Maybe Sam’s Wholesale Club Won’t be Breezing In After All: Bobby Abtahi to the Rescue

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SamsCityplaceI was told this morning by folks at yesterday’s City Plan Commission meeting for Highland House, and Trammell Crow’s plan to plop a 100,000 square foot Sam’s Wholesale Club on 17 acres near Cityplace, on the old ACS campus, that the Committee would not allow public comments to be made on the Sam’s Club issue. And further:

“The Chair said the zoning was changed a year ago and there was nothing the Committee could do to stop the development. Very, very sad that the public notification system is so limited in radius… a major flaw in the system,” said my source. What a great point!

So I was all depressed this morning until Robert Wilonsky brightened my day: not so fast there, real estate depression:

 On Thursday plan commissioner Bobby Abtahi got seven of his fellow commissioners to sign the request below that begins the process of revisiting the zoning decision made last year that paved the way for Trammell Crow’s Big Box. A discussion is set for next month.

“Seven of my fellow commissioners agreed it was time to take a look at PD 889, and we should have a hearing on June 19 to get some background on the zoning and determine if we want to move forward to reopen the zoning,” says Abtahi.

There’s a lot of talk out there that the developer may have scooted this thing through. Wilonsky says the zoning

… was OK’d by the City Plan Commission on May 3, 2013, at a meeting missed by four commissioners, according to meeting minutes. At the time there certainly was no indication that Crow was looking to plant a Big Box across Central from the West Village. Said the city staff’s simple summary to the commission, “A Planned Development District is proposed on a ±16.158-acre portion of the request site to accommodate a retail development with design standards. A new subdistrict within PDD No. 305 is proposed on a ±10.596-acre portion of the request site to create a ‘data center’ use and associated parking ratio. This will allow existing office buildings to be utilized for that purpose.”

Zoning, apparently, cannot be taken back. But the city’s plan commissioner, Bobby Abtahi apparently wants to take a second look. Thank God. Of course, Wilonsky says this has triggered the “L” word:

Several sources familiar with this say that if the plan commission does somehow alter the zoning, that will very likely trigger a lawsuit from Trammell Crow Co.

Great. Just what we need, another lawsuit to eat up any new revenue we might see from our healthy housing market, that  7% -ish increase in property tax revenues we might be getting . Did you notice that commercial properties led the growth spurt, with values rising 9.5 percent? Taxable value of residential homes jumped 5.6 percent. Hmm.

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature, and, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions


  1. Brenda Marks says

    Hard to believe someone at Trammell Crow Co. doesn’t understand its own history in relation to development in the inner core of Dallas. Maybe they should be reminded that in the wake of TCC bulldozing Oak Lawn’s beautiful Esquire Theatre in the middle of the night just prior to a meeting of the Dallas Historical Commission at which the theater was going to given historic status, the Oak Lawn Forum was born, which created the Oak Lawn Plan, which resulted in PD 193, which protected Oak Lawn going forward and resulted in the dynamic redevelopment of Oak Lawn itself and the creation of Uptown. Someone with the family needs to call these outsiders up and have a chat. The “new” Trammell Crow needs to learn the lessons of the old TC.

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