Council Approves Transwestern Project

This luxury apartment complex is coming soon. (Rendering: Dodd Communications)
This luxury apartment complex is coming soon. (Rendering: Dodd Communications)

After almost two years of controversy, compromises, and neighborhood meetings, Transwestern has been given final approval for its luxury apartment complex at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway.

The Dallas City Council passed the developer’s latest concept on Tuesday, clearing the way for construction at the site to begin early next year.

“I think this is a good project for the neighborhood,” said council member Lee Kleinman. “The developer spent a long time with the neighborhood working with amenities and concessions.”

The project will replace a complex of 34 outdated condominiums on the property, known as Town House Row. The Transwestern complex consists of 164 units with building heights ranging from three to four stories.

Mark Culwell, Transwestern managing director of multifamily development, said after Tuesday’s vote that after the purchase of the land closes, the existing condos likely will be demolished in late January. Then 22 months of construction could begin as soon as March.

The rezoning request included just the southern portion of the 3.5-acre property, for which Transwestern requested a one-floor variance in building height, as well as allowances for increased density and lot coverage. Previous zoning allowed for 60 fewer units on that same property. The Dallas City Plan Commission passed the proposal in September.

The approval comes almost two years after Transwestern first announced plans to redevelop the site with a proposal that included eight-story buildings and 296 total units. When that proposal met with significant resistance from the surrounding neighborhood, the developer organized several community meetings and introduced a series of compromises, and has since won the support of many of those skeptics.

“This is important to many of us behind the Pink Wall,” said Ann Rushing, a nearby resident on Bandera Avenue.

The complex includes no surface parking, wide sidewalks, significant landscaping, and a left-turn lane from Preston Road to Averill Way in order to facilitate traffic flow. Access to the underground parking garage would be off Averill, and not Preston.

Still, the increased traffic remained a concern for opponents of the project, including the possibility of cut-through traffic on east-west side streets such as Bandera and Del Norte Lane.

“I’m all for development, but I truly wish they could keep this at three stories,” said Morjorie Shor, who lives on Averill. “I don’t know how we’re going to be able to sustain all those people living in this area.”

The land also sits within a larger area under consideration from the Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Plan task force, a group of volunteers appointed by the city whose task is creating guidelines to shape future development around Preston Center. The task force won’t have its final recommendations ready until next spring, at the earliest.

But the city is not required to wait until the task force completes its work before proceeding with rezoning or other development requests, as in this case.

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