Three Years After City's $850K, Lancaster Corridor Apartments Still Abandoned, Choked With Weeds

Categories: Housing

OakglenApartments.JPG
The Oakglen Apartments circa 2011, when the City Council chipped in $850,000 toward a proposed redevelopment. It looks much the same now.
The Oakglen Apartments are, for lack of a better term, a craphole. Long-abandoned with boarded-up windows and, unless City Hall made good on its promise to mow the city-owned property on Wednesday after WFAA ran a story about neighbors' complaints, completely choked with brush and weeds.

It's not supposed to be like this. We don't mean in the abstract sense that apartments are built to be inhabited or that property owners, city of Dallas included, are supposed to keep their properties up to code. We mean there were concrete plans, and that those plans were funded with $850,000 in the city's HUD money. Today, the 64-unit Oakglen Apartments are supposed to look something more like this:

OakGlenRender.JPG

Piecing together exactly what happened isn't easy, as neither the city nor the developer has returned our calls, but the broad strokes are easy to follow. On February 23, 2011, the City Council approved the loan to a North Carolina-based nonprofit called Builders of Hope, a rookie on the Dallas housing scene that should not be confused with the well-established, well-respected local nonprofit Builders of Hope CDC.

Builders of Hope's Dallas arm was EcoLogical Community Builders, which was established by Oak Cliff stalwarts Zac Lytle and the late Bennett Miller. The group also got $200,000 to rehab residences on Starks Avenue in the Bexar Street corridor into senior and workforce housing. Aside from the DISD portable they repurposed into a house, that also failed to get off the ground.

Property records show that BOH/ECB did indeed buy the Oakglen property with the HUD funds, but the rest of the proposed $2.6 million redevelopment never happened. Why? Perhaps the property needed more work than the nonprofit thought. Perhaps rehabbing properties in blighted parts of southern Dallas is a different beast than in a gentrifying Oak Cliff. In any case, the city's back to square one.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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18 comments
lebowski300
lebowski300

Q.  What happens when you rub a steaming pile of poo with a stack of $850,000?

A. A bigger pile of poo, still steaming.

mcdallas
mcdallas

Would love to hear Zac's take on this...

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Eric, 

WHO GOT THE 850 GRAND?

Do you think maybe someone could call the cops or the feds and report another white collar crime?


James080
James080

When ever Dallas throws money at a problem to make it go away,

the only thing that goes away is the money.

highdraw_
highdraw_

HUD needs to come clean house in Dallas, its really sickening and getting to a point where its making HUD look worse than Dallas. HUD is charged with monitoring and enforcing its laws, which they are not doing. 


HUD should be as culpable as Dallas at this point, enough already!.  

smiling1809
smiling1809

HUD needs to seize the land, tear down the apartments, and sell the land to a developer. The non-profit needs to be barred from ever receiving HUD money again. 


primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

That does not look like a 2.6mm development. From whom was it purchased?

Greg820
Greg820

It's starting to become obvious that the major impediment to South Dallas development is South Dallas business and political "leadership."   

BeenThereDoneThat
BeenThereDoneThat

Leave a door open in the winter. The homeless will soon burn it down trying to keep warm.

maxim2
maxim2

We shall see if AC Gonzalez is capable of keeping his word. He promised to clean house and i heard at the end of this month. Given City Hall protocol, if he honors his promise, DMN will carry his water tomorrow with a news release stating the particulars.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@primi_timpano 

the DCAD records say there are 64 units in the apartment project, that comes out to $40,625 per unit. If the units can be rented for an average of $600/month, it pencils at $2.6M.

the property was purchased in 2012 from an LLC out of the Houston area (Kingwood) who had owned it since 2008.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Wow! Sure doesn't look like 60 units. I guess that raises two questions: was the purchase price fair and what happened to the rehab money.

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