Till not so long ago, on Webb Chapel Road just north of Northwest Highway -- and directly across the street from Bachman Lake -- there sat a decaying apartment complex that looked as though a small gust of wind would reduce it to splinters. Eventually, it was surrounded by chain-link fence, which didn't stop squatters from taking up temporary residence. But, in time, it was torn down and replaced by what you see above -- an empty field.
But, as it turns out, there are plans to revive that property and surrounding parcels. "We want to refresh that whole intersection," says Dan Millner of consulting firm Kinley Horn. "There's more to come if we can get the first piece of the puzzle put together."
That first piece goes before the City Plan Commission on Thursday: a proposed 100,000-square foot "membership club," which is either a Sam's Club or a Costco. "My client doesn't want me to confirm," says Millner, speaking on behalf of property owner David Claassen. At present, there is no Costco within the Dallas city limits -- which council member Ron Natinsky hopes will change should Dallas get all wet -- and there's a Sam's Club five miles west on Northwest Highway.
Millner says Claassen's working with "a third-party" to develop the property, and should the plan commission and, eventually, the city council sign off, they hope to begin construction by late summer or early fall. "It all depends on how long it takes to get the plans approved," he says. "We're working with a third party who's trying to figure out if we can make it a go. If the building was 99,000-square feet, we'd just do the plans and off we'd go and comply with zoning. But in this case, our user has a desire for a building that's bigger."
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Right now, there's an issue with parking: The city demands so many spots for retail, but Millner and his client would like to reduce the requirements to fit more store on the space. And they think it's possible, since the big box will be membership-only.
"Part of our process was, we looked at Sam's Clubs in Dallas on Super Bowl weekend, as we were requested to do [by the city], and we looked at parking spaces being used," he says. He adds that "a lot of the surrounding communities" have likewise loosened their parking requirements to allow for warehouse-club stores.
But Millner says this is just the beginning: "Our hope in this is to refresh that whole intersection -- not just the project we're working on, but across the street." Which is possible: Dallas County Appraisal District records show that under various names, chief among them 3643 Northwest Hwy LP., Claassen owns most of the land over there -- pretty much everything between the proposed warehouse-club site and Whirlyball.
"We want to upgrade the whole intersection," says Millner. "The shopping center's worn out in a whole bunch of ways." Which reminds me of when there used to be a Sound Warehouse and Burger House over there. Forever ago.