Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Editorial: Why new homebuilding in West Dallas, North Oak Cliff is so critical

  /Staff Photo
Nearly three years after the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, West Dallas and North Oak Cliff are hot real estate markets.
While this might sound like a chicken-or-egg question — which comes first, housing or residents? — the answer is clear: It’s housing, especially single-family homes, that is key to a neighborhood’s rebirth. Fresh signs of that rebirth are showing up in West Dallas and North Oak Cliff.
Austin-based PSW Homes recently announced plans to build 60 homes on a 5-acre site at Seale Street and Willomet Avenue near the Belmont Hotel, the first new home development proposed in West Dallas in years. It’s a potential game-changer for an area in which developers already have begun to build hundreds of rental apartment units.
Not far away, for example, developer StreetLights Residential and Stonelake Capital Partners are planning hundreds of apartments, retail and homes on a 25-acre old industrial tract on Singleton Boulevard near Sylvan Avenue. Likewise, developer InTown Homes plans to build homes on the 22-acre site of the former Colorado Place apartments at Colorado Boulevard and Fort Worth Avenue in North Oak Cliff.
It’s clear that, nearly three years after the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, West Dallas and North Oak Cliff are hot real estate markets. In addition to these homebuilding projects in the works, several other major developers are rolling out ambitious plans for multifamily, market-rate housing projects to replace vacant lots, crumbling structures and industrial sites. Within the next couple of years, about 1,000 market-rate apartment units are on tap to be built in the area roughly bordered by Commerce Street, Sylvan Avenue and Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas.
Freshly minted apartment units are important, but new homes represent a different level of commitment to a neighborhood and its school district. As a newspaper that has long urged economic redevelopment in neighborhoods south of the Trinity River, we see these as critical developments.
This boom could have a significant effect in Oak Cliff and an even greater impact in West Dallas. Banks, grocery stores and other vital businesses and services are likely to follow, generating economic benefits and stabilizing neighborhoods. That’s what happened in the West Village. When housing hit a certain threshold, retailers opened businesses and services to support the new residents.
A neighborhood-appropriate version of that pattern appears to be taking hold in North Oak Cliff and West Dallas, now, too — a great sign for neighborhood rebirth.
From The Dallas Morning News