Lake Highlands is an area in NE Dallas
Makeover envisioned at Lake Highlands site
Developer hopes to raze apartments and build retail-residential center
11:15 AM CDT on Friday, October 15, 2004
By WENDY HUNDLEY and STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
Three aging apartment complexes in Lake Highlands may be demolished to make room for a commercial and residential complex. Sutter Wood, Ashton Springs and Ashton Point along Skillman south of Kingsley are under contract to be purchased by Fort Worth-based developer Trademark Cos., said Dallas City Council member Bill Blaydes. "They form the core of Lake Highlands Town Center," said Mr. Blaydes, referring to the working name for the 59-acre project.
Mr. Blaydes said the proposed urban center would also include a city park and a light rail station on DART's Blue Line that connects Lake Highlands to Garland and downtown Dallas. "It will change Lake Highlands forever," he said. "Creating a new town center is something that will cause leapfrog development up Skillman." Terry Montesi, Trademark Cos.' president, wouldn't discuss the planned redevelopment, citing confidentiality agreements related to the property purchase. But leasing agents looking for retail tenants said the deal is moving forward.
"This will be a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development," said Mickey Ashmore, president of United Commercial Realty. "You will be able to ride DART, go to the store and go home. We want to make it truly a little village." He said between 60,000 and 130,000 square feet of shop space will be constructed, and potential tenants include a specialty food store, restaurants, apparel and service retailers. Other retail real estate brokers say the Lake Highlands area needs retail. "I think it will be great infill development and is much needed," said Jill Tiernan of the Retail Connection. "It can be the Inwood Village for Lake Highlands."
Mr. Blaydes, who represents the surrounding council district, plans to hold a town hall meeting in November to discuss the project, which has been in the works for several months. He said construction could start in early 2006. Townhouses, homes and some office space are being considered for the Northeast Dallas development. Mr. Blaydes said the lofts, townhouses and zero-lot-line homes would range in price from $180,000 to $600,000. The redevelopment, which would replace about 1,000 apartment units built in the 1970s, "is our first shot at a real urban rehabilitation," he said. A DART station in that vicinity was first proposed in 1996, said Mike Miles, DART's senior manager of community and member city relations.
He said DART has been working with the city and Trademark Cos. for several months, but officials have not identified funding for the station. "There's a lot of work to be done," Mr. Miles said. "But, from our standpoint, it makes sense that we're starting to see more transit-oriented development in the city." Mr. Blaydes said the development would be privately owned, but city officials may create a tax-increment financing district, or TIF, to help pay for streets, utilities and other infrastructure improvements. The proposed project would also require a zoning change.
New Urbanism to Create Town Center
Development Would Change the Face of Lake Highlands
Thursday, September 2, 2004
By GREG FORD/ Lake Highlands People
Big changes are on the way in Lake Highlands, including a possible Mockingbird Station type development.
The proposed alterations to the area landscape are along Skillman Street near White Rock Lake Trail and Kingsley Road. The numerous changes include tearing down several apartment complexes and replacing them with a development that will feature office, retail, and residential units.
Plans also include a DART light-rail station near White Rock Trail.
The Fort Worth-based company is negotiating to purchase the properties.
“It will change the face of Lake Highlands,” said City Councilman Bill Blaydes. “It will give them the town center they’ve been looking for for 20 years.”
Trademark officials declined to discuss the matter, as they are still in negotiations to buy the properties.
During an Aug. 24 town hall meeting at Lake Highlands high School, Mr. Blaydes said one property owner is holding out.
“We are working diligently to make this project work," he told the audience. “I still believe this is the best thing for the community.”
The proposed development would be paid for through a combination of public and private money, and both the community and city government would benefit, Mr. Blaydes said.
“We are no longer a suburban area, he said.
The new complex would be in the same area as the Kingsley Square shopping center, which is being reinvested by new owner Ray Washburne, a supporter of trademark’s pursuits.
“The complexes across the street are very tired, and it would breed a lot of new life (into the area)," he said.
The DART station would sit along the line that now runs from Mockingbird to Garland. It would be east of the rail line, and just off the White Rock Trail.
“I think the community is looking forward to development for higher and better uses,” said Michael Miles, a spokesman for DART.
DART Station, Trail in the Mix at Trademark
Projects could mean more development, easier access to White Rock Lake
November 5, 2004
By Greg Ford/ Lake Highlands People
The Trademark Property Company is not the only one with big plans for land near the intersection of Kingsley along Skillman.
The city of Dallas, in con junction with the proposed Trademark project, expects to spend around $14 million building a Dallas Area Rapid Transit station, as well as constructing a walking and biking trail, which will connect to the existing White Rock Trail and run through a good portion of the community.
‘We think it could mean a lot, because once you put the infrastructure in place (you can build around it),” said Michael Miles, a spokesman for DART.
A public hearing regarding the proposed Trademark development south of Kingsley along Skillman is scheduled for Nov. 11 at the Lake Highlands Freshman Center.
Neither company officials nor City Councilman Bill Blaydes will discuss specifics about the project. Reports have indicated that it could be a mixed-use development similar to Mockingbird Station, which would include retail, office, and residential space.
The proposed DART station could play a major role in bringing people to and from the development.
“It’s always nice in a dense environment to have mass transit in the mix,” Mr. Blaydes said.
The DART station, planned for the eastern boundary of the proposed development, would be on the Blue Line between the stations at White Rock and Skillman and LBJ Freeway.
A station planned for that location in the 1990s did not come to fruition, Mr. Miles said.
A station there now could potentially lead to more development. In Piano, there are two residential complexes are being constructed around the DART station in the downtown area, said DART spokesman Morgan Lyons.
Money for both the DART station and the proposed trail is expected to come from a $14 million grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said Willis Winters, assistant director for planning, design, and construction for the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department.
About $2 million of that will be spent on the proposed trail, which is expected to be about a mile-and-a-half long, Mr. Winters said. The proposed trail Will start at the southeast corner of Kingsley and Skillman, and then run east along the south side of Kingsley until it gets to the creek in the area. It will then follow the creek south along the perimeter of the proposed Trademark development, and then hook up with the White Rock and Greenbelt trails, Mr. Winters said.
Eventually, the plan is to run the trail north of Kingsley, where it will connect with a proposed Lake Highlands trail that will run east from the Lake Highlands Freshman Center east to the LBJ Freeway.
“It means that Lake Highlands (residents) can get on the trail, instead of driving to Lawther and Northwest Highway,” Mr. Blaydes said.
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