Arterra’s Plans for Vacant Casa View Haven Lot Next to Bryan Adams High Draws Neighborhood Interest

Arterra’s David Hensley presented plans to the Casa View Haven Neighborhood Association on Feb. 26, 2019. Arterra wants to build an 18-unit, single-family development for the vacant lot at Millmar and Lingo, just behind St. Mark’s Presbyterian on Ferguson Road. (Photo: Joanna England)

At last week’s regularly scheduled Casa View Haven Neighborhood Association meeting, about 50 neighbors assembled at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church on Ferguson Road, armed with questions about Arterra Development’s plans for the lot at Millmar and Lingo, just across the street from DISD’s Bryan Adams High School. 

Arterra’s architect and managing director, David Hensley, was on hand at the Feb. 26 meeting with digital renderings and few details on the proposed 18-unit, single-family home development. Hensley, who is also a principal HLR Inc., said that the homes would be sold on a lot-by-lot basis, with construction completed in phases depending on sales.

Prices are projected to land at around $400,000 per “cottage-style” home, all of which would connect to communal greenbelts and additional street-facing landscapes. The homes would have three bedrooms, three baths, and a two-car garage. Hensley said that the finished product would be comparable to a project the firm completed in The Colony, which featured a multi-family component, greenbelts, and single-family homes with shared amenities.

The design presented at the meeting is reminiscent of popular coastal vacation home communities that dot Florida’s coastal highway, 30-A, where several single-family homes abut or adjoin shared outdoor space. The development will have an HOA for managing common space and maintenance. Plans at this time did not show whether the community will have a gate.

Neighbors expressed some concerns with the development, which places two of the two-story units on the alley-facing border of the lot, calling the zero-lot-line homes invasive. Additionally, the proposed development’s phased construction could present a problem if sales stall, leaving a semi-vacant, half-done project that neighbors called a potential eyesore.

Hensley admitted that “financing is a huge hurdle” for this particular project. Of course, neighbors were concerned that prices for the new homes could adversely affect property values in the still up-and-coming bedroom community.

“We tried to make the numbers work at $350,000,” Hensley said after the presentation. However, considering factors such as lot price, rising materials costs, and the increasingly expensive price of skilled labor, Hensley said that prices would likely range between $400,000 to $450,000 for the two-story units.

“The whole concept from the beginning was to build a family-oriented development,” Hensley said.

In contrast, just down Millmar from the St. Mark’s site, Alan Hoffmann of Hoffmann Homes is turning dirt. Hoffmann, who has been sitting on the corner lot since demolishing the single-family structure on the site in 2016, has started construction. The lot now has sewer access installed for several units. We reached out to Hoffmann to find out more about the development but did not receive a reply by press time.

Arterra has yet to formally start the rezoning process, though Dallas city plan commissioner Michael Jung was on-hand to gauge community response to the proposed development. 

“This is a 12-week process,” Hensley said. Indeed, and it could be rather expeditious if the neighborhood has no qualms with it.

That was a point emphasized by Jung, who noted that Arterra is making some promises to the neighborhood to allay concerns.

“The most important thing for the neighborhood to do is hold the developer accountable,” Jung said. “Because with the zoning he’s asking for, he is not required to do a lot of the things he is proposing.”