Capacity crowd on hand to watch the OLC fritter away its credibility

By a narrow margin, Lincoln Property won support from the Oak Lawn Committee in a 16-to-14 vote for their Lincoln Katy Trail project on Carlisle and Hall Streets Wednesday night.  This pivotal vote essentially opens up MF-2 zoned properties (36 feet in height) in the area east of the Katy Trail, from Uptown to West Village (if not further afield), for redevelopment.  I say “opens” because, should City Plan Commission and Council approve this project, developers will use it as exemplar for increased density in Oak Lawn and the OLC will have lost their credibility to stop them.

Already we know that the Carlisle on the Katy, located across from the Lincoln project, plans their own up-zone. The last plans called for a pair of high-rises with former Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt signed on to help. Additionally, on the next block, Sutton Place had been seeking a developer buyout for several years.


At last week’s Lincoln meeting at Turtle Creek Terrace concerning their Lincoln Katy Trail project a question was asked about affordable housing units.  It was asked how many Toll Brothers was providing.  Some didn’t think there were any affordable units in that project.  I volunteered that there was a 10 percent affordable component.

I was wrong.

Toll Brothers is reserving three percent of their units as affordable (9 units) but they are also going to accept Section 8 vouchers (“over 12”) making for a combined 7-ish percent of units that will be available below market rates.

My mixup was from a proposed project by Alliance at Cole and Armstrong (Broadstone) that is offering a 10 percent affordable component (and who, along with Lincoln, will be presenting at tomorrow’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting at the Melrose Hotel at 6:30 p.m. … open to all).

I’m writing this to clarify (I don’t like being inaccurate), but also to propitiate a note from Angela Hunt correcting my 10 percent claim by noting the city told her the number was 3 percent affordable … though she did not account for the Section 8 component. 


Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email

Alliance’s new tower configuration with north-south orientation (my pick).

Often developers show up to the Oak Lawn Committee looking for approval for a proposed project before hitting Dallas’ City Plan Commission and council.  But sometimes they just need a little help.  Last night’s OLC meeting was a little of both.

The first of three cases revolved around a project that had been blessed a while ago, but that now that it was under construction they uncovered a design boo-boo. They need to change it, but the original plan required the creation of a sub-district within PD-193 and the city says these things can’t be changed within two years of being granted. So they need a waiver. Nothing really for the OLC to do, but this property owner didn’t want the OLC to think they’d pulled a fast one. Courtesy. We like it.

The second case was a poor young soul who didn’t have his code, PD, and developer-speak down pat. His firm (who knew better how to approach the OLC) is considering purchasing a building with no ground floor.  Yes, no ground floor.  There’s a small elevator lobby and the rest is given away to parking under the bulk of the building above.  He wants to operate some hair salons on the second floor but the PD-193 documents say salons are a ground-floor usage … but he literally doesn’t have a ground floor.  So they offered, sometimes terse, suggestions and thoughts on how he could proceed.  I say terse because it’s one thing to be new — it’s another thing when your employer knows better and sent you to slaughter anyway.

The third case was what the graphic is all about.  You may recall the two prior OLC meetings where this project on Armstrong and Cole from Alliance Residential was presented (here, here).  It was a thuddingly dense building with 340 apartments in a combined five- and seven- story design.  The lot was crowded and crammed with what appeared to be wall-to-wall units.


Hillwood’s 3001 Turtle Creek

In April, Hillwood presented their conceptual renderings to the Oak Lawn Committee (OLC) for a 16-story office building on the empty corner of Cedar Springs and Turtle Creek.  You know the lot … the one you’ve been wondering why nothing had been built on it for over 30 years. Nods and smiles turned to WTF guffaws when out popped the desire for a helipad on the roof.  Ross Perot Jr.’s LA buddies all had one, so why shouldn’t he? Then days later there was an announcement about Perot bringing Dallas to the test-market table for Uber’s Elevate program for flying taxis.  Regardless of whether these two events were connected by more than the hours that separated them, Hillwood has dropped the helipad from the designs they’re hoping to present at the Sept. 7 City Plan Commission meeting.