Monday, September 15, 2014

Leland Burk Buys Highland House Site in Preston Center from Crosland

8315 Westchester
Well this was a shocker: former City Council candidate Leland Burk has purchased the Preston Doctor’s Center building on Westchester, the one where Crosland Group was planning to build a luxury high rise called the Highland House. And the plans have been withdrawn along with the re-zoning request.
In his article, Dallas Morning News reporter Tom Benning makes it sound like Laura Miller single handedly stopped the Highland House project dead in its tracks. (Wonder if she handed him the story?) Have no idea what Burk plans to build, certainly going to dial him up lickety split. According to Benning’s story,
The former City Council candidate said that while he still envisions a residential high-rise for the site, he wanted to restart the process and develop community support through the planned land-use study.
“We withdrew the plan to provide a clear canvas for the study,” he said, explaining that his company didn’t plan to move forward with any zoning changes until the study comes to fruition. “Because it was controversial.”
Any building will be on hold, anyhow, pending the land-use study that the city council member for the district, Jennifer Gates, has initiated. It’s the first in-depth look at Preston Center in 25 years, and one hopes it is done objectively. Love Preston Center dearly, but frankly, the west side is a big hot mess. We thought Crosland’s development would have been an improvement.
Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates said she’s been working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to identify funding for the study, which could look at everything from mobility to traffic-use patterns to the area’s building stock.
This is probably good politically, as Burk may not be as bogged down as the Crosland people. Major concerns really came from Park Cities residents who feared more traffic in the area as well as a possible influx of students into the already- bursting-at-the-seams Highland Park schools.
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Highland House
Laura Miller complained about the height of the building, comparing it to Reunion Tower, which is 561 feet tall and the 15th tallest building in Dallas. Museum Tower, for reference, is 560 feet tall and houses 42 floors.Crosland had planned on 29 stories, which were reduced to 23.
Laura Miller and Steve Wolens own a unit on the 16th floor of  The Athena, well Steve does, 21 stories tall, next to the 29 story Preston Tower, a few blocks north of the Westchester building site. The buildings have been there since the 1960′s.
As for the future of that OTHER Preston Center property…The Athena