Friday, April 13, 2012

Billingsley starts work on ambitious Dallas rental development

An overhead shot shows the construction under way on Cypress Waters near North Lake. Utililty companies previously owned the acreage.
Cypress Waters may turn out to be North Texas’ biggest rental home community yet.
Developer Billingsley Co. has started construction on the 1,000-acre development, with the first 673 apartments expected to be ready by early 2013.
Eventually, thousands of residences, mostly apartments, will be built on the north side of LBJ Freeway facing North Lake.
“We have the potential to build 10,000 units here, so we needed to start this project in a major way,” developer Lucy Billingsley said. “Our hope and dream is we build a master-planned rental living community.”
The project has been a long time in the making.
Billingsley bought the property surrounding North Lake almost eight years ago from utility companies. During the 1950s, the reservoir was built by Dallas Power and Light Co. to provide cooling for its electric plant on Belt Line Road.
Decades later, the property, surrounded by Irving and Coppell but in Dallas’ city limits, was developed for recreation, with parks, fishing and boating.
“This is where everyone went for years to water ski,” Billingsley said. “And my kids used to practice running for track meets out there.”
In 2004, the electric utilities agreed to sell the property to Billingsley, who began planning to develop it.
The surrounding suburbs initially opposed the project and sued to stop construction.
But in 2008, the builder and city governments settled their differences. Since then, Billingsley Co. has been working to plan the property and design the first rental units.
Close to work, roads
“This is one of the largest in-fill development sites in America,” Billingsley said. “It is a site close to tremendous employment, freeways and great neighborhoods.
“In the first phase, we are building three different neighborhoods,” she said.
Designed by WDG Architecture, the buildings will range from high-end townhouse-style units to contemporary Texas-themed designs.
Each project will have a different feel and will tie in with walking trails and other features, including resort-style swimming pools, project manager Tom Holland said.
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