Well, at least those “Not in Preston Hollow” signs will be coming down in time for the elections, and there will be no new construction for awhile at the intersection of Preston and Northwest Highway. Maybe the Dallas City Council is even breathing a sigh of relief — one less community battle to fight.
I have had this news for a few days, but waited to confirm before posting: Transwestern just released a statement saying they and “the owners of Town House Row have ended their contractual relationship concerning the property at the NE corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.” Full statement below.
Here’s what happened: when Transwestern scaled back their density to accommodate the neighbors’s demands, they had to re-negotiate the sales price. Sources tell me the deal was about $18 million. At first, I’m told, the Townhouse Row owners were going to net $140 a square foot for dirt which was 3 acres. that’s 130,680 square feet times $140. Then I heard that when Preston Center Apartments came into the deal, the price was up to $170 psf. This would have been a record-setting price for land in the area, but then, you are talking Gold Coast: nestled in between Preston Hollow and Park Cities, some of the highest wealth demographics in the country.
(If anyone has different numbers, please holler at me.)
Also, the highest sale of a Townhouse Row unit was about $380,000 a few years ago. Most are on the DCAD books for $350,000 to $450,000.
No way the scaled-down project — from 296 units to 165 — worked with those numbers. So Transwestern renegotiated. I have heard that the Townhouse Row owners did agree to a lower price at some point, like $750,000.
But in the latest round, they did not, and the Preston Apartments owners did not. So a deal was not reached and Transwestern has now walked away. I’d be very interested in knowing how much this deal cost Transwestern ultimately, and how much the homeowners who had hired attorney P. Michael Jung to represent their interests shelled out.
Yesterday, I addressed the NIMBY issue with Neal Sleeper, President of City Place Co. and the West Village Board, and Gail Thomas, President and Executive Officer of the Trinity Trust. I was moderating a panel discussion on behalf of Keller Williams Luxury Homes International at the Dallas Country Club. Jim Gandy, President of Economic Development for Frisco, had just rattled off so many new businesses and buildings coming into Frisco (like the Dallas Cowboys) I was mentally selling my home and thinking of where in Frisco I just might land. Dallas has actually LOST 266,195 jobs. They are all going north. I know we want to protect our homes and neighborhoods, and I hate the increased traffic as much as anyone. But I don’t think shutting down development is going to help us in the end — and guess what, that traffic is coming whether we like it or not: 10,000 people move here a month!
Neal Sleeper, who I think is brilliant, said it takes communication. Gail Thomas agreed. Neal told me to check into the origins of the Oak Lawn Committee. The OLC was instrumental, he said, in getting Oak Lawn homeowners to a comfort zone with development. That’s the reason why Oak Lawn is thriving, growing and adding billions of tax dollars to city revenue.
We need an Oak Lawn Committee in Preston Hollow/Preston Center. We need to find a comfort zone with homeowners, who also have to understand the more they say no to development, the higher their taxes will likely be, and fewer services they will enjoy from their city. Like police protection. Maybe this can be worked into the new Preston Center Plan Councilman Jennifer Gates is working on.
Is it over for re-development Behind the Pink Wall? Were the property owners too greedy? Are they holding out for another developer? Will a developer even touch this area with one brick? Or will the structures there just stand as long as they can, until the sub-flooring rots and the water-cooler systems break down to the point where you start seeing window units. Stay very tuned.
Statement from Mark Culwell, Transwestern:
“Transwestern and the owners of Town House Row have ended their contractual relationship concerning the property at the NE corner of NW Highway and Preston Road. After nine months of working closely with the neighborhood, we appreciate the many residents who continue to support positive redevelopment for this very important location.”–Mark CulwellTranswestern, Managing Director of Multifamily Development