Plano to help fund art park at future site of affordable apartment development

A rendering of the K Avenue Lofts development that will be adjacent to the art park. (Courtesy city of Plano)
A rendering of the K Avenue Lofts development that will be adjacent to the art park. (Courtesy city of Plano)

A rendering of the K Avenue Lofts development that will be adjacent to the art park. (Courtesy city of Plano)

A public art park funded by the city of Plano will be built on the corner of K Avenue and East Park Boulevard.

The city agreed to use $1.6 million of public infrastructure improvement funds on a development agreement to help construct the K Avenue Lofts project, an affordable apartment complex being built just south of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit station on Parker Road. The total estimated cost for the K Avenue Lofts project is $29 million, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

As part of the city's development agreement, $100,000 will be used to construct the art park on a parcel of land adjacent to the project. A better path to the Red Line Station will also be constructed as part of the project, according to city documents.

The rest of the funds from the development agreement will be used to fund demolition, paving, utilities, building construction and fire safety costs.

City Council sold the land to the Plano Housing Authority in December. The housing authority is a nonprofit that looks to finance or acquire public facilities to fund affordable housing projects, according to its website.

City Council agreed to use funding to support the apartment development and the park project in partnership with the housing authority at the Jan. 24 meeting.

The money will be taken from the city’s tax increment reinvestment zones, which are also known as TIRZ. The zones collect growth in the property tax value of a certain area. Money generated within a TIRZ funds public improvements within the area without creating new taxes.

Council voted 6-2 in favor of the project with council members Shelby Williams and Anthony Ricciardelli voting against it, citing the high cost of the development agreement.

Peter Braster, Plano’s director of special projects, said construction on the park is not expected to start for a few more years.

“It’s still a bit of a sketch; it has not been fleshed out in total,” Braster said during the Jan. 24 meeting. “It will be some kind of interactive green space. Something for people to visit.”

Council Member Maria Tu said she was in favor of funding the project because it will be beneficial to the public.

“This is not something that is just going to benefit the [housing authority],” Tu said. “Rather, it is going to benefit the city as well as Plano residents in the long term.”

Ricciardelli said he supports the affordable housing project and the park project but felt like the $1.6 million total cost of the development agreement was larger than it needed to be to support the project.

“I would encourage us to take a look at a more moderately priced development agreement,” he said. “I support affordable housing ... but that’s not the discussion we are having here tonight.”

The K Avenue Lofts project, which has been going through the planning process for over a year, will be a five-story apartment complex with 226 units, Braster said. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023, according to city planning documents.

Most of the units in the complex will have income-controlled rent prices and will only be available to those who make under $60,000 per year, according to a city presentation.

Development documents show the property will feature an open pavilion, fitness rooms, a pool, a dog park and more.

More information on the project can be found here.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the cost of the art park and how the public infrastructure improvement funds will be used.
By Erick Pirayesh
Erick Pirayesh joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2021. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado Journalism and Media Studies program. He previously served as editor-in-chief of The Channels student newspaper in Santa Barbara, California.