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Alliance Goes Round 3 With Oak Lawn Committee, Offers New Vision for Armstrong And Cole Project

You may recall the two prior OLC meetings where this project on Armstrong and Cole from Alliance Residential was presented (here, here). It was a thuddingly dense building with 340 apartments in a combined five- and seven- story design. The lot was crowded and crammed with what appeared to be wall-to-wall units.
Last night, they returned with a vastly different configuration. The same 340-unit density, but they siphoned units off the back 80 percent of the lot and placed them in a high-rise on Armstrong Avenue. This left the very northern part of the property with a 22-story, 240-foot high-rise with the remainder of the property within MF-2’s height of three stories. It was a pretty neat trick that I personally thought was a heck of a lot better than the prior iterations.

The tower could either face east-west or north-south. Personally, the north-south configuration looked better to me, but I’m just an audience member at these shindigs. I’m showing both so you can have your own armchair opinions. Sure, a tower is probably more controversial for some, but I liked the freer space in the back and thought it was a decent trade-off.

Of course, I’m not the keeper of the keys of PD-193, so the OLC’s ultimate thoughts may not mesh with my more short-term, eye candy impressions.

They also came to the table with a seemingly more generous affordable housing component to the plan. What was 10 units for folks making <80 percent of the median income in Dallas has been upped to a full 10 percent of their 340 units (that’s 34 for the coffee deprived). And these tenants would only have to make <50 percent of the median income and they’d take vouchers.

The OLC had a lot of questions on the affordable component specifically revolving around the longevity of these units’ availability in the program. They didn’t want the developer to sell the project and have the affordable units vanish. Alliance representatives said that they’d write it into their zoning so they’d be there as long as the building stood. Good answer.

The other more telling, and saddening, question was whether the city had formulated wording for this type of affordable component being inserted into a development. No. The City of Dallas remains too lazy to even get guidelines ironed out and available to developers, let alone actual policies. “Stuck in committee” is the catch-all phrase most used.

After the OLC was done peppering their questions, I had one question … the last iteration had one-bedroom units whose walls didn’t reach the ceiling (no window). Do those units now have a window in their bedrooms that allow them to have four to-the-ceiling walls? Unfortunately, the Alliance representative had left before I could buttonhole him after the meeting.

Original Design

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Dallas High School Restoration Adds Downtown Housing, as Knox-Henderson Apartment Proposal Regroups

As Towers reported in December, Alliance Residential’s initial concept for a high-rise in Knox-Henderson got a thumbs-down from the Oak Lawn Committee.

Alliance and its architect, GFF, have since come out with a down-scaled project they hope will be more compatible with the neighbors. Alliance is still going for a 335-unit project at the southeast corner of Armstrong and Cole Avenues, but the plan is to go to seven stories across the street from the 17-story Highland Park Place office tower and ratchet down to five stories as the structure extends south to Olive Street and into single-family residential territory.

Another peace offering to the neighbors is a 10 percent apportionment — 34 units — of affordable housing. Tenants in the affordable units would have to make 80 percent or less of the area median household income to qualify.

The City Plan Commission has yet to consider the concept.
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