...Gables Residential. The first eight-story building, with 300 rental units, is wrapping up construction. The second, 18-story phase is on hold, pending financing.
“High-density, mixed-use projects are an important, high-impact, sustainable growth strategy because it makes sense to stop the urban sprawl,” says Scott Ziegler, founding principal of Ziegler Cooper Architects. “High-density, mixed-use done well and in a large-enough scale can create a micro-village.”
Micro-villages promote walking for retail shopping, decreasing the vehicle trips and preserving the ecosystem, Ziegler adds. Multifamily residences also save energy because there is less heat and air conditioning loss with shared walls, he says.
Ziegler’s firm also designed Republic Park in Austin, a 16-story, 460,000-sq-ft tower with apartments and retail space. Again, the developer, Gables Residential, is waiting on financing.
“Our clients are getting a lot more creative about bringing in partners and equity partners to lessen the bank borrowing,” Ziegler says. “New urbanism projects, because they are larger scale, you need a critical mass. They are hard to do piecemeal.”
He adds that smaller, $25-million to $35-million, infill projects are still doable, whereas the larger $200-million-plus developments will require financing from several banks and are unlikely to move forward.
Manskey also expects urban-infill, mixed-use developments will be more prominent in the short-term. He cautions that retail will take longer to turn around than other market segments, which could affect mixed-use development.
Redevelopment UDR of Denver is proceeding one phase at a time on its $1-billion, master-planned, infill community Vitruvian Park in Addison, ultimately slated to have 5,500 residential units, 150,000 sq ft of office and 150,000 sq ft of retail. The development replaces 1970s-vintage apartments.
UDR has demolished about half of the 2,300 units in nine complexes to make way for Vitruvian Park but continues to lease the others. The city of Addison invested about $40 million to create public parks, jogging trails, utilities and street improvements.
“It was an area they wanted to see redeveloped,” says Tom Lamberth, vice president of development for UDR. “We partnered pretty well.”
Mark Culwell, senior vice president of UDR, adds that his firm suggested higher-density than existed and thinks the city was receptive because of its successful experience with Addison Circle, one of the Dallas area’s first mixed-use developments.
“Density in these markets has gotten much greater over the last several years,” Culwell says.
Vitruvian Park’s first 392 rental apartment units and 16,000 sq ft of retail, being built by Andres Construction of Dallas, were scheduled for occupancy in March and have been well received, says Lamberth, who expects to break ground soon on the second residential, office and retail building.
Culwell says that a daytime employment population in Addison of more than 100,000 people will support the retail during the day, while the residential will support it in the evening and on weekends.
“It’s a complementary use that we think over time makes it more sustainable,” Culwell says.
Transportation: A key component Plum Creek Development Partners of Austin is working on the second phase of its 2,200-acre Plum Creek new urbanism, mixed-use development south of Austin.
“Even though activity is slow for the residential market, five commercial sites sold this year,” says Terry Mitchell, development consultant for Plum Creek. “When you do a greenfield, new urban project, you build what you...