It appears likely that a new luxury apartment complex will come to the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway, after all.
Transwestern cleared its biggest hurdle yet toward developing the key intersection near Preston Center when the Dallas City Plan Commission approved its rezoning request on Thursday.
The Dallas City Council still needs to vote on the Planned Development Subdistrict before the developer can proceed. That’s expected to happen in the coming weeks.
The project would replace a complex of 34 outdated condominiums on the property, known as Town House Row. The Transwestern concept would consist of 164 units with building heights ranging from three to four stories.
The rezoning request included just the southern portion of the 3.5-acre property, for which Transwestern requested a one-floor variance in building height, as well as allowances for increased density and lot coverage. Current zoning allows for 60 fewer units on that same property.
The approval comes almost 18 months after Transwestern first announced plans to redevelop the site with a proposal that included eight-story buildings and 296 total units. When that proposal met with significant resistance from the surrounding neighborhood, the developer organized several community meetings and introduced a series of compromises, and has since won the support of many of those skeptics.
“We are realists who are not opposed to sensible redevelopment,” said Marc Hall, president of the 6040 Place Homeowners Association. “Transwestern offers us a sensible solution.”
The proposal includes no surface parking, wide sidewalks, significant landscaping, and a left-turn lane from Preston Road to Averill in order to facilitate traffic flow. Access to the underground parking garage would be off Averill, and not Preston.
Still, the increased traffic remains a concern for opponents of the project, including the possibility of cut-through traffic on east-west side streets such as Bandera Avenue and Del Norte Lane.
“It is vastly going to add traffic to one of the busiest intersections in Dallas,” said Jeanne Hatfield, who lives on nearby Northwood Road. “I’m concerned about people speeding down the street.”
However, Mark Goode, a traffic consultant with Kimley-Horn, said the traffic impact of the project would be negligible, even during rush hour. It would increase the daily traffic count at the Preston-Northwest Highway intersection by less than 1 percent, he said.
It also would not present any issues with traffic stacking up or queuing on Averill, according to Lloyd Denmon, assistant director of engineering for the city of Dallas.
“Traffic on Preston Road appears to be a problem, but that’s not what the data shows,” said District 13 plan commissioner Margot Murphy. “The benefits of this project outweigh the downsides.”
The land also sits within a larger area under consideration from the Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Plan task force, a group of volunteers appointed by the city whose task is creating guidelines to shape future development around Preston Center. The task force won’t have its final recommendations ready until next spring, at the earliest.
But the city is not required to wait until the task force completes its work before proceeding with rezoning or other development requests, as in this case.
“This won’t be monolithic like it was originally presented,” said Richard Brown, senior planner with the city of Dallas. “It protects and retains the character of the residential area.”