Transwestern Changes Its Building Plan to Please Preston Hollow Neighborhood: 220 Units Now Down to 165

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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?

7 Comment

  • Check your headline again.

  • mm

    OH! I got it! I swear I am blind when it comes to this contraction, just blind!

  • Great compromise. I wouldn’t be surprised to see folks buy 2 units and combine them. In fact, I’d expect it as well. I’m eager to see this resolved and every one happily moving forward.

  • Great compromise, but a loss in terms of the look and architecture. Thank you for your comparison! The 220 unit design is much higher end and even resort looking, while the new one looks more like a low end apartment complex. It’s too bad that meeting in the middle means a lower end product in the end, and therefore a compromise turns something they worked on so hard to be nice for the neighborhood and would be a welcome addition to just something cheap….over a few units.

  • When will this all get finalized? I live on Bandera and I am curious as to when the developers will start buying up the rest of the area. You know they won’t be satisfied with that one project!

  • Some of you have forgotten – there will be no “buying” here or combination of units. These are apartments. Rental units. They will be leased, and then the project will be sold to a third party.

  • This is a missed opportunity for what could have been a walkable community with street-level retail and apartments above. The discussion has been about the wrong thing — density. What we should have been talking about is how this development would encourage its residents to interact with the retail along Northwest Highway. Look at the rendering — there is a wall running along the sidewalk. These units remain car-dependent. This could have just as well been built in Frisco or the Colony. Preston Center deserves better.