Rezoning Richardson's innovation district will unlock retail, housing and restaurant opportunities, consultants say

The 1,200-acre Collins-Arapaho Innovation District is located east of US 75 in Richardson.

The 1,200-acre Collins-Arapaho Innovation District is located east of US 75 in Richardson.

Richardson innovation District subdistrictsAn effort to rezone the 1,200-acre innovation district east of US 75 is in full swing. 

The primary goal of the initiative is to remove barriers imposed by current zoning regulations so that area can transform into a thriving center of business and innovation. Consultants are also proposing some residential development.

As of now, 90% of the district is zoned for industrial purposes, according to Planning Project Manager Doug McDonald.

McDonald was joined by members of the consultant team at a July 29 joint briefing, where members of City Council and the City Planning Commission gathered to hear an update on the effort.

Over the course of several months, staff has heard feedback from residents, stakeholders and business owners on what they envision for the area.

Outdoor dining, coworking space, events and festivals, hike and bike trails, art and sculptures, dog parks, natural amenities, restaurants facing Duck Creek and internet hubs were some of the wishlist items expressed by the public, according to consultant Karen Walz.

The rezoning initiative is broken down by four areas: the Duck Creek Subdistrict, the Greenville Avenue Subdistrict, the Dart Station Subdistrict and the Employment Subdistrict. 

In each subdistrict, consultants are proposing zoning changes that would make the areas more business friendly, livable, walkable and bikeable. 

DUCK CREEK SUBDISTRICT


Duck Creek will be positioned as the primary amenity of the innovation district, according to members of the consultant team.

Uses allowed under the new zoning will include retail; indoor and outdoor dining; wineries, distilleries and microbreweries; and food trucks with a special permit. 

A 1.5-mile extension of Duck Creek Trail is also underway, which will allow visitors to access new businesses and restaurants by bike or foot. 

The area will be employment focused, but some council members also expressed an interest in seeing high-density housing added to the area. 

GREENVILLE AVENUE SUBDISTRICT


In the area surrounding Greenville Avenue, consultants are proposing to expand the current uses of office and industrial by adding residential. 

Specifically, the team is looking to accommodate workers who may wish to reside in the area, Walz said. All forms of high-density housing, including apartments and town homes, are being considered.

New zoning will also allow for retail and restaurants.

DART STATION SUBDISTRICT


The Arapaho Center Station will serve as the gateway to the district, so zoning should accommodate as many different types of uses as possible, Walz said. 

Housing within walking distance of the station is a high priority for consultants. To ensure support for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Walz said her team is proposing minimum densities of 40 units per acre for multifamily and 10 units per acre for town homes. Adaptive reuse of buildings would not be subject to a minimum density requirement, she said.

The area is already home to many office and industrial uses, but consultants would like to enhance the area by zoning it to allow for commercial amusement venues, such as movie theaters and bowling alleys; retail and restaurants; wineries, distilleries and breweries; and food trucks with a special permit.

EMPLOYMENT SUBDISTRICT


The 730-acre Employment Subdistrict makes up the bulk of the project area, McDonald said. 

Many business owners said they want to improve their facilities but are unable to because of stringent zoning restrictions related to parking, building heights, setbacks and floor-area ratios. All new zoning would serve to relax those guidelines, Walz said.

The consultant team looked to council and commission members for feedback on whether residential uses should be allowed in the Employment Subdistrict. 

Council Member Steve Mitchell was in support of residential uses for area employees as well as retrofitting existing buildings to become housing. He said this solution provides the “greatest flexibility” for the area.

Others thought the area should be relegated to commercial uses in order to remain competitive. Mayor Paul Voelker said he would be in support of building retrofits only with a special permit. 

“The mixed-use residential we already have on the books, I want to protect those … so that they get completed without putting additional market pressure on a new area that doesn’t have the purpose of an innovation district," he said.  

“I don’t need more apartments to compete with the build-out at CityLine or Northside of the Galatyn area,” Voelker continued. “What I need is the type of use-case scenario that will support the type of commercial development I want to see happen in the innovation district.”

Consultants agreed allowing residential uses could jeopardize the affordability of startup space. 

NEXT STEPS


Over the next several months, consultants will meet with stakeholders and the public to gather more input. 

A community workshop will be held Aug. 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Travelers Insurance on Collins Boulevard. The public is encouraged to attend.

Consultants will brief council again Sept. 16. A public hearing and potential vote is scheduled for the Nov. 11 City Council meeting.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


MOST RECENT

Medical City is suspending elective surgeries in its North Texas hospitals until July 27. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Medical City temporarily suspends elective surgeries in effort to expand bed capacity

Medical City Healthcare is suspending elective surgeries in some of its 16 North Texas hospitals.

Dallas County residents registered to vote can participate in the July 14 runoff election. (Community Impact staff)
DATA: Nearly 81,000 Dallas County residents voted early in Democratic runoff

The county is allowing curbside voting and late ballots for certain residents due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

Tipsy's Woodworking creates handcrafted furniture, gifts and more. (Courtesy Tipsy's Woodworking)
Tipsy's Woodworking now creating handcrafted furniture, gifts in Richardson

The business employs a crew of woodworkers and expert craftsmen.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dallas County commissioners agreed to contribute partial funding to the study at a July 10 meeting. (Courtesy Dallas County)
Dallas County commits $500K to scientists looking to pinpoint regional prevalence of COVID-19

Thousands of cases have been confirmed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but insufficient testing capacity and the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers mean scientists have an incomplete picture of the virus’s impact on the region.

The annual Heights Car Show will look slightly different from years past. (Courtesy David Alvey)
Richardson car show to carry on, part of Keller trail to close: DFW business, community news

Read the latest business and community news from Dallas-Fort Worth here.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

The Weihenstephaner Pils, a hoppy pale lager, is one of the German beers Bavarian Grill serves straight from the tap. (Courtesy Bavarian Grill)
Lewisville school plans, police reform talks and other popular DFW stories from this week

Here are five recent updates from Greater Dallas on restaurants opening and closing, community conversations about policing and more.