Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Developer turns off City Lights project
He pulls the plug after bid on city property fails, DART takes land
09:30 AM CDT on Wednesday, March 28, 2007
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning
A developer has canceled plans for an ambitious shopping and housing complex on Dallas' near east side.
The $175 million City Lights project was to contain 160,000 square feet of shops, high-rise residential buildings and a hotel at Live Oak Street and Good-Latimer Expressway. But after almost three years of working on the deal, developer Don Silverman said Tuesday that he's calling it quits and putting the land up for sale.

STEVE BROWN/DMN Developers had hoped to break ground on the first phase of the City Lights project later this year.
"Needless to say, this wasn't what we worked three years for," Mr. Silverman said. "We have commitments [from tenants] for over 100,000 square feet of retail, and we have a spectacular design.
"We thought we had created a great project."
The developer had hoped to break ground on the first phase of City Lights this year.
But Mr. Silverman said that difficult negotiations with the city of Dallas and DART ended with a smaller development.
Objections from residents in the nearby Bryan Place neighborhood also factored into the decision to pull the plug on the deal.
"We feel like we are beating a dead horse," Mr. Silverman said. "We've decided to sell the land however we can get the best value."
Mr. Silverman's Margaux Development has about 6.5 acres along Live Oak and Bryan streets. The developer began buying up old commercial tracts and buildings in the area in 2003.
One piece Margaux Development doesn't own is a city of Dallas property at Live Oak and Texas Street. Mr. Silverman said his firm failed in its recent bid to buy that property.
At the same time, DART is taking about 20,000 square feet of land along Good-Latimer for its light rail line construction, Mr. Silverman said.
Failure to buy the city property on Live Oak was the biggest blow, he said.
"Without it," he said, "we don't have the ability to create the street frontage we need."
City officials say Margaux Development did not meet the minimum bid for its property. The tract will be put up for auction again.
Some Bryan Place residents had complained that planned towers would block their views of downtown. They also worried that the proposed mixed-use development would bring too much traffic to the neighborhood.
Bryan Place representatives say they would still like to see retail construction on the land.
"The neighborhood would do anything it could do to get major, high-quality retail," said Jim Rogers of the Bryan Place Neighborhood Association. "And leave us as much of the downtown skyline view as can be done."
Even if City Lights isn't built as planned, brokers say, the land is still likely to be developed as a combination of residential and retail. With construction of the DART line along Good-Latimer, development in the area is expected to boom.
"It's a fine piece of dirt, and at the right price, I could sell that land tomorrow," said broker Newt Walker.
"A lot of people are hunting a site for an inner-city project." STEVE BROWN/StaffAfter three years of planning, the developer has canceled the proposed City Lights project on Dallas' near east side. // Image1 end -->