Developer Intends to Fill Old Dallas High School, Land With 510 Residential Units

OldDallasHighSchoolRenderings.jpg
Now that Sylvan Thirty's out of the way ...

We learned at the end of last week that Wynne/Jackson intends to turn the 105-year-old Dallas High School on Pearl and Bryan into an apartment complex -- that's on Landmark Commission's agenda this afternoon, as the developer's seeking around $923,000 in historic tax credits for the $10-million redo. But the council's Economic Development Committee just got its first look at the whole plan for the entire 5.42-acre site, much of which is barren at present.

Not only will the historic high school get a makeover ("125,058 gross sq. ft. planned for conversion to multi-family"), but Wynne/Jackson also intends to build three new residential buildings on the site -- 397,000 square feet worth. For the project, Wynne/Jackson's partnering with High Street Residential, a Trammell Crow subsidiary. And that's where the costs really pile up, as Wynne/Jackson guesstimates the new construction will run $40 million. And for that piece of this puzzle the developer's seeking a separate real property tax abatement: 90 percent over 10 years, which would amount to $2,859,200 in savings. Without those incentives, Zavitkovsky told the council, this project also wouldn't be viable.

"This project does not fit in any of the TIF areas," Zavitkovsky said to council when explaining the tax credits and abatement being requested for the project, which, right now, isn't quite yet a reality. (Wynne/Jackson merely has the property under contract; it's not theirs, not yet.)

"One of the things you can ascertain from the rendering," he said when referring to the drawing you see above, "is that the site is very tight and requires a significant amount of planing. There will be changes to the ingress and egress" that other City Hall departments are currently working through. Like a new Pearl Street ramp, for starters.

Zavitkovsky said Dallas County -- and John Wiley Price in particular -- is "excited" about the project as well and may get involved in the funding too, should the project meet county requirements. (All together now: Equity!)

Said Zavitkovsky, there are myriad reasons he's so tickled by this project: "We're preserving a historic landmark, we're putting 510 new units downtown, it's a TOD project right on the doorstep of the DART station and near the bus station and maintains the momentum John Crawford keeps bragging about."

Not a lot of questions from council, except for Sheffie Kadane, who couldn't tell from the rendering if the development maintains the historic facade. Clyde Jackson, CEO and namesake of Wynne/Jackson, reminded him: Well, ya know, because it's a city-designated historic landmark, "the entire front of the building will be restored back to its 1908 historic significant architecture." And some of that old architecture will be replicated throughout the new buildings.

"The idea is to create a campus-type environment, a place to come home to as opposed to just another apartment complex," he said. "We'll have four types of products, well-landscaped roadway and lots of spaces for people to congregate. We hope it creates a village." He said they will also restore the original auditorium: "It's very interesting, wonderful." Said Jerry Allen to Clyde and the rest of his family, who were also in attendance: "Hats off to you ... thanks very much for doing this."

And with the committee's OK, it's off to council we go.

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30 comments
Sam
Sam

I'm not going to complain about another 600-700 people or more living in downtown and saving an important historic landmark.  Maybe the design will be tweaked or revamped, but let's be thankful somebody is going to do this.  There are many parking lots downtown where a medium-size building would make sense.  In Paris 6-8 stories is the norm.

drdowell321
drdowell321

Great piece of real estate.  Should have been developed a long time ago.  Glad to see something finally happening to this property.

MikeyLikesIt
MikeyLikesIt

Why don't y'all quit bitching and try just a little love that this old Dallas landmark that has sat boarded up for over a decade is finally going to be utilized?  The thing has been rotting away for years because its owner was punishing the city for Landmarking it.  

Dalguy
Dalguy

Pack the residential to the east and south of the high school, but put some action at the corner of Bryan and Pearl, a cafe--not to mention a bar-- a couple of small shops and a small lively village plaza.  Give the project a beating heart.  Dallas is full of single-use projects surrounded by empty wide open spaces---including the Arts District.  What is shown in the rendering looks like the old Trammel Crow Village up at Northwest Highway and Skillman.  No thanks!

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

Would be great if they were affordable, but pardon if I don't hold mah breath..

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

This design belongs at the corner of The North Dallas Tollway and Legacy.  Not downtown.  And I don't understand Mr. Z's comment that this doesn't fit in any of the TIF areas.  There is a transit oriented development TIF for this very purpose.  And there is no information as to whether this fits within the City's budget caps for TIFs/tax abatements.  Or have we just thrown those out the window? They haven't made the case for a 90% over 10 years tax abatement.  Why not wait and see what Dallas County wants to offer?

Lora-x
Lora-x

It'll be interesting to see if anyone cares about the large tree out front of the school - that's older than the school - as much as they care about the building. I'm betting not.

Gabe
Gabe

A couple of points:

1) 510 units, 660 parking spaces, and direct, out the door, access to the rail. Not sure that adds up.

2) Why would the city not turn over or sell that parcel at the corner of Bryan and Pearl? It's not going to be a pocket park, it'll end up being useless "green space" which is really just a buffer from the street. Rather than giving as much cash, give the land to the developer on the condition that they build an enlarged "D Building".

3) That corner of Bryan of Pearl, especially the side facing Bryan, would be prime retail/cafe/bar space. Maybe even a full restaurant. It would get lots of business from the residents, the lunch crowd, people staying in the hotel across the street, and people getting on and off DART. 

Lee
Lee

Can Brent Brown and the City Design Studio get involved with the developer to bring a more urban feel to the project? While i am glad that the school will be saved and the area developed, the design is about as "street friendly" as the Plaza of the Americas, which ignores the street totally. 

SchluderStrip
SchluderStrip

Didn't everyone hear, this is the new local embassy for the proud country of Suburbia-Generica.

Rangers100
Rangers100

I like the fields of green trees next to the project.

Apparently they just cut and pasted this image from another suburban apartment complex project.

Alhzebra
Alhzebra

This same type of project done in Albuquerque, NM did wonders for the restoration of the old Albuquerque High School and the area around it.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Let me guess, they're going to do ground-floor retail that will sit at 25% occupancy after the second year.

It really does look like a suburb's "we can be urban too!" project. They should've just gone for a modern mid-height (15-20 story) residential tower to give a cool juxtaposition to the school building and leave some empty space for a park or common ground.

Stacy Phillips
Stacy Phillips

I am thrilled that this project is finally coming to light, however.....This is NOT good urban planning, I mean, what's up w/ all the green? Is that a fake mini river w/ a bridge too?......This is horrible, looks like something outta uptown or Plano.....Come on now....Downtown....Urban...med-tall  high rises, st interaction, and making the new buildings looks similar to the original building instead of being ultra modern will help too.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I like it. Seems to be about as dense as you could design it without going high-rise. The new buildings seem to face inward, which is disappointing, especially with the city planning an expansion of John Carpenter Park.

LaceyB
LaceyB

When JWP is "excited" about a project, you know it's a perfectly great idea "for the city".

Dallas_Dweller
Dallas_Dweller

I'm glad they're wanting to make it residential, but this is a major urban fail.  There's no street interaction and it looks like something that would go up in Frisco.  Back to the drawing boards....

Anon
Anon

There are plenty of places in downtown Dallas to congregate. Don't put them within the apartment complexes so people never leave. Seriously, absolutely no green space needed, or this is just another bland, boring suburban apartment complex new construction deal with lots of free money from the government.

Dennis Garza
Dennis Garza

How about them Albequerque Cowboys !!! Dallas is not Albequerque

Gabe
Gabe

They aren't doing any retail, near as I can tell. They should, maybe 2000-3000 feet^2 at the corner of Bryan and Pearl.

Replay
Replay

Maybe because most of the (new) buildings back-up to an elevated highway (nicely airbrushed out of the artist's rendering). There is nothing to see on that side of the buildings except a very, very close highway, with cars zooming by). I hope they are planning on very thick glass, and no balconies. The residents will never be able to stand the traffic noise, let alone sleep.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 I have a feeling Facing Inward is mostly a security consideration Kind of like a castle ?

Stacy Phillips
Stacy Phillips

There is absolutely nothing dense about this design....You want to see a good example of a dense building utilizing all space w/o going high rise.....West End Station and Jefferson at 1001 Ross

Anon
Anon

just because it's apartments doesn't make it "dense"

Montemalone
Montemalone

 Didn't you notice the part about being built by Trammell Crow? They just pulled the plans out of the file.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

As opposed to an office that will be empty after 5pm? Downtown needs more apartments and I wouldn't mind seeing every parking lot inside the CBD filled with these 4-6 story buildings, even if they are lazy designs.

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