Newest hot-off- the- press rendering for the proposed development
Is it time to take down the “No! Not in Preston Hollow” signs? Maybe!
Transwestern, the folks building those fancy new luxury apartments over at Northwest Highway and Preston Road, NOT to be confused with the luxury high rise apartment Crosland Group hopes to build IN PRESTON CENTER, has made some major, major concessions to its original plans in an effort to appease the homeowners who are concerned over the proposed changes bringing more dense living to the western edge of the Pink Wall neighborhood.
The density of the proposed project that would replace 24 old rental apartments and 12 townhomes has been significantly reduced.
Change Number 1: The number of units built will be only 165, way down from the original 296. 165 is also only 20 units more that Transwestern could build under current zoning.
Change Number 2: The homeowners who live on Del Norte got their way. Transwestern will only build three-story units in the property segment that runs from Averill Way north to the edge of the property line. This is the area closest to the single family homes on Del Norte. The units built on the property that runs from Averill Way to Northwest Highway will be four stories. That is only 1 story more than current zoning.
“It’s the right thing to do,” says Mark M. Culwell, Jr. Transwestern’s Managing Director of Development. “The process is set up for collaboration — you hope at the end of the day it all produces a good result.”
In nearly one hundred meetings with homeowners, Transwestern has heard loud and clear that single family homeowners do not want a tall, dense apartment complex looking down on them… The original story height was 8, which became 6, which is now 4. The original unit plan was for 296, which became 220 which are now set at 165. Transwestern has also offered to give Texas Department of Transportation space for a dedicated left turn lane onto Northwest Highway from Preston Road.
I asked Mark if the lower density has changed any of the original plans for a park space, swimming pool, underground parking, and other amenities — he said no. Commercial real estate companies are not in the charity business — how is he making this still profitable with lower density?
“When the height comes down, there is some savings in the building column,” he told me.
1286 continues to be the average square foot side of the new apartment homes. There will be no efficiency units, a major concern of the neighborhood.
“”And it will be written into the zoning that there are to be no efficiencies,” says Mark. “The smallest units will be 1000 square feet.”
(My guess is that they will find even these units too small, but then, like the Ritz Residences, two or more can be joined together if there is enough demand… my thoughts, not Mark’s.)
A few things to keep in mind: if the neighborhood does not accept this olive branch, and if Transwestern should walk, another developer can come in and re-develop the very same area. Preston Center Apartments have agreed to sell. All 12 owners of Townhouse Row have agreed to sell. Getting all those to agree is a monumental accomplishment! There will be a back-up buyer for this prime, prime location. Another developer may choose to stay within the current zoning but cover every inch of property with leasable square footage and could build as many efficiency units as their hearts desire.
Personally, as a property owner Behind the Pink Wall, I would like to see a minimum square footage written into the zoning change. And Transwestern has agreed to do that.
So, I’m coming around… how about you?