Tuesday, July 01, 2008

First apartments in Dallas Arts District going up

Construction has begun on the first apartment community in downtown Dallas' booming Arts District.

Developer JPI is building the midrise complex on Routh Street across from the new Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.

he project will contain 228 apartments in a modern-style building that stretches along Ross Avenue.

"We look at Ross Avenue as a gateway to downtown, and that gateway will drastically change in the next two years," said Brad Taylor, JPI's senior vice president and regional manager.

JPI bought land on both sides of Ross west of North Central Expressway. The Arts District apartment project will be its first effort to redevelop an area that was formerly used mostly for parking lots and auto repair.

Designed by architect Preston Partnership of Atlanta, the six-story building will have an exterior of multi-color stucco with balconies overlooking the streets.

The ground floor and basement of the building will be used for parking.

"We designed it very modern to be a key piece in the district," Mr. Taylor said.

"We only have one shot at the Arts District."

The first apartments will open in early 2010. Rents will average $1,800.

The complex will have a cyber lounge, a fitness center, a resort-style pool and an outdoor lounge with a fireplace.

JPI has a larger piece of property on the south side of Ross outside the district where it can build 242 more units in a second phase.

The developer's Jefferson at the Arts District building is next door to One Arts Plaza – a high-rise that contains retail, office and condominium units.

And the $338 million performing arts center is being built to the west between Routh and Leonard streets.

"By the time we deliver our first apartment units, pretty much everything will be finished," Mr. Taylor said.

"We think our timing is pretty good."

The project is one of two JPI is building downtown. At Ross and Market Street, the developer is constructing its 146-unit West End Station, a five-story apartment building.

"We'll have the first residents moving into the West End project in September," Mr. Taylor said.

JPI has been a pioneer in city center apartment construction, developing the first new projects in the Victory neighborhood, in North Oak Cliff and in Deep Ellum.

"We've built 2,942 units in eight close-in projects," Mr. Taylor said.

JPI was founded in Irving in 1989 and is one of the country's largest apartment developers, with about 40,000 units managed and leased.

By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News