After months of recession-induced stagnation, transit-oriented development around Dallas’ Green Line has picked up significantly, according to The Dallas Morning News:
Commuters riding DART’s Green Line have watched for months as work crews build the first apartments next to downtown Carrollton’s transit center.
And in just weeks, the tenants will start arriving at the 179-unit project on Main Street south of Belt Line Road.
“There will be residents moving in at the end of July — it’s coming up quick,” said Joel Behrens, senior vice president of developer High Street Residential. “We’ll have the whole thing finished up by the end of October.”
And the developer has already signed leases on the rental units, before completion.
“We are definitely looking at building more apartments in another phase,” Behrens said.
Eighteen months after the light-rail line linking Carrollton and Farmers Branch to Dallas opened, development along the rail corridor is picking up.
Builders and city planners had hoped to have the first transit-oriented developments ready in Carrollton and Farmers Branch by the time the train pulled into the stations at the end of 2010. But the economic downturn and tight lending derailed those intentions.
“We did see a slowdown in the recession, and it was tough to get financing,” said Peter Braster, transit-oriented development manager for the city of Carrollton. “But we couldn’t be more happy now.”
Braster said he’s hoping that High Street Residential will begin additional apartments in downtown Carrollton late this year.
The first phase of construction includes about 5,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor of the four-story building.
Carrollton is also working with Jancor, another developer, which wants to build apartments on five acres next to the Frankford Road station.
Braster said the builder “should be applying for building permits any day for apartments, with some offices along the bottom.”
Farther south on the train line in downtown Farmers Branch, developers have broken ground for one project and another is in the works.
Canadian developer Western Securities is building 257 apartments just east of the Farmers Branch rail station. The Mustang Station rental complex will open in mid-2013.
“They have the construction trailer out there and will be starting work next week,” said Farmers Branch economic development director John Land. “That will be the catalyst project for the area.”
Western Securities plans to build 10,000 square feet of retail space in its second phase of the Mustang Station project, which was designed by BGO Architects.
“We have a lot of other folks interested in doing a project but wanted to see something come out of the ground first,” he said.
A high-volume homebuilder has stepped up with plans to do an urban-style project just south of the Farmers Branch station.
K. Hovnanian Homes will build 29 houses priced from $250,000.
“They should be starting in September,” Land said. “They have a beautiful design with a pocket park and a water feature.”
Even with recent gains, it’s tough to do these kinds of developments, said Jack Wierzenski, DART’s economic development director.
“I’m hearing a lot of talk, but limited going-forward,” Wierzenski said. “I’m hearing from developers that the banks aren’t lending without high equity requirements, and demanding it upfront.”
Investors and lenders are also starting to fret over the flurry of recent apartment starts in the Dallas area, he said.
“Equity investors are asking the same question: Who’s renting all of these?”
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