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 -->

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Developer Airs Plans for Three More Projects

A boutique townhouse developer, who's been part of the Oak Lawn redevelopment push for 10 years, is awaiting permits for two more projects so ground can break in May. A third development site is under contract in East Dallas.
Andrew T. Carnahan, president of locally based Foresite Development Co., says the 30-unit Alix at 4107 Bowser Ave. and 30-unit Nikko at 4411 Bowser Ave. will deplete his land bank in Oak Lawn, where's he's built nearly $60 million of residential product. He has one development under way in the neighborhood, the 45-unit Haven at 4040 Hall St., which will be delivering in early summer.
"Land prices in Oak Lawn have skyrocketed. We've done pretty good redeveloping Oak Lawn. East Dallas hasn't quite gone through the same re-gentrification," Carnahan tells "The prices are a little more reasonable." He has a 40,000-sf vacant tract under contract along Live Oak Street near Bryan Place, where he's planning to build a five-story building with 64 units, keeping to his trademark design with the ground floor reserved for parking. If the plan stays on track, the Live Oak project will come on line in winter 2008.
For four years, Carnahan's business focus has been creating boutique flats, primarily targeting young professionals in design and pricing. The Alix and Nikko were designed by the Dallas-based firms of Mayse & Associates Inc. and WDG Architecture Inc. KWA Construction LP, also from Dallas, is the general contractor for both developments. The projects, each estimated at $6 million, will deliver in first quarter 2008 on 24,000-sf tracts that once held the 1960s-era second and third phases of the Manhattan Apartments.
With 105 units on the docket for Oak Lawn, Carnahan says he downsized the Alix and Nikko so they would not be so competitive with the Haven, where units go from 1,000 sf to 1,600 sf and prices are $190,000 to $300,000. The upcoming projects will have units ranging from 1,000 sf to 1,350 sf and sale tags of $180,000 to $270,000. "There are more people in the $200,000 price range than $300,000 to $500,000," Carnahan says of the shift in pricing too.
Carnahan's scouting missions for new neighborhoods have also led him to Oak Cliff and the Cedars areas in addition to East Dallas. "I'm always looking for more sites," he says. "I'm really stepping it up. My demand is really keeping up with the supply that I can put on the ground."
By Connie Gore

Upscale Restaurants Downtown


Whet your appetite or wet your whistle, but don't be a wet noodle. There's plenty of food, drink and entertainment Downtown. Discover a new D SPOT or see what's new at an old favorite. Check out Urban Market's Monday night bar-b-cues with live music on the patio, catch a game at the American Airlines Center or head out for a night on the town at Amuse, Craft or Stephan Pyles.

Amuse 1326 S. Lamar 214-428-7300 visit their website Come out to The Cedars and treat yourself to an American-Bistro dinner at Amuse. Dine on the patio and enjoy a panoramic view of the Downtown skyline.

Fuse 1512 Commerce Street214-742-3873 visit their website Asian simplicity melds with Texas boldness. Fuse joins Texas and Asian foods and spices in a hip, urban atmosphere. A restaurant and lounge located in the DP&L building on Commerce.

Stephan Pyles 1807 Ross Ave.214-580-7000 visit their website Head Chef Stephan Pyles provides an unparalleled dining experience to his customers. The design and atmosphere of Stephan Pyles matches the surrounding neighborhood and cuisine – distinctive, dramatic and delicious!

American Airlines Center 2500 Victory Ave.214-221-8326 visit their website This state-of-the-art arena has set a new standard for sports and entertainment and has become the premier venue of the South. AAC is the perfect place to catch a concert or watch a Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Stars game.

Victory Plaza 3040 Olive Street visit their website Full of retailers and restaurants like Quicksilver and Havana Social Club, Victory Plaza gives the Downtown crowd an array of entertainment options, and features the most sophisticated LED technology currently available in the world.

Trinity River Project

Vision Plan for the Trinity River