Lincoln Property’s Lincoln Katy Trail project failed to gain support from City Plan Commission. However, mimicking the Oak Lawn Committee’s own waffling, Plan Commission’s vote was tighter than it might have been had the OLC been more crisp and decisive in its own votes on this project.
Several Plan Commissioners voiced concerns about the OLC’s role in moving goal posts as Lincoln representative Angela Hunt claimed. One example given of “post moving” was the opposition’s desire for the building to be split in three sections instead of the two they got. Several Plan Commissioners and Commission Chair Gloria Tarpley said this was the first time they’d heard about the three-building desire. However when Lincoln first showed the original building broken in two last month, I checked the tape from the July CPC meeting and Vine condo representative Amanda Popken listed a three-building split as one of the desires. So no post-moving on this issue.
Commissioner Margot Murphy expressed the sentiment that view corridors are not protected. While I’d agree with that for construction of by-right projects, I don’t when view encroachment is the result of doubling the allowable zoning height. Zoning has to stand for something.
News comes to us that Lincoln Property’s bid for Oak Lawn Committee (OLC) support for their revised plan has failed. You may recall the Lincoln Katy Trail project was essentially told last month by enough Plan Commissioners return to the OLC before returning to the City Plan Commission (CPC). Sources tell me that the OLC vote was five short. This is a backwards slide for the project, which had previously enjoyed the support of the long-standing neighborhood group by a single vote.
What happens next?
So far, Lincoln is due to return to Plan Commission tomorrow to pitch this revised plan. I’m hearing that this is still the plan even without OLC support. It will be very interesting to see how CPC plays this. As I’ve written, it’s been decades since a plan unsupported by the OLC has succeeded in passing CPC – and that plan (for Victory Park) required mayoral intervention – something I don’t see happening here.
Should CPC pass this plan, it severely hurts OLC and disempowers a neighborhood comprising Oak Lawn, Uptown, West Village, and Knox. I can’t believe the city would do this. It would encourage developers to do less for the neighborhood, banking on CPC overturning any OLC denial of support.
Tuesday night’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting was chockablock with five projects. The first peek will be of the proposed Central Market in the perennial unsuccessful supermarket location on McKinney between the Lemmon split. You may recall it as Albertsons or more recently Minyards. At first glance, this is pretty spanky and cool, but the devil is in the details.
It’s proposed to be a whopping big development. There would be a five-level podium covering 95 percent of the parcel that balances two 360’ towers on opposing corners. The larger of the two towers would be a 21-story office building while the other would be an as yet unspecified mix of office, hotel and/or multi-family.
The run-up to Wednesday’s tenth PD-15 meeting should’ve filled area residents with anger. The self-centered towers were at it again. On Monday, Athena management company ICI Real Estate sent residents an “URGENT!!!” call for Athena residents to attend last night’s meeting (Preston Tower did the same).
It said Bob Bowling from Preston Tower was going to make a motion to dissolve the authorized hearing and send developers directly to City Plan Commission. Athena representative Margaret Darden was scheduled to second the motion after which residents in the audience were encouraged to stand and applaud. It was so kindergarten, I’m surprised there wasn’t a warning about not eating paste.
Their argument consists of the same tired, disproven tropes as always – four high-rises, unprecedented traffic and 10 years of non-stop construction. Blah, blah, blah. If you want to sing that song, read this or this.
NOTE: ICI seriously overstepped their bounds by sending such a loaded, propaganda-filled email to residents under their own account. Darden and Dewberry should have sent their drivel opinions and plans from their own accounts. (Full disclosure: I send email wrap-ups and links to PD-15 stories to residents within the building under my personal account. I have never asked or even thought to involve the management company.)
You may recall back in July, I reported on an email Preston Hollow South Neighborhood Association (PHSNA) president John Pritchett sent to committee members where he said they’re “not the A-Team in terms of zoning matters.” Apparently, Towers representatives Bob Bowling, Tatiana Frierson, Margaret Darden and Barbara Dewberry agree with the assessment, so hot are they to disband the committee. It’s almost comical, too. The Laurel apartments on Preston Road and Northwest Highway are pretty universally disliked and yet these representatives are in the same camp as Pritchett, who —to hear him tell it — single-handily led the negotiations for the neighborhood with developer Transwestern.
NOTE: If any member of any committee feels too stupid to do the job, resign and stop trying to crater a process everyone else is working in good faith to complete. (more…)
Turtle Creek Gardens’ peaceful pool
Homeownership is the most consistent way to build up the nest egg you’ll need in retirement. People who downsize their homes are cashing out equity built up over a lifetime (and telling the kids they’re on their own). Sure, there are many reports that claim folks who rent in some areas make out better. But they’re always predicated on the renter investing the difference between the rent and the mortgage/taxes – which almost no one does. Instead, flush renters eat out more, buy more shoes (or in my case, shirts) or wend their way around the world collecting selfies.
The increased incidence of renters is troubling in many countries. When I spoke to HGTV presenter Richard Blanco in London recently, he agreed it would have an impact on tenants later in life. While student loans are an issue here, the issue both countries shared was a desire by younger people to live a catered life (as they did with mom and dad) where they farmed out the reality of living.
For those smart enough to embrace property ownership, the down payment is often a stumbling block for younger buyers. So without living in your Star Wars-decorated childhood bedroom, how does a potential homebuyer save? Especially when Uptown digs can scrape $3 per square foot per month?
This morning, Bloomberg News is reporting that anonymous insiders are saying Amazon is close to finalizing its selection for its second headquarters (which are set to be officially announced by the end of the year). The winners of the pay-for-play beauty contest are reportedly Crystal City, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., and in the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island. Obviously, Amazon remains mum on the deal.
This latest news comes via three separate reports. The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon was splitting its “gift” in two. The New York Times who outed Long Island City as one of the “winners” while the Washington Post identified Crystal City. The splitting of this baby is seen as Amazon’s attempt to mitigate backlash from what many see as the problems Amazon will bring for a city’s existing residents – “a problem shared is a problem halved” and all that.
Clairvoyance can be a terrible burden. Thankfully, it didn’t take any special powers to foresee Lincoln Property Company returning to the Oak Lawn Committee for their Lincoln Katy Trail project. After seeing the reactions of City Plan Commissioners on Sept. 22 to Lincoln’s plan to skip a re-blessing by the Oak Lawn Committee to their very different plan, I saw it as a foregone conclusion.
Had Plan Commission passed the project without renewed OLC support, it would have been precedent setting. I spoke with a few OLC old-timers and the only time any of them can remember that happening was when Victory was taking shape with the American Airline Center’s birth back in the 1990s. I was told that while OLC had a seat at the table, they were largely ignored as the area’s plan was being pushed with mayoral support.
I think we can all agree that the OLC’s success in managing Oak Lawn development has resulted in a lot better neighborhood than Victory. In fact, Victory got top honors as a failure in D Magazine’s recent “Dallas and The New Urbanism” special edition with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science called out separately for its poor streetscape, saying it makes “Field Street a miserable place to walk.”
Of course, what would this project be without arrogance?
Boooooo! It’s Halloween and time for a little trick or treat. And every kid knows the best candy is in the ritzy neighborhoods like Park Cities, so off we go!
If you’re trying to squeak your way into University Park for the schools and bragging rights, I’ve got the two least-expensive, single-family listings not on a major road. Located on opposite sides of University Park and constructed in 1936 and 1941, these homes took quite different journeys to reach today. Of course both have been upsized from their humble roots from when University Park supported a variety of income levels.
While neither home is in the toniest section of UP, the Hyer property is a block off Lovers Lane and all the nearby shops. The Dyer house is a slightly longer hop-skip to Snider Plaza, but it’s tucked seconds north of Southern Methodist University – so you’d want to understand the level of student rentals nearby.