Developer breaks ground on new brownstones

Second phase of post-World War I styled units start at $975,000, condos also planned

The second phase of new upscale housing is beginning to take shape in Southlake Town Square starting with 31 new brownstones built in a "post-World War I" style in the Garden District development.

The Garden District is the residential component of the Southlake Town Square mixed-use development. The new brownstones are a continuation of the first phase of brownstones which began in 2006 and consist of 43 units.

"The difference in the look between the new brownstones and the existing brownstones is that the new ones will be in a 'post-World War I' look where the original ones are 'pre-World War I' look," Chris Machold, sales associate for the Garden District, said. "The difference being the slanted roof lines, the dorm room windows, and you have these neat little porches on the front with terraces on the second floor."

Construction on the second phase of brownstones started the first week of December.

According to Machold, the second phase of brownstones will have a total of 31 units. There will be 19 units on Meeting Street and nine on Park Ridge Boulevard. In addition, there are three custom brownstones that do not yet have a specific plan.

The first building in the second phase to go up will be near the intersection of Federal Way and Central Avenue. One of the units in that building will be held by the developer to use as a model home and business center.

The brownstones on Meeting Street will range in size from 2,391–3,920 square feet. The brownstones on Park Ridge will range from 4,934–5,041 square feet. The starting price of a brownstone is $975,000.

"The brownstones on Park Ridge Boulevard is what we are calling a 'game changer,'" Machold said. "The original brownstones are about 25 feet wide, the ones on Meeting Street are 26 feet wide, [developers] have completely redesigned floor plans. But the ones on Park Ridge Boulevard are about 35 feet wide and about 85 feet deep."

The homes on Park Ridge Boulevard are built on a grade that allows them to have a first floor five-car garage and three floors of living space, which includes five bedrooms, five full and one half bathrooms and an optional elevator.

Machold expects the first residents will begin to move into the development by late summer of 2015.

Parkview Condos

In addition to the planned 31 brownstones, Cooper and Stebbins is planning to construct four condominium buildings in the same area.

The first building in the Parkview Residences is planned to have 38 units on five floors. As it is planned today, the rear of the building will face the parking garage next to Harkins Theater and will sit on land that is currently a parking lot. The condos will range in size from 1,525–3,390 square feet and have an anticipated starting price of $500,000. Amenities include a rooftop lounge with fire pits, grills and plunge pools.

However, the building does not have a tentative construction start date.

When Cooper and Stebbins applied for the building permits for the condos in 2013, the Southlake City Council received a large number of emails and messages opposing the condos in the days leading up to approval.

Residents went as far as starting Facebook pages to help spread word about the opposition. The main concern residents cited is many believed the condos would be similar to high-density apartments.

Many owners from the existing brownstones spoke in favor of the project because the new building would block their view of the parking garage at Federal Way and Central Avenue.

After discussion, the developer agreed to a council requirement that at least 50 percent of the units in the first building must be sold before it can apply for a building permit.

"It's important to understand the difference between brownstones and condos," said Nancy Holloway, the Garden District sales director. "A brownstone is a townhome-style home with two or three levels, and a condominium is in a five-story building and [units are] all on a single level."

Master plan

"The goal, the plan, the vision was to do a mixed-use project that could be developed over a generational time frame," said developer Frank Bliss, president of Cooper and Stebbins.

Before starting the Town Square project in the 1990s, Bliss looked for an area that could support long-term investment, development and growth.

"This was a site that we felt was going to be able to handle a sustainable mixed-use development for a long period of time," Bliss said. "If you are going to do something so bold you want to find a place that has a commitment to quality and a commitment to vision that would be compatible to your own project."

According to Bliss, people across the board are expressing interest in the brownstones and condos. Many are executives and highly specialized doctors who are traveling 100 to 200 days a year and want to live close to the airport, and also want a house without a yard to cut down on maintenance.

Young couples are also drawn to the development.

"If you have a young couple who are married and don't have children yet and are traveling 200 days a year, living on a single family lot and having to maintain a yard and a pool doesn't really fit [their lifestyle]. But they have found a community [here] that fits their lifestyle, that fits their aspirational goals," Bliss said.

Bliss said that young couples like living in urban areas, but their choices have been limited to downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth until recently as more mixed-use developments have sprouted up around the Metroplex. In addition, parents who have adult children, also called empty nesters, are expressing increasing interest in the project.

"All too often when they are forced to downsize they are forced to compromise because everything shrinks and gets smaller, but that's not what they want," Bliss said. "They still want a full-size kitchen, they want a full-sized living area, an entertainment area, a full-sized master bedroom."

By Kyle G. Horst
Kyle G. has been in the newspaper business since 2006. A graduate of The University of Texas at Tyler, he filled nearly every position with the student-run newspaper, The Patriot Talon. After moving to South Dakota, Kyle G. became the senior city government reporter for the Watertown Public Opinion, a daily newspaper serving a community of 20,000 residents. Kyle G. is now the editor of the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake (GCS) edition of the Community Impact Newspaper. He covers transportation, business, city and education news.


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