Monday, December 13, 2010

Not Your Average Load of Apartments

The Great Recession, the housing crash, the commercial real estate slump, the state budget deficit, none of that is stopping Richardson from moving forward. NIMBY attitudes just might.

"The City Plan Commission heard a presentation this week that proposes a mixed-use development in a part of town that has been planning for such a project for the past 13 years. ... The project would be built on nearly 140 acres of undeveloped property that lies on both sides of US 75 south of the Bush Turnpike. ... The City’s 2000 Comprehensive Planning Guide, following community input and ratification by the City Plan Commission and City Council, designated the area for mixed-use transit-oriented development. Earlier this year the City was approached by the area property owners with a plan to create a high-end mixed-use development -- with features similar to Watters Creek in Allen, West Village in Dallas or Legacy Town Center in Plano."

-- "Week in Review", December 10, 2010

Of all that, you know what was heard by the reflexive critics of the city council, don't you? "Our city leaders want a load of apartments built on prime land in Richardson near Central and Bush."

After the jump, a look at Watters Creek and Legacy Town Center.

Legacy Town Center in Plano
Legacy Town Center

"Legacy Town Center, the heart of Legacy, features urban style homes, businesses, retail establishments, a full-service hotel, restaurants, offices and open spaces in a community setting. Legacy Town Center incorporates many of the principles of 'new urbanism,' including:
  • Loose knit, pedestrian-oriented traffic
  • A blend, within individual buildings, of apartment homes, shops, hotels and offices
  • Park space with water features and landscaping"

Watters Creek in Allen Watters Creek

"Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm is a unique, resort-style mixed-use development. With its vertically dense design, this 52-acre project incorporates a complete mix of uses including a large creekside village green, interactive public art, a variety of retail options, restaurants featuring al fresco dining and water views, and office space and residential lofts. Located on the southwest corner of U.S. 75 and Bethany Drive in Allen, Watters Creek will serve as the new commercial heart for surrounding areas of North Texas."

These are not just glossy promises before the sale. These developments are already built and are attracting shoppers, employers and residents to Plano and Allen (and away from Richardson). Go visit them. They are high-end, attractive, tax-producing communities within their larger cities. Yes, they include apartments. They also include retail, offices and parks, all the ingredients you need to make a successful community.

Banning apartments is not the key to that success. Limiting density is not the key to success. The key to success is setting high quality building standards and strict and continuous inspections, not just during construction but for years and decades afterward.

Richardson residents should resist the urge to stop the project or to turn it into just another parking lot ocean of asphalt with big box retail islands. Instead, Richardson should strive to make sure the US75/PGBT development goes ahead and lives up to the examples of Legacy Town Center in Plano and Watters Creek in Allen. Richardson could benefit from the promised high-end mixed-use development.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

Well, in the end Richardson did not get its own Watters Creek. It did not get its own West Village. It did not get its own Legacy Town Center. Instead, it got ... Farmageddon!. Sigh.