Dallas' popular Knox Street business district is set for a makeover with a major new project.
The owners of Weir's Furniture and Atlanta-based developer Geyer Morris Co. plan to build a high-rise retail and office development on the site of the almost 70-year-old store.
For several months, the Weir family and the developers have worked to design the project, which preserves the Highland Park Soda Fountain building — more than a century old — on the corner of Knox and Travis streets.
"We are focused on saving that soda fountain building — that's been an original desire of ours," said Geyer Morris' Justin Schoellkopf. "We've let this dictate the design of the rest of the project."
Architects GFF and ArchiTexas have designed a mixed-use development that would wrap around the two-story soda fountain building.
The lower floors would have retail and office and step back from the street to a 12-story office high-rise.
Parking for the 50,000 square feet of retail space and offices in the tower would be in a six-level underground garage.
"It's expensive, but we wanted to do it," Schoellkopf said.
The planned building would be the first major office addition to the Knox Street area since the 1980s.
Schoellkopf said the offices would be tailored for family businesses, companies that want to be close to the next-door Park Cities and other firms.
Construction could start as soon as late next year.
Weir's would close its Knox Street location temporarily while the development is underway, said CEO Mark Moore.
"This is our birthplace," Moore said. "It's always been our family's vision to stay here."
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.
R1070 wrote:Also remember On the Border will be moving to downtown so that the lot on Knox can be redeveloped.
R1070 wrote:The On the Border and Kate Spade buildings with rear parking would go for a mixed use development and C&B is supposed to stay put. The On The Border is said to open in the West End area next year.
cowboyeagle05 wrote:That's two towers supposedly coming next to each other here. the Sarofim Residential/Retail at Travis and Knox and this Weirs Office Tower. Also, Restoration Hardware will build out a denser hotel on their land down the block.
Highland Park is going to be pissed if both the Sarofim and Weirs Tower get built. The attack of the 10-12 story towers!!! Oh the humanity.
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