Any Developer Proposing Apartments in Preston Hollow Should Brace for a Howl of Stupidity

Highland House
Highland House
The Crosland Group

Somewhere in Preston Hollow, Laura Miller is wiping clean the dagger with which she eviscerated two proposed apartment developments at Preston Road and Northwest Highway. Developer Luke Crosland has officially abandoned plans for Highland House, a 27-story high-rise he wanted to build behind Hopdoddy in Preston Center. On the northeast corner meanwhile, Transwestern's shrinking plans for its luxury apartment development -- it started at eight stories, was reduced to six, and finally came down to four in a failed attempt to placate neighbors -- led some would-be property sellers on Townhouse Row to walk away from the proposed deal.

Some cheer the demise of the two projects as a victory of neighborhood values. Others lament it as a lost opportunity to intelligently increase density and grow the city's tax base. I'll have a deeper exploration of that debate when the cover story I'm working on goes to press in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, it seemed worthwhile (or at the very least entertaining in an afflicting-the-comfortable kind of way) to share some of the more ludicrous comments Preston Hollow homeowners offered -- on paper, in City Hall's official zoning file no less -- in opposition to the two projects.

Note that we purposefully omit the defensible arguments against one project or the other (e.g. Preston Hollow East HOA president Ashley Parks not wanting multistory apartment looming over her backyard swimming pool, people pointing out that Preston and Northwest Highway is already congested) since such considerations tend to interfere with class antagonism. Note also that our proletarian impulses have been tempered by conscience to the extent that we have omitted the names of the commenters, an otherwise rational collection of high-powered attorneys and doctors and real estate and businesspeople.

See also: The Opposition to New High-End Apartments in Richardson is the Primal Scream of Suburbia

To wit:

My child's doctors, our family dentist, our GP, and the place we get our hair cut are all right there. Our favorite burger joint and our PO Box are there. We will have to find new resources for all those things if the traffic gets worse, which it WILL if this plan goes through. Those businesses will either fold or move, and I can't imagine anyone wanted to buy or rent in this new building once they discover the lack of resources and the difficulty of navigating the community.

Too many potential customers. Every business owner's worst nightmare. (Ref: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." -- Yogi Berra

Panhandling at the corner of the Tollroad at NWH is largely the result of the chronic traffic backup which creates a captive audience for the street trade.

Is this still about panhandling? Because "street trade" sounds a lot like "hookers."

As well, please consider the visual impact. One of the most compelling -- and valuable -- elements in our neighborhood is that one can live within proximity to downtown without seeing tall buildings.

Wait. Dallas is a city. Aren't tall buildings a byproduct of living in an urb...

That you [District 13 Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy] described this part of Preston Hollow as an "urban" area is disturbing.

So Preston Hollow, despite being part of a large city, isn't urban. As far as tall buildings go, though, Highland House seems relatively unobjectiona....

The architectural rendering for this building featured in The Preston Hollow Advocate show a lot of reflective glass. The residents of Devonshire -- your [Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates] constituents -- should not be subjected to another reflective abomination like Museum Tower.

But lots of towers have glass. That doesn't mean they'll shine targeted death rays like Muse...

I am concerned. A 29-story apartment building will loom over my home above the tree line and shine its 29 story lights into my idyllic backyard.

Oh come on. You live on the other side of the Tollway, with a row of office buildings between the 29-story apartment building and your "idyllic backyard."

[T]his proposed rezoning could essentially sink [Highland Park ISD].... I think it's a joke to believe that the developers aim to market this to "empty nesters." Anyone with intelligence will know that the primary residents will be those wishing to get their children into HPISD schools without purchasing property or paying taxes to do so.

For those keeping score, Highland House (minimum rent of about $4,000 per month) would have destroyed 1) businesses 2) Preston Hollow's Downton Abbey illusion 3) children's futures, and 4 )the Park Cities. Also, the American way and the real estate community's big, fat commissions:

I love progress. I love our free enterprise system. I love our City....

As a Realtor, we enjoy commissions in selling real estate. Apartments are at the bottom of the real estate barrel inasmuch as we don't sell apartment units, the income from rental commissions is minimal, and it is a proven fact that tenants do not have the same pride in ownership as do homeowners who occupy the property. Yes, as a Realtor who believes in The America Dream, I strongly encourage homeownership, rather than rental.

Also at risk, according to one Transwestern opponent whose comments were summarized in the minutes of a public meeting, is Preston Hollow's status as a bastion of rich white people. According to the minutes, his objections were:

affordable housing; more young people moving in; minorities

We'll end with a letter sent by University Park Mayor Olin Burnett Lane Jr., which steers clear of hyperbole but ends with what reads as a threat of a Bridgegate-esque traffic snarl if Dallas moved forward with its rezoning of Highland House.

To underscore my concern, I note that staff members from Dallas and University Park are discussing a joint solution to address traffic in these locations. I believe the proposed development would be counterproductive to efforts currently underway.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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