Friday, July 17, 2015

Dallas’ old industrial district along Trinity getting apartments, retail

Just yards from the Trinity River and near downtown Dallas, construction crews are busy building a new block of apartments.
Trammell Crow Residential’s latest apartment development is the first luxury rental community in the area between Riverfront Boulevard and the Trinity.
For sure, it won’t be the last.
With development spreading through the Dallas Design District and in West Dallas, the old Trinity industrial district along Riverfront Boulevard is ripe for a reboot.
“Our view of downtown Dallas, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the river will be unmatched,” said Crow Residential’s Steve Bancroft. “We are the first multifamily developer to do a project on the west side of Riverfront.
“We think what’s happening in the Design District is creating a residential area,” he said. “We wanted to be on the front end of this.”
Crow Residential’s six-story building will open in about 18 months in the 100 block of Turtle Creek Boulevard with more than 300 apartments.
The building will tower over the Trinity River levee, with a parking garage on the lower floors.
Bancroft said development of the new Trinity Strand Trail hike and bike pathway is opening up the area. The pedestrian and cycling trail connects the area with the Katy Trail and Uptown.
“Our development site is already within walking distance of restaurants and bars,” Bancroft said.
The old commercial and industrial quarter northwest of downtown Dallas, along what used to be Industrial Boulevard, was built mostly in the 1940s and 1950s.
Developer Trammell Crow Co. got its start decades ago from where the apartment building is going up.
“We know that area very well,” Bancroft said. “Mr. Crow built his first warehouse there in 1947 on Cole Street.”
In the last decade or so, many of the old warehousing and commercial buildings have been converted to showrooms, offices and workspaces to house creative companies.
Crow Residential’s project is being built on one of the few vacant tracts in the area, which is chockablock with small, one-story buildings.
“We’ve heard there are other apartment developers looking in the area,” Bancroft said. “But there are not a lot of tracts to develop in the industrial district.
“You have to buy existing buildings with tenants in them, and it’s expensive.”
Developer and investor Jim Lake Jr. said there is a lot of interest in the area but limited opportunity to buy up properties.
“The area has become a hotbed for individuals to buy these small buildings and renovate them,” said Lake, who owns properties in the area. “You have fragmented ownership, and it’s hard to assemble a development site.”
Commercial real estate firm Carlisle Interests bought a triangular block of rundown commercial buildings at Riverfront and Oak Lawn Avenue.
The veteran property development and investment firm has torn down part of the block and is rebuilding with new restaurant and retail space.
“It’s not a big deal, but it was a nice opportunity,” said Carlisle founder John Pearcy. “That area is seeing lots of changes.
“Our property ought to be ready later this year.”
The biggest development site in that area is at 505 Riverfront Blvd., at the entrance to the landmark Calatrava-designed bridge.
A partnership headed by Dallas businessman Dale Foster owns about 40 acres on both sides of the bridge at Riverfront.
The investors have hired design and engineering firm BURY Inc. to look at development options for the land.
“Hopefully we’ll have something to talk about concerning the property soon,” Foster said.    
Steve Brown/ Dallas Morning News