Anxious to Develop Area 'Round Main Street Garden, Dallas Cuts Forest City a Good Deal
|Little-known fact: In 1964, the second floor of the Continental Building was the HQ for the FBI's Dallas operations. You can look it up.|
The originally plan called for 140-160 condos, 9,000 square feet of retail, 350 parking spaces -- and capped tax increment financing, out of the Downtown Connection TIF District, at $10 million. The new deal for the project, guesstimated to cost $57.1 million, dramatically alters the plan: Forest City will have to build no fewer than 180 residential units (20 percent of which will have to provide affordable housing), but it has also reduced the retail footprint to 5,000 square feet and the number of parking spaces to 250 ("to correct a typographical error in the original agreement," hunh). And, most notably, the new agreement will "increase the aggregate limit on City funding from $10,000,000 to $22,528,288." To get the dough, Forest City, among other things, has to be moved in by December 31, 2011, and get half the retail leased.
As Karl Zavitkovsky, head of Economic Development, told Unfair Park last month, this property is prime; no way the city lets it lie fallow forever. As it he put it: "That whole area there is a top priority for us getting it redeveloped. You've got the Merc, Neimans, the [Main Street Garden] park, the UNT law school and, of course, the Grand Hotel needs to get help. ... The thought is, if you're able to impact an area significantly, it's going to have some positive effects in surrounding areas. We're doing everything we can to focus scarce resources to help that part of downtown."