exceeds $284 billion.

In the House bill that passed Thursday, Ms. Johnson, D-Dallas, earmarked $25 million for the I-30 bridge and $15 million for the I-35E bridge. Mr. Sessions allocated $34 million for the I-30 bridge, and U.S. Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, and Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, each allocated $1 million. This represents the full funding the city requested for the bridges.

"We have a huge debt of gratitude to our congressional delegation, Eddie Bernice Johnson and Pete Sessions, and all of their leadership," said City Council member Ed Oakley, who will be in Washington with the mayor Wednesday to discuss appropriations for the Trinity River Project. "Now, all our eyes will be focused on the Senate and the White House."Mr. Sessions said: "Make no mistake about it. The money we are awarded is thanks to a lot of bipartisan work."

If the House version is approved, the $76 million for the Trinity bridges will be coupled with dollars from the Texas Department of Transportation to finance construction, said Rebecca Dugger, director of the Trinity River Project.

"We're happy; we're excited," she said. "We've still got some work to do. But we're one step closer to getting [design] done and breaking ground."


Staff writer Dave Levinthal contributed to this report.

E-mail eramshaw@dallasnews.com
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  #279  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2005, 6:06 PM
Owlhorn Owlhorn is offline
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Deal in place for downtown hotel

By Anna M. Tinsley
Star-Telegram Staff Writer


FORT WORTH - After months of negotiations, city leaders say they've hammered out the final details for Omni Hotels to build a 600-room luxury hotel downtown -- and construction could start by the end of the year.

For more than seven months, the city and Omni have been negotiating over a privately owned, Texas-themed hotel across from the Fort Worth Convention Center. The plan includes nearly $50 million in public money. The overall cost is projected to be more than $90 million.

"This is going to light up the south end of downtown," Mayor Mike Moncrief said. "It will provide more opportunities to attract larger conventions.

"There are some city incentives, but this will be a privately built hotel," he said. "The city is not getting into the hotel business, nor should it."

The final proposal -- which includes an underground garage and possibly condominiums on top of the hotel -- will be presented publicly during a City Council meeting March 24.

Council members could vote on the deal by March 29, and if they approve, Omni could break ground by the end of the year, officials said.

The plan calls for about $48.5 million in tax rebates and refunds from the city, county and state and $6 million for a city-built, 400-space parking garage.

"We are coming to Fort Worth because we believe it's a great American city and a place we want to do business," said Scott Johnson, Omni's vice president for acquisitions and development. "We're ecstatic about the progress we've made.

"It has been a long road, and we are anxious to kick this project off."

In the works for more than two years, this plan differs from one in 2002 that called for the city to build a hotel with taxpayer money. Public outrage and a petition drive to force the issue before voters quelled that plan.

City leaders say this version is better because the bulk of the public funds would come from hotel and sales taxes generated by the hotel.

Johnson said that it could take about two years to build the hotel -- of "four-diamond" quality -- and that it could open in late 2007 or early 2008.

Omni plans to build a 15-to 21-story hotel, with 48,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, a pool and an exercise facility on two blocks of city-owned land west of the convention center.

Omni would lease the site from the city for $10,000 a year for 99 years and could buy the land for $1 million after 10 years. It could sell the hotel after three years of operation, with city approval.

"This hotel is so important for the convention and tourism industry in Fort Worth," said Kirk Slaughter, the city's public events director. "It will really help attract business to the community.

"It is going to be a great addition to Fort Worth."

Public funding

Under the plan, city officials say Omni would receive:

• $29.8 million in city rebates and funding, mainly through hotel and sales taxes collected at the hotel over 10 years. This includes $6 million for a 400-space garage to go under the hotel and be paid for with reserve funds. Previous plans called for an above-ground garage that would have been shared by the city and Omni.

• $16.9 million in state rebates from hotel and sales taxes generated by the hotel in its first 10 years.

• $1.8 million in refunded county property taxes generated by the hotel in its first 10 years. No school taxes would be used.

• A 10-year catering contract for convention center events.

In return, Omni would be required to award a portion of its contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses and a share of new jobs to Fort Worth residents. As much as 80 percent of the hotel rooms could be set aside for future conventions.

Johnson said a decision on whether to include condos at the top of the hotel will be made in coming months.

"We're doing our due diligence on that now, studying the market," Johnson said. "We believe that condominiums on top of our hotel would be a great addition. Now we need to figure out if there's a market for it."

Assistant City Manager Joe Paniagua said any condos would add to the total $90 million cost and would not receive a tax abatement from the city.

City officials have long said a hotel is needed because, despite a $75 million renovation of the convention center, Fort Worth is losing convention business to other cities.

"We have everything the people of Texas, United States and around the world would want to come and see," Councilman Jim Lane said. "We upgraded the convention center, and now we need a convention center hotel.

"There are good hotels downtown, but not one really dedicated to the convention business," he said. "This hotel will be a great amenity for Fort Worth."

Hurting other hotels?

Not everyone is convinced.

Stan Kennedy, vice president and general manager for the Radisson Plaza Hotel, said he's concerned that a convention center hotel could strip business from other downtown hotels.

"Our concern is, can the existing market take on additional supply without increased demand?" he said. "Short-term, this is going to have a negative effect on all the hotels here.

"It's our hope that long-term, we can fill in with new business."

Omni officials said they believe such fears are unfounded.

"We don't feel that we're going to be picking off business from the current market," said Robert Rowling, owner of TRT Holdings, Omni's parent company. "Whatever we take away, we hope would be more than made up from new business brought to town."

Steve Hollern, a vocal opponent to the 2002 plan, served on a blue-ribbon committee that reviewed the proposal. He maintained through the process that a privately financed hotel would be best.

"I think this is far superior to the plan on the table two years ago," he said. "I still have a nagging worry that if we don't grow the room nights, it could hurt other hotels.

"I hope my concerns are not well-founded," Hollern said. "I hope we get the tourism we're shooting for. It's a necessary thing that we go forward on this."

Paniagua said the past few months have been spent negotiating the finer points of the deal.

But it was time well spent, Paniagua said, because he believes that this is a good deal for the city.

"If the hotel has a rough year, the city still doesn't put any additional money into it," he said. "We don't bear any of the financial risk."

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  #280  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2005, 6:06 PM
Owlhorn Owlhorn is offline
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Deal in place for downtown hotel

By Anna M. Tinsley
Star-Telegram Staff Writer


FORT WORTH - After months of negotiations, city leaders say they've hammered out the final details for Omni Hotels to build a 600-room luxury hotel downtown -- and construction could start by the end of the year.

For more than seven months, the city and Omni have been negotiating over a privately owned, Texas-themed hotel across from the Fort Worth Convention Center. The plan includes nearly $50 million in public money. The overall cost is projected to be more than $90 million.

"This is going to light up the south end of downtown," Mayor Mike Moncrief said. "It will provide more opportunities to attract larger conventions.

"There are some city incentives, but this will be a privately built hotel," he said. "The city is not getting into the hotel business, nor should it."

The final proposal -- which includes an underground garage and possibly condominiums on top of the hotel -- will be presented publicly during a City Council meeting March 24.

Council members could vote on the deal by March 29, and if they approve, Omni could break ground by the end of the year, officials said.

The plan calls for about $48.5 million in tax rebates and refunds from the city, county and state and $6 million for a city-built, 400-space parking garage.

"We are coming to Fort Worth because we believe it's a great American city and a place we want to do business," said Scott Johnson, Omni's vice president for acquisitions and development. "We're ecstatic about the progress we've made.

"It has been a long road, and we are anxious to kick this project off."

In the works for more than two years, this plan differs from one in 2002 that called for the city to build a hotel with taxpayer money. Public outrage and a petition drive to force the issue before voters quelled that plan.

City leaders say this version is better because the bulk of the public funds would come from hotel and sales taxes generated by the hotel.

Johnson said that it could take about two years to build the hotel -- of "four-diamond" quality -- and that it could open in late 2007 or early 2008.

Omni plans to build a 15-to 21-story hotel, with 48,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, a pool and an exercise facility on two blocks of city-owned land west of the convention center.

Omni would lease the site from the city for $10,000 a year for 99 years and could buy the land for $1 million after 10 years. It could sell the hotel after three years of operation, with city approval.

"This hotel is so important for the convention and tourism industry in Fort Worth," said Kirk Slaughter, the city's public events director. "It will really help attract business to the community.

"It is going to be a great addition to Fort Worth."

Public funding

Under the plan, city officials say Omni would receive:

• $29.8 million in city rebates and funding, mainly through hotel and sales taxes collected at the hotel over 10 years. This includes $6 million for a 400-space garage to go under the hotel and be paid for with reserve funds. Previous plans called for an above-ground garage that would have been shared by the city and Omni.

• $16.9 million in state rebates from hotel and sales taxes generated by the hotel in its first 10 years.

• $1.8 million in refunded county property taxes generated by the hotel in its first 10 years. No school taxes would be used.

• A 10-year catering contract for convention center events.

In return, Omni would be required to award a portion of its contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses and a share of new jobs to Fort Worth residents. As much as 80 percent of the hotel rooms could be set aside for future conventions.

Johnson said a decision on whether to include condos at the top of the hotel will be made in coming months.

"We're doing our due diligence on that now, studying the market," Johnson said. "We believe that condominiums on top of our hotel would be a great addition. Now we need to figure out if there's a market for it."

Assistant City Manager Joe Paniagua said any condos would add to the total $90 million cost and would not receive a tax abatement from the city.

City officials have long said a hotel is needed because, despite a $75 million renovation of the convention center, Fort Worth is losing convention business to other cities.

"We have everything the people of Texas, United States and around the world would want to come and see," Councilman Jim Lane said. "We upgraded the convention center, and now we need a convention center hotel.

"There are good hotels downtown, but not one really dedicated to the convention business," he said. "This hotel will be a great amenity for Fort Worth."

Hurting other hotels?

Not everyone is convinced.

Stan Kennedy, vice president and general manager for the Radisson Plaza Hotel, said he's concerned that a convention center hotel could strip business from other downtown hotels.

"Our concern is, can the existing market take on additional supply without increased demand?" he said. "Short-term, this is going to have a negative effect on all the hotels here.

"It's our hope that long-term, we can fill in with new business."

Omni officials said they believe such fears are unfounded.

"We don't feel that we're going to be picking off business from the current market," said Robert Rowling, owner of TRT Holdings, Omni's parent company. "Whatever we take away, we hope would be more than made up from new business brought to town."

Steve Hollern, a vocal opponent to the 2002 plan, served on a blue-ribbon committee that reviewed the proposal. He maintained through the process that a privately financed hotel would be best.

"I think this is far superior to the plan on the table two years ago," he said. "I still have a nagging worry that if we don't grow the room nights, it could hurt other hotels.

"I hope my concerns are not well-founded," Hollern said. "I hope we get the tourism we're shooting for. It's a necessary thing that we go forward on this."

Paniagua said the past few months have been spent negotiating the finer points of the deal.

But it was time well spent, Paniagua said, because he believes that this is a good deal for the city.

"If the hotel has a rough year, the city still doesn't put any additional money into it," he said. "We don't bear any of the financial risk."

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