The August Oak Lawn Committee was thick with high-rise proposals. In Part 1 we saw an update on StreetLights Residential’s proposal for Oak Lawn and Lemmon Avenues plus a new office building and retail restaurant village for the Quadrangle. Let’s now focus on 2500 Cedar Springs Road, a full block you may know as housing a Briggs Freeman office and Kung Fu Saloon.
It’s a four-acre site that gives developer, Ryan Companies, the space to do something pretty great. For us pedestrians it’s the 55 percent lot coverage to cheer for. They’ve created a winding pathway through the three-tower project along streetscapes lined with shops restaurants. Definitely more enticing than the existing buildings that almost tumble into Cedar Springs Road like so many bar patrons at closing time.
The project has been a long time coming, with Ryan working side by side with architects GFF to make this all happen. And GFF is no innocent bystander here. The back corner of the development is, and will remain, their home.
Let’s jump in.
You saw this image in my first Penthouse Plunge column. It’s looking towards Cedar Springs Road from the back of the property. The GFF offices are in the foreground with (from left to right) a hotel, office building, and apartment tower.
The centerpiece is the office tower, in my opinion. It will be a welcome sight driving in Uptown. From its geometric skin to the corner pull-backs, it’s visually compelling. The elongated corner triangle almost seems to be giving a glimpse into the inner building. The downtown views from those offices will be spectacular.
But each has its charms. The hotel will be using a sky lobby concept whereby the best views are reserved for public spaces and their views of downtown – and the rooftop trees. The apartment building pulls 25 feet off Howell Street to give space to an underutilized, cramped environment. Even the redone GFF building will be spiffed up with new exterior that adds retail restaurant space to the ground level as well as a new rooftop restaurant to drink in city views.
Seen from above, this gives you a lay of the land. The block isn’t a square and so neither are the buildings. The office is a parallelogram with added geometry at street-level that reverberates up the sides. The hotel similarly follows the angle of the road to deliver a more interesting building than the typical Dallas upended shoebox.
Besides architecture, you can also see the amount of green in this plan. There’s the central wayfinding path that connects and engages that’s wonderfully littered with green. But also note the green necklace surrounding the whole project.
One reason that all this can be done is 100 percent underground parking. Burying the eyesore of aboveground parking makes all the difference. A lesson unlearned within Victory Park.
The image above is the edge of the office building on the Kung-Fu Saloon corner. Instead of a zero-lot-line building, there’s now an 85-foot setback on the corner that’s framed and enhanced by the edge of the building pulling back into itself at the corner. That corner is slated for a small grocery operation – think more Highland Park Village’s Royal Blue Grocery, less Kroger.
Next to the office building will be a sub-300 room hotel with a ground-level restaurant along Cedar Springs Road. Now, today such a restaurant would almost be in traffic. But with the deep setbacks and green screening, it’ll be inviting. No word yet on which hotel chain it will be, but clearly a nice one.
On the apartment building, they’re staggering the balconies, which creates an interesting twisting effect. But the lower-floor units don’t get shorted. Generous balconies overlook all the greenery and restaurant spaces for those wanting to feel part of an urban environment. And because parking is underground, this isn’t just a tarted-up garage.
But most of us won’t be working, living, or having naughty weekends in the hotel. We’ll be meandering through on our way to nosh at this project’s various eateries. How’s that look? Pretty great. Above you can see the buildings located on the corners that create a left-right walkway that’ll be lined with shops and restaurants (mostly restaurants, I think). The architects say it resembles a river delta.
You can also see their starbursts on the map. These are specific gathering areas that entice people into the space. The north-south path is a 5 mph road for underground garage access.
Here’s the main Cedar Springs Road pedestrian entry between the office and hotel buildings. You can see more of the office building’s geometry and how it interacts with walkers. It’s a green-filled corridor with an unseen water feature. The greenery is also terraced “hiding” ramps for the stair-averse.
Further into the greenway, you can see a restful avenue full of public interaction. The lighting and ambling nature take queues from old European towns and New York’s High Line Park. It’s a small escape from the city within the city – a more edible Klyde Warren.
You may have been wondering why I labeled the Kairoi project (old Old Warsaw lot) not supported by Oak Lawn Committee back in April. I called it out because just look at the difference. It’s unimaginable to me that this bland building with above-ground parking and no street retail/restaurant is what might be built a block away from the three much better high-rises presented here. Kairoi residents will make regular use of the revitalized block on Cedar Springs without offering anything to the party. A shame.
Remember: High-rises, HOAs, and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.