Monday, March 05, 2012

Downtown Dallas housing at halfway point to critical mass

Kye R. Lee/Staff Photographer
The downtown skyline can be seen from the rooftop of the Canton Street Townhomes, a development by InTown Homes. Downtown is now home to almost 5,300 residences.
Real Estate Editor

Kristin Hamlin bought her downtown Dallas townhouse before the model was complete.
“My work requires me to be near downtown quite often,” said Hamlin, who had rented for a couple of years before deciding to purchase her new townhouse on Canton Street near the Farmers Market.
“I thought this was also an up-and-coming area that would make a good investment,” said Hamlin, a wine sales rep. “Since I have moved in and have lived here for a year, I am most happy to say my instincts were correct.”
Hamlin’s townhouse is one of almost 5,300 residential units completed in Dallas’ central business district.
That’s about half the total number that city planners say will be necessary for downtown to take off as a viable residential district.
“We estimate that we now have about 7,400 residents in the central business district,” said John Crawford, who heads the economic development group Downtown Dallas Inc. “I usually mention 10,000 to 12,000 residential units for the central business district to achieve critical mass.
“The good news is that we continue to make progress and the residential component plays a big role in our revitalization efforts.”
An additional 600-plus homes, for rent and for sale, are in the works in a handful of downtown projects.
The biggest of these is the 203-unit apartment conversion of the 61-year-old Mercantile Continental building at Commerce and St. Paul streets.
Jim Truitt, senior vice president of developer Forest City Texas, said the Continental building will open a year from now.
Forest City has already developed the 15-story Element apartment building downtown on Main Street and converted the historic Mercantile National Bank Tower into 215 loft apartments.
42 stories to fill
The most visible downtown Dallas residential project, the 42-story Museum Tower condominiums, is to open late this year.
“Sales are going quite well,” said developer John Sughrue. “Our model residences will be available for touring the end of the first quarter, and a test residence on our third floor is pretty much complete.”
Developer Hamilton Properties, which has done more downtown housing projects than any other real estate firm, is building one apartment building and working on plans for another.
Hamilton’s 107-unit Lone Star Lofts project is at Jackson and St. Paul streets.
“The first phase should be ready in mid-April; we are two months ahead of schedule,” said Ted Hamilton.
Hamilton Properties is also trying to get going on a 164-unit low-income housing development in a formerChevrolet showroom at 901 S. Ervay St.

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