Crescent Communities released more details about its project planned at Zang and Davis near the Bishop Arts District. The residential components offer a variety of types and sizes to appeal to a range of budgets and lifestyles.
Most controversially, the second phase North Site plan includes a set of 30-38 brownstones with single units — each three to three-and-a-half stories high, made of high quality materials, and with walk-out roof terraces. The Towns on Zang product would likely be a great addition to the neighborhood if the front entrance stoops weren’t so devoid of character, but the question is whether Crescent would develop the property themselves, or sell to another developer. Their portfolio doesn’t include multi-level brownstones currently, and according to neighborhood watchdog Councilman Scott Griggs, their plan is to change the overlay to allow residential, then sell.
The current zoning overlay requires one-story retail frontage all along Zang Blvd. Removing the requirement for retail frontage would allow even dingy apartments to be built. Griggs insists upon including stipulations for street-access units if/when changing the zoning overlay. If this is the plan, let’s just make it part of the plans! But Crescent seems unwilling to make that concession. All we have is their word — and better pictures promised in a few months.
Walk-up units are also included in the first phase West Site plan, requiring the same zoning overlay amendment to allow residential along Zang. The Steps of Zang apartments could meet the original intent of the overlay by providing ‘eyes on the street’ as residents walk to and from home, and creating activity from a diversity of uses. All of which increase safety.
It’s debatable whether this ‘front porch’ would be enough to entice someone to actually sit out in the sun like this, but these are preliminary renderings.
Around 15,000 to 25,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space would extend from the Terrace (at the northeast corner of Zang and Davis), along Davis, through the large interior piazza, and along Beckley. Between 280 to 300 apartments would be included in this phase atop the retail:
- Steps on Zang – Walk-up, two-story townhomes along Zang with individualized home entries & patio gardens.
- Flatiron – Larger floor plans with panoramic corner views from the Bishop Arts District around to the Piazza.
- Neely Porches – Large “front porches” facing Lake Cliff with treetop views to downtown.
- Davis Street Lofts – Open floor plans overlooking Davis St and the Terrace, Piazza, & Porch.
- Piazza Juliettes – European-style flats on the Piazza with Juliette balconies.
Interior amenities include “Stevie Ray’s Pool”, shaped similar to a guitar, and a publicly accessible residential lobby similar to the ACE Hotel, in Portland — with the “come and stay” ethos of a coffee shop.
Local landscape and Urban Designer and long-time Winnetka Heights resident Kevin Sloan sees the appeal of the project’s design to enhance the sense of community with places for people to wander and linger. On the Piazza’s design:
“This project offers a public space that will become a permanent part of the neighborhood fabric. Access to it is open and unrestricted. Our hope and intention is that it will become the next landmark space in Bishop Arts – an offering to the community as a public living room.”
The vision seems to genuinely build on the amenities of the location, community feel, and cultural vibe of Bishop Arts. (Did you see #6 The Factory on the site plan? Makers Space. Orchestrated by our very own Andrew Howard.) And although the high-density scale of all of these projects seems out of scale now, three- and five-story density is much less than the eight stories allowed by zoning. (What were we thinking?!)
“At times, good placemaking requires voluntary restraint, which has been critical in the design process for us.”
Crescent’s development director, native Dallasite Kris Kashata, has been developing North Texas multifamily communities for almost 20 years. He sees the value in Crescent’s restraint relative to zoned density.
But seriously, the neighborhood’s changing more than we can imagine, and the difference between a great place and placeless suburban mixed used development is often in the details. You can’t regulate details. So we need responsible, creative developers.
Voluntary restraint is super. Going above and beyond is awesome. Kudos and thanks, Crescent.
Also, could we get some of that in writing in case you change your mind on those brownstones?