plano arts district

An artist’s rendering of the soon-to-be-renovated Saigling House, which will be the new permanent home of ArtCentre Plano. This will be part of the new Plano arts district in the historic downtown area. Photo: Suzy Sloan Jones

Downtown Plano has gone from sleepy suburb center to bustling business and cultural area over the past decade. Now the city is looking to create an official arts district in its historic 80-acre downtown.

The downtown area has already seen over 50,000 square feet of private development, including more than 1,100 urban apartments built or approved, and the restoration of historic commercial and civic buildings. Multiple art galleries, shopping spots, and restaurants draw people of all ages to the area. An official arts district will is the next step to encourage business and job development, create a tourist and resident destination, and foster local cultural development.

“It’s the right move, especially with all the growth in Plano,” said Suzy Sloan Jones, executive director of the ArtCentre of Plano. “With Toyota, Liberty Mutual, and FedEx headquarters moving to this community, those people will be looking for things to do with the arts.”

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PSW is constructing a single-family development in North Oak Cliff called Bishop Heights. Homes will include green features such as solar panels and earth-friendly construction materials.

PSW is constructing a single-family development in North Oak Cliff called Bishop Heights. Homes will include green features such as solar panels and earth-friendly construction materials. The Austin-based company recently announced another Dallas development planned for an area near SMU.

PSW Homes is slowly changing the face of Dallas neighborhoods it seems, as the Austin-based builder buys up tracts in hot neighborhoods throughout our fair city and redevelops into eco-friendly and attractive housing. The builder just announced a second East Dallas development, a follow-up to the company’s Grove on Lovers Lane neighborhood, that will occupy a 7-acre site southeast of North Central and Mockingbird, replacing a development full of aging duplexes.

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Photo courtesy Bright Realty

Artist rendering of Discovery at The Realm in Castle Hills in Lewisville. Photo courtesy Bright Realty.

Since the first homeowners moved into Lewisville’s Castle Hills community in 1998, more than 12,000 people have decided to call the master planned community home, and it is about 60 percent built-out today.

Located off State Highway 121 and Farm-to-Market Road 544, Castle Hills is 60 percent residential and has single-family houses ranging from about $300,000 to $1.5 million and more.

Developer Bright Realty is enticing a different demographic with their next stage of work at Castle Hills with a $75-million project called Discovery at The Realm. These 4,000 luxury rental apartments are being built with young professionals in mind.

Tim McNutt, Executive VP of Multifamily Development at Bright Realty and a Castle Hills resident himself, said these apartments are part of the strategy to develop Castle Hills in stages.

“The long-term plan was to establish the single-family housing, then to develop the remaining commercial properties,” McNutt said. “Along with the commercial [real estate], we wanted to expand the demographic and this will broaden our appeal to a whole new market.”

Photo courtesy Google Maps

Photo courtesy Google Maps

Bright Realty broke ground in December on Discovery at The Realm, which will include high-end, three podium-style buildings (underground parking with four stories of apartments above) on over 20 acres of land located south of Windhaven Parkway at Castle Hills Drive. The first units will be available in April 2016, with all phase one units completed by October 2016. Jump to read more!

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Photo courtesy Wood Partners

Another residential development is underway near West Dallas’ super hot Trinity Groves neighborhood with the construction of Alta Yorktown by Wood Partners LLC.

The development will include 226 luxury apartments in three, four-story buildings on six acres. The property, located at 660 Yorktown St., is just one mile west of downtown Dallas, and sits near the Trinity Groves restaurant, retail, and entertainment area.

Rents at Alta Yorktown will average just over $1,300 a month for apartment homes that average 827 square feet (available as studio, one, two, and three bedrooms). Leasing will begin toward the end of 2015, and construction is slated for completion toward the middle of 2016.

Interior finishes in the apartments will include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, tile backsplashes, Shaker wood cabinets, upgraded fixtures, and wireless technology packages. Community amenities will include an outdoor swimming pool and courtyard, grilling stations, and fire pits. The property will also have a small amount of retail space.

Alta Yorktown is just one of multiple new developments in and around Trinity Groves, where Wood Partners has a big stake in the neighborhood. It sits next to the Sylvan Thirty mixed-use project, in where Wood Partners built the 200 apartments, and the Alta West Commerce apartments, which will have 252 units. Jump to read more!

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Jason Roberts

Always on the go, Roberts is involved in myriad projects and groups in Oak Cliff and around Dallas. Photo courtesy Jason Roberts

Much has been written about community activist, urban planning enthusiast, and Oak Cliff resident Jason Roberts. His energy is infectious as he spreads the gospel of urban revitalization around the world: building better neighborhoods by transforming vacant and underused properties into vibrant, thriving blocks abuzz with business, activity, and local participation.

His Better Block concept started in spring 2010 in a small part of North Oak Cliff, where Roberts asked the questions, “why are these buildings vacant and what can we do to rapidly transform them in days, not years, into bike- and pedestrian-friendly places that people love?”

The answer was a rapidly planned weekend project that created pop-up shops, filling underused or vacant spaces with the businesses he wished the area had: coffee shops, flower shops, and cafes, among others.

Better Block has since gone from a local experiment to a national and international model for urban redevelopment that showcases the possibilities in a neighborhood, no matter its current state.

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The Trinity Village development in West Dallas will begin in 2015. Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News.

Work will begin on the Trinity Village development in West Dallas in 2015. Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential.

More good news for development in West Dallas with word Thursday that Dallas-based Stonelake Capital Partners has closed on a 25-acre tract of industrial property on Singleton Boulevard, west of Sylvan Avenue.

Along with developer StreetLights Residential, Stonelake is planning a $200 million mixed-use development at 1000 Singleton Boulevard, on the southwest corner of Singleton and Sylvan.

This is 2014’s largest single redevelopment property in West Dallas, and it will bring about 1,500 new residential units to the area west of Downtown Dallas. (more…)

old town 2

Old Town Lewisville. Photo courtesy of the city of Lewisville

When you think of hip, fun destinations to live, work, and play in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the city of Lewisville is not usually at the top of the list.

But city leaders in this northern suburb of almost 100,000 residents are changing that as redevelopment moves into full swing in the Old Town area. New houses, townhomes, restaurants, and retail shops are all in the works as developers and entrepreneurs take note of the changing atmosphere.

“Everybody has been hyper-focused on Collin County, but these changes in Lewisville will give people another option,” said David Maez, Broker and Co-Owner at VIVO Realty, which represents the developer Belleville Village, the builders of Uptown Village Lewisville townhomes near East Main Street and East Mill Street in Old Town. “It’s close to Lewisville Lake, close to the airport, close to I-35, which makes it easy to get to Dallas. These changes will make that area more appealing for buyers, especially younger professionals.”  (more…)

Monte Anderson

On Tuesday night, the Greater Dallas Planning Council honored North Texas developer Monte Anderson with its inaugural Urban Pioneer Award at the Urban Design Awards.

Anderson is the president of Options Real Estate, a multi-service real estate company that concentrates its work in southern Dallas and Ellis counties, specializing in creating sustainable neighborhoods that invite “gentlefication,” as opposed to gentrification.

Here’s a great working definition of “gentlefication”:

Moving into a neighborhood in an effort to reduce crime, create harmony, and build community. As opposed to “gentrification,” which changes neighborhoods by forcing out low-income residents with high-income folks seeking the next hip thing. Gentlefication helps long-term residents take back their neighborhoods, stabilize property values, and build safe spaces for their children and grandchildren.

“The award means a lot because it means people are staring to recognize that incremental development, or ‘microsurgery’, not big silver bullet deals, works in our southern Dallas neighborhoods,” he said. “My approach is to come in and get other small developers and entrepreneurs to come in very early and be a part of the change. These are the people who make it cool, like artists and restaurateurs, and they [usually] end up not owning anything and getting pushed out in the end.” (more…)