Monday, September 29, 2014

Trammell Crow eyes Uptown restaurant site for 20-story apartment and retail tower


An expanded facility for the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, including a trolley barn, is part of the plan.
A familiar Uptown property is being eyed for a new high-rise project.
Trammell Crow Co. is seeking zoning permits to build a vertical mixed-use development on the Cafe Express site at McKinney Avenue and Bowen Street.
The single-floor Dallas restaurant occupies a tract of more than an acre that’s zoned for high-rise office and retail construction.
Crow Co. says the planned project at 3230 McKinney Ave. will have 271 apartments in a 20-story tower.
There will be 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, including a spot for Cafe Express.
Crow will also build an expanded facility for the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority. The streetcar line would get new trolley barn space, offices and an exhibit area in the building on Bowen Street.
The developer has been quietly working on the project for more than a year.
“It’s taken a lot of time to put together,” Crow senior vice president Joel Behrens said. “The cafe has a great restaurant, and they like that spot.”
The restaurant has operated on the busy corner since 1996.
Cafe Express would move in the new retail to a space that faces McKinney. The apartment tower will be moved to the back of the lot on Oak Grove Avenue.
“We think it creates for a better street scene to push the tower back off of McKinney,” Behrens said. “We didn’t want a massive structure coming up on the whole site.”
Crow’s zoning application asks for more density in the building. The request does not involve the additional height of the project. “With the height, we are planning on staying under what’s already allowed,” Behrens said.
“The current zoning doesn’t allow a trolley barn,” he said. “We learned they were actively looking for a site where they [the transit authority] could build a trolley barn for their expansion.”
The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority is currently enlarging its route through downtown Dallas.
“Adding another trolley, barn space and a museum with leadership offices has been a goal of ours for years, but the opportunity to do it the right way has never presented itself,” Phil Cobb, founder of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, said in a statement. “This space adjacent to where we are currently headquartered is exactly what we needed to realize the vision and grow.”
Good Fulton & Farrell designed Crow’s planned McKinney Avenue mixed-use development, which includes a swimming pool and recreation deck with a view of downtown.
If the project gets the nod from city planners, construction would start next year, Behrens said.
The development is one of two large projects Trammell Crow has in the works in Uptown. Crow and partner Metropolitan Life Insurance plan to build two towers in a mixed-use development at Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Pearl Street overlooking Klyde Warren Park.
By Steve Brown
     stevebrown@dallasnews.com