Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Who Got Snookered on Plano Road?

At its July 25 meeting, the Richardson City Council approved a zoning change to accommodate the development of a 43-unit community of apartments and/or townhomes on 2.7 acres on the east side of Plano Road south of Arapaho Road.

Who are these new apartments/condos going to be marketed to? According to the city staff report accompanying the zoning change request, it's senior citizens.
The applicant's intent is to provide a residential project for the City's aging community that is different than the other available types of housing such as patio homes, independent living facilities, and assisted living facilities. The applicant has developed other senior housing in the City including the Twin Rivers independent living facility at Belt Line Road and Glenville Drive and the Twin Rivers assisted living facility on Plano Road, just south of Campbell Road, which is currently under construction. The applicant states that there is a market for seniors who desire to purchase, rather than rent, a low maintenance home without stairs.
The developer did the Twin Rivers senior living community. Each planned unit will have only one story, perfect for seniors who no longer want to navigate stairs. So, seniors it is, right?

Now that the pesky technicality of getting City Council support is out of the way, it's time to start marketing to the public. Calling all retirees, right? Well, maybe not. Here's the headline for a story in CultureMap by Caitlyn Martin: "New Richardson residences aim to please those young professional buyers."
More evidence that Richardson's on the rise: new luxury condominium flats opening in summer 2017 at 700 N. Plano Rd. Called the Residences on Duck Creek Trail, the one-level residences will have the square footage of traditional two-story townhomes. That means they are lower maintenance than single-family homes and a nice alternative to apartment rentals. Young professionals, they're looking at you.
Source: CultureMap.
So, which is it? The city's aging community or young professionals? Who knows?

How much stock should we put in Caitlyn Martin's story? Did she talk to the developer before writing her story? Dunno. (I didn't talk to her, either.) Is she a reputable source? Dunno that, either. According to her CultureMap profile, she's a self-described "pizza-obsessed zombie fanatic" who is "currently studying English literature and technical communication" at UNT and who "credits her dog, Olive, for all her continued and potential success." Well, OK, then. Maybe she's not the go-to source for real estate or city government stories. Why CultureMap gave her this real estate story assignment in the first place might be worthy of a sidebar, at least.

Still, maybe Martin really does it have it more right than wrong. Could it be that the city council got snookered? Was all the talk of providing "a residential project for the city's aging community that is different than the other available types of housing" just a cover story to get approval for more apartments aimed at a young, transient market? I have no evidence of that. (I'm not your go-to source, either, with or without owning a dog.) It dismays me that the thought even crosses my mind. An even worse thought is that maybe the city council was in on it, and it's the neighborhood and public at large that got snookered in this deal. Am I getting all conspiracy-theory minded as I get older? I hate it when that happens.

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