Everyone seems to agree upon the need to replace the outdated townhomes on the northwest corner of the potentially lucrative intersection of Forest Lane and Inwood Road.
The difficulty in reaching a consensus among the landowners, potential investors, and local residents is exactly what should take its place. But the developers of the Forestwood mixed-use plan seem to have reached a compromise with concerned homeowners that could facilitate a new life for the corner.
One complication is that the Daniel family, which has owned the land for 160 years, won’t sell it. The family developed the townhomes just south of Jesuit College Preparatory School about 40 years ago, and has operated them since.
“This land means a lot to us. The apartments that our fathers and grandfathers built are old and outdated,” said Richard Daniel, managing partner of Daniel Brothers LLP. “We need a new plan that’s commercially viable and a new plan that enhances the community and the neighborhood.”
BY THE NUMBERS
160 years the Daniel family has owned the land.
28 acres the Daniels hope to lease to Greystar and Regency Centers.
6.3 acres Jesuit would acquire for practice fields and parking.
208 units in current complex.
325 units in new projected complex.
The Daniels hope to lease 28 acres to Greystar and Regency Centers for a project that would consist of 325 townhomes and flats, along with 80,000 square feet of retail space with a 25,000-square-foot anchor tenant — likely a specialty grocer.
The battle between residents and developers over the future of the intersection dates back to 2007, when a plan called for 447 residential units, with four-story buildings, 110,000 square feet of retail, and a six-story parking garage.
Neighbors likewise objected to many aspects of the current concept when it was first presented last fall. But the latest compromise seems to have alleviated many of those concerns, such as building heights, reduction in anchor tenant space, tree preservation, and construction materials.
Greystar would build a combination of luxury townhomes and flats ranging from 2-3 stories and from one to four bedrooms, with mostly brick exteriors. The current complex has 208 units, mostly three or four bedrooms.
“This enables us to offer the widest range of price points,” said Laird Sparks, Greystar managing director, adding those rental rates could range from $1,100 to $4,500 per month.
Regency Centers, which also operates the nearby Preston Oaks Shopping Center, would design the retail segment to target specialty stores and eateries, with wide sidewalks and enhanced landscaping.
As part of the agreement, Jesuit would take over 6.3 acres just south of its existing campus to use for athletic practice fields and parking.
Sparks said all existing leases at Forestwood would be honored and new leases would be available until a rezoning case is filed with the city of Dallas.
“We were told we won’t be able to afford to move back into this community,” said Forestwood resident Shirley Jefferson.
Greystar officials said they would plan to assist existing residents with relocation plans.
“I hope the developers will be willing to work with the current residents to alleviate the hardship,” said Tom Walker, who lives on Willow Lane. “Please consider the human element along with the financial.”
Traffic is an ongoing concern at the intersection, where it’s increased 21 percent on Forest and 14 percent on Inwood since 2007.
“Any redevelopment is going to increase traffic,” said attorney Bill Dahlstrom. “We believe this development will be worth it.”
The Daniel family also owns the northeast corner of the intersection, which includes Liberty Burger and other shops and restaurants, plus an antique mall that might also be a target for redevelopment. On the southeast corner, Comerica Bank is in the middle of a long-term lease.
“This is a great plan,” said Liberty Burger owner Gene Street, who has lived in Preston Hollow for 30 years. “Restaurants and grocery stores really give a lot back to the community. Competition is so good for the restaurant business.”
Daniel said he looks forward to revitalizing the land that has been so valuable to his family since before the Civil War.
“We have an emotional interest here. This is not just a financial decision,” Daniel said. “Now is the time for this generation to do something for our kids and our grandkids.”