Developers Intend to Turn Old Dallas High School Into a Residential Development

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The site in question
As we noted earlier in the week, the council's Economic Development Committee will be briefed Monday concerning plans for the old Dallas High School downtown. So too, turns out, will the Landmark Commission: The freshly posted agenda for Monday's 1 p.m. meeting reveals that developer Wynne/Jackson is looking to sink $10 million into the 105-year-old school alone and seeking in return historic tax exemptions worth around $923,000 spread over 10 years, which the city council would have to approve.

The docs filed with Landmark aren't specific about Wynne/Jackson's redevelopment plans, but there is a hint contained therein: Spaces asking about retail and office square footage are left blank, but the one concerning residential square footage is filled out: "TBD." And sources familiar with the deal say that the developers are planning on filling the property with other residential components that aren't part of the Landmark docs; after all, all Landmark's concerned with is the building itself (and the 25 feet surrounding it), not the rest of the five-acre property at Pearl and Bryan. But, again, we'll have to wait till tomorrow night to see the council briefing docs, which will contain conceptual renderings. Somebody got me a going-away present.

Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, wants to wait till those docs are made public tomorrow night before commenting on what specifically Wynne/Jackson has in mind. All he'll say on the subject is this, for now: "We are very happy to consider a project on this site after so many years with a high-quality development partner."

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11 comments
Travis Rex
Travis Rex

Will it be affordable?  Probably not.

Streetsmart
Streetsmart

I wonder how they are going to work the tax exemption around the DDDA Bonds that were sold to do the Mercantile deal? I think there are covenants that would prevent the city/county from offering a historic tax exemption (or any exemption for that matter).

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I would love to make some snarky remark about high-end condos fronting the deadly (but nicely rebranded) Arts District DART Station, but this project is too important. Best of luck to Wynne/Jackson and hope they have the vision and financial sense to profitably turn this area into a real neighborhood.

Anon
Anon

Will the tax exemption apply to the entire portion of the real estate, or just the section covered by the historic overlay? If it applies to the whole thing, this could be a huge play for some developer. Lock in dirt cheap multi-family residential financing (some of the only development financing available at attractive rates right now) and use it to get 10 years of tax abatement from the city on a brand new development in a reasonably attractive part of town. Throw in some financing on account of its proximity to DART and this thing looks great for a developer who can get the ear of the city.

Gabe
Gabe

I'm trying so hard not get my hopes up. This could be great, and it is certainly long awaited. 

Gabe
Gabe

I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure it would apply only to the building itself, not the whole five acres. 

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

Could also provide a link between that end of downtown, Farmers Market, Deep Ellum and the Arts District. More residents mean more development and cohesion.

Anon
Anon

well the exemption generally goes with the "property" but I'm not aware of any precedents where a completely new structure is built on the same site as the older building. I have an exemption on my home but it's not like I pay city taxes on the value that DCAD ascribes to the land below it.

Gabe
Gabe

There's not a great connection to Deep Ellum. Bryan street takes you around and back south to Live Oak, which then is one way west. The only way to get to Deep Ellum or east Dallas from this property by car is to go south on pearl to Pacific and then over. And as far as a pedestrian connection, it's pretty bad. I suppose you can wait for the train to take you one stop, but on who earth would want to walk there? 

Of course there's a solution staring everyone in the face: https://www.facebook.com/SaveD...

Gabe
Gabe

I had forgotten about that! Excellent point, two way-ing (it's a verb now, ok) Live Oak will help immensely with connection by wheel. Not sure if it will help with connection by foot, but I hope it does. The ramps inbetween the overpasses makes walking underneath at Bryan both dangerous and illegal (no sidewalk), so Live Oak is still the only pedestrian connection. The exit ramp on the west side means that you either have to walk underneath the underpass for nearly 1/4 mile, or go almost all the way to Pearl and Live Oak before turning east. Neither is friendly. 

William Addington
William Addington

Well you might want to check out the Pearl/Cesar Chavez redo the city has planned to start construction this year. It will straighten out Pearl Expressway and Cesar Chavez Blvd removing the one way messes in that area. It will also add wide sidewalks for pedestrians and will also convert Live Oak to a two street from Good Latimer to Harwood Street.

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