We took the long way to Oak Cliff last weekend, turning off the Houston Street Viaduct on to Greenbriar Lane, which runs parallel to the Trinity River. No particular reason, just in no particular rush. It was at that point we found ourselves amongst a forest of sleek metal-n-wood townhomes, otherwise known as the Trinity Townhomes, about which much was made upon the initial announcement of Phase I in 2005. So we stopped, got out, gave it the once-over twice and kept on going. Reminded me of the Urban Reserve. Sort of.
But then I hop on to LoopNet today, in search of something unrelated, and I see that 3.22 acres worth of undeveloped land intended to be Phase II of the project is for sale at the low, low price of $2.2 million. Says the ad, it comes ...
... with unparalleled views of the Downtown Dallas, the Trinity River, and the new Margaret Hunt Bridge. This is a unique opportunity to acquire a ready to be built development site at a significant discount. The North Oak Cliff area is home to Methodist Hospital, Folsom Fitness Center, Bishop Arts District, Stevens Park Golf Course, and Kessler Park. A new streetcar is planned adjacent to the site and will run from downtown along Zang to Bishop Arts District.
Turns out, I grew up with the guy selling the parcel -- Jeff Brand of Brand Capital Partners -- so I called and asked why the land's on the market. Simple, he said: The bank foreclosed on the property a couple of months back, and now it's looking to get what it can for the undeveloped property. Thirty homes have been built in the last six years -- 23 in Phase I (all of which sold), seven in Phase II (most of which sold, one of which also went into foreclosure). So happens that only last August, developers Kent and Blane Ladymon told The News they planned to "build six additional townhomes once they lock up financing."
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Brand says the sale presents "kind of a unique situation," in that the all the roads are done, all the utilities are buried and all the attendant infrastructure's been put in place at around the cost of $1 million. Which means it's ready to build on. Good to go.
But, I asked, is the next buyer tethered to sticking with the Ladymons' existing look, which you can see on David Griffin & Company's website. Will they all have to have "architecturally sophisticated exteriors of brick, metal & wood with private rear yards, dining terraces and rooftop decks"?
The buyer or buyers, he says, "can build as many or as few as they want, but they will have the opportunity to build 37 more units. If they build in the same footprint, that part won't be simple, but it'll certainly be more streamlined." That's because the city's already signed off on the existing development, which is inside the Oak Cliff Gateway, and any changes would require rezoning approval from the City Plan Commission and council.
I've already suggested it to Schutze as an investment, should he ever need a Plan B.