The proposed Bishop Arts Gateway project on one of the hottest corners in North Oak Cliff fueled quite the quibble between Dallas City Council members Lee Kleinman and Scott Griggs today, as the city of Dallas economic development committee voted to approve Alamo Manhattan’s request for more than $11 million in Oak Cliff Gateway tax increment finance (TIF) district funds for the site on Davis and Zang.
According to Rachel Stone at the Oak Cliff Advocate, the TIF district money is contingent on Alamo Manhattan making at least 20 percent of the project’s 209 apartments “affordable.” The 42 or so apartments would be available only to those making no more than 80 percent of the area’s median income, which is $45,000 for a family of four.
The $57 million project will also include a streetcar plaza for the Oak Cliff streetcar line, 25,200 square feet for retail and restaurant space, and underground parking. So what will we get for the $11.25 million in TIF funds? Here’s what Wilonsky says:
City staff says about half that money will go toward, among other things, clearing and remediating the existing buildings along Zang and Davis, widening the sidewalks, planting trees, creating that open plaza and dealing with utility issues. The other half — approximately $5,846,400 — will act as an affordable housing grant, unless the city hears otherwise from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in coming weeks.
You’ll recall, after initial drawings for the Bishop Arts Gateway project were made public last year, there was quite the foofaraw from nearby residents over the building design. It was too out of character for the neighborhood and wasn’t particularly pedestrian friendly, some argued. But after a trip back to the drawing board, the revised development plans were widely lauded.
Of course, that didn’t stop Kleinman, who called Oak Cliff “the North Dallas of South Dallas,” from squabbling with colleagues over TIF money.
City Councilman Lee Kleinman, who represents far north Dallas, questioned why a developer in Oak Cliff, one of the city’s fastest-growing real estate markets, should receive TIF funding.
“When is Oak Cliff going to stand on its own?” he asked, during the joint meeting of the Council’s economic development and housing committees.
Oak Cliff City Councilman Scott Griggs was quick to answer: “Oak Cliff does stand on its own, and so does Southern Dallas.”
Griggs pointed out that Kleinman, as an investor in Sylvan Thirty, personally profited from TIF funding in our neighborhood.