Coppell, Irving communities undertake construction projects as Cypress Waters comes online

The Sound is one of the latest addition to the Cypress Waters development.

The Sound is one of the latest addition to the Cypress Waters development.

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Cypress Waters at build-out
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Future Rail Connectivity
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Where was Cypress Waters?
With promises of urban-style amenities, such as luxury multifamily housing and restaurants, the $3.5 billion Cypress Waters development is bringing economic and demographic changes to the suburban landscape of Irving and Coppell.

Billingsley Co., the developer spearheading the project, said its 1,000-plus-acre mixed-use development is poised to house tens of thousands of residents and employees once complete. With it comes the addition of two new Coppell ISD schools along with a batch of road construction projects in anticipation of all the growth.

The company unveiled Cypress Waters’ lakeside restaurant row in May and the second phase of Nokia’s massive 350,000-square-foot headquarters in early October.

“What we are trying to do is to create a place that everyone that lives in Coppell, Irving [and] Grapevine just wants to come hang out in the end,” company co-founder Lucy Billingsley said.

Though Cypress Waters is located mostly within the city of Dallas, it is landlocked by Irving and Coppell, shares Coppell’s ZIP code and is zoned for CISD schools.

“We’re very proud to have two schools in the Cypress Waters area,” CISD Superintendent Brad Hunt said. “Richard J. Lee Elementary School ... was one of the first big structures in the Cypress Waters area and has kind of served as an anchor for us in … meeting the needs of the community.”

Coppell officials say the overlapping city and ZIP code boundaries have led to confusion among Cypress Waters residents. Stakeholders have unsuccessfully worked to alter the ZIP code boundaries in an effort to help better distinguish between cities.

Billingsley said her company is adding city of Dallas branding at the development and will continue providing informational handouts to the thousands of new tenants and residents bound for the master-planned community.

“We painted ‘Dallas’ on the side facing all of the residences and offices so if anybody’s ever calling 911, they can look up and see ‘Dallas,’” she said.

The project

Much of the Cypress Waters land sits on the partially drained North Lake, which served as a cooling reservoir-turned recreational lake in the mid- to late 1900s, according to Dallas records.

The Billingsleys purchased the land from the city of Dallas in the late 2000s with big plans for future development.

“My husband and I eyed this property over many, many years,” Billingsley said. “When they finally decided to put it to market, my husband, Henry, who buys our properties, jumped right in and put in the winning offer.”

Some of the major amenities at Cypress Waters include its growing trail system, live music and entertainment, and the various restaurants. She said her company also works to be environmentally conscious by promoting events such as e-waste drives and using water from the lake for landscaping and irrigation.

Cypress Waters is also slated to receive a passenger rail station along Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s 26-mile Silver Line, which will span from Plano to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer has witnessed firsthand how transit-oriented development can attract major corporate players, such as the natural gas firm Pioneer Natural Resources.

“I can relate to what [transit has] done here in Irving,” said Stopfer, who serves as Irving’s representative on the DART board of directors. “We’ve got Pioneer that just built … a 1 million-square-foot building. And one of their talking points [was] that one of the things they wanted was ... access to a rail station for their employees.”

Cypress Waters has already attracted global corporate tenants, such as Nokia and 7-Eleven, to lease hundreds of thousands of square feet from its commercial offices. The headquarters for 7-Eleven lies in the southern portion of Cypress Waters—a small sliver that is within the city of Irving’s boundaries.

Between the various commercial and residential buildings already online and those still under contract, Cypress Waters is projected to house 17,000 residents and 40,000 employees at build-out, Billingsley said.

Road construction

Between the construction vehicles and thousands of cars commuting to and from Cypress Waters, some Coppell roads need repair, Coppell Mayor Karen Hunt said.

“Coppell was in a very unique situation because we built Royal [Lane], Freeport [Parkway] and Belt Line [Road] all about the same time,” she said. “All three roads were near the end of their life. The construction at Cypress Waters abused Belt Line a little bit more than the other two.”

The city determined it could not reconstruct multiple major roads at the same time without issuing debt, the mayor said.

“In order to buy ourselves some time and not create a huge debt that needed to be paid off all at one time and ... just basically close down the north-south traffic in Coppell, we asphalted Belt Line and Royal,” she said.

A future Belt Line Road reconstruction project will span from where it intersects Denton Tap Road southward to I-635. That project could begin in early 2021 if funding is available. The city also plans to lengthen turning lanes along Belt Line Road near Cypress Waters.

“We’re working with Dallas County now to do some lane extensions for turn lanes,” Coppell City Manager Mike Land said. “As you’re heading south and turning east into Cypress Waters, there will be ... a backup from the turn lane. … As they continue to build more office complex and business complexes out there, it is clearly going to put more traffic onto Belt Line [Road].”

Billingsley Co. has also constructed roads within Cypress Waters with the goal of relieving congestion at some of the major intersections.

“We put in Olympus [Boulevard],” Billingsley said. “If you live in Coppell and work southeast, you can cut through Cypress Waters and save a ton of time off of that Belt Line [Road] intersection.”

Expanding school district

While the city of Coppell is taking on more road projects, CISD completed the construction of its second school within Cypress Waters before the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Its new campuses were built with the understanding that they would likely need extra capacity as more multifamily units open, according to the superintendent. Between 3%-8% of the district’s student body currently lives in Cypress Waters.

“We want to stay proactive,” the superintendent said. “That’s why Richard J. Lee Elementary School is built a little bit larger than some of our footprint elementary schools, as well as Middle School West was built larger than our other two middle schools knowing we’ve got so much growth, not only in the Cypress Waters area, but specifically in the southern part of our district.”

CISD has worked with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department to supply two full-time school resource officers at Middle School West who will also support the nearby Richard J. Lee Elementary.

“We are here to serve every child at CISD,” the superintendent said. “Regardless of where they live, we are one Coppell ISD, and we want to make sure that every child has an amazing experience wherever they are in our school district.”
By Gavin Pugh
Gavin has reported for Community Impact Newspaper since June 2017. His beat has included Dallas Area Rapid Transit, public and higher education, school and municipal governments and more. He now serves as the editor of the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake edition.


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