Mixed-Use Projects a Mixed Bag
Even though the idea of living in a community with easy access to jobs, public transit or freeways remains popular in Texas, not many projects are moving forward.
“There’s still a huge interest by developers for mixed use, but financing is in disarray,” says David Lake, a partner with Lake|Flato Architects of San Antonio. “It’s not because of lack of interest by developers or the marketplace.”
Lake|Flato created the master plan for the redevelopment of the 22-acre Pearl Brewery site in San Antonio for Silver Ventures of San Antonio. The first buildings have been completed, and Lake says there is a waiting list for the live-work residential units. The second phase—a four-building, office-and-retail component—is under construction. A future phase with 280 apartments and about 50 live-work units is being designed.
The Pearl Brewery development is part of the River North District, a 350-acre area poised for redevelopment.
Jim Manskey, managing principal of TBG Partners’ Dallas office, agrees that mixed use will drive the market, which he says “has become much more sophisticated. We’ve focused on how to create a place and environment so the political battles with cities regarding density become less of an issue.”
Manskey adds that many zoning codes don’t support the density mixed-use requires to be successful.
TBG Partners provided landscape architecture and site-planning services for two mixed-use projects that are nearing completion. One, Park 17, is a $200-million, 13-story office tower and 19-story residential tower with street-level retail in Dallas. The other is the second, $85-million phase of The Domain in Austin.
The retail component of The Domain opened in 2007. Now, The Beck Group of Dallas is building three hotels, 75,000 sq ft of office, residential and additional retail and restaurant space.
The co-developers of Park 17, Granite Properties of Dallas and Gables Residential of Atlanta, converted the residential units from for-sale to rental, as a consequence of the economy, and it is now preleasing well, Manskey says.
Austin Commercial of Dallas is building the project.
Lynette Hegeman, vice president of marketing for Gables Residential, says her firm has been quite successful with mixed-use, infill projects in vibrant downtown areas.
“We’ve found a way to create residential and bring in the lifestyle,” Hegeman says. “We look for the right location and partner.”
Hegeman offered as another example the recently opened Gables West Ave, located in downtown Houston and near lots of entertainment options. Gables partnered with Urban Partners of Dallas on the 390-residential-unit, 190,000-sq-ft, mixed-use center.
“Texas is an area where we will continue to look for opportunities and the right combination of location, people and retail,” Hegeman says.
Ziegler Cooper Architects of Houston designed the two-phase, mixed-use Park Plaza Tower in Austin for...