Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Apartment boom has gobbled up acres of Dallas-area development tracts
Out in Irving to the east of State Highway 114, thousands of apartments are springing up on the banks of Lake Carolyn.
Back in the 1980s — when Las Colinas was first planned as North Texas’ new urban center on the prairie — drawings show that land covered with skyscrapers.
Developers back in the day envisioned this would be a mini-Manhattan with enough office towers to rival downtown Dallas.
Of course, several real estate crashes put the quash on those grand plans.
And today those former office tower sites are chockablock with rental housing.
It’s the same story in Dallas’ booming Uptown District, where high-rise building sites of yesteryear are now sprouting acres of apartments.
Just up the hill from Turtle Creek on Cedar Springs Road, construction is under way on a midrise rental complex.
Back in the 1980s, developers wanted to build 30-story office buildings on that tract.
And over on McKinney Avenue, a block that’s zoned for a 24-story tower is being developed instead for agrocery store and — you guessed it — more apartments.
With about 20,000 apartment units under construction in North Texas and more on the way, developers are vigorously competing for well-located construction sites.
“People are buying everything they can to build more apartments,” said longtime Dallas broker Newt Walker.
The frenzy has reached the point that other developers are fretting about what will be left when the apartment boom is finished.
“So many good retail sites are being developed as apartments,” Herb Weitzman, chairman of retail real estate firm Weitzman Group, mentioned at his company’s recent shopping center seminar. “The challenge is retail land is so scarce and very expensive.”
Indeed, that’s the real story. There are still plenty of building sites in the Dallas area to be redeveloped, but at what cost?
Development sites in Uptown, for instance, are running more than $100 per square foot.
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