A reheard zoning case for part of the mixed-use development CityLine in front of the Richardson City Plan Commission was recommended for denial.

CityLine’s developer, KDC, requested the addition of more apartments, planned to add more open space and wanted a higher minimum density within a planned development district. The commission voted to recommend denial of the request by a 5-2 vote during the July 2 meeting, citing concerns that it would not meet the vision for the mixed-use development.

What you need to know

The rezoning request was for a 62.5-acre planned development district within CityLine located east of North Plano Road, according to city documents, and would not have affected any other planned development districts within the mixed-use development. KDC made a request to allow for 3,100 multifamily units, compared to 1,925 currently allowed, which are expected to be five-story buildings to match other apartment complexes already built in the development.

“We need to have a viable buildout plan to attract and retain tenants,” KDC Executive Vice President of Development Walt Mountford said. “Right now, we have too much office and too little residential in order to complete that plan.

Other changes that would take place if council approves the request include an increase in the amount of required open space within the eastern part of CityLine and a higher minimum density to more closely resemble the type of multifamily development that would take place. Mountford said there is a need for more residents to support retail and restaurants already in CityLine, especially along State Street which has a 58% occupancy rate and 39,000 square feet that has never been occupied.

“New tenants are looking for sales per square foot data for new locations, and if retail goes dark, it can really cascade,” Mountford said. “We believe more multifamily units will entice retailers to open, and more importantly, to continue operating at CityLine.”

The context

There is currently a lack of viable financing options for most office projects, Mountford said, adding that there is around 2 million square feet of allowable office space within the planned development district.

“The crux of our problem is that office [uses] played a major component in finishing CityLine,” he said. “If you can’t count on the office [demand] being there, and we can’t, we need to pick the story that completes CityLine.”

Last year, a development group tied to former Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, 3Edgewood LLC, purchased the State Street retail and developed office buildings for StateFarm. The commission heard the case in June but took no formal action after not affirmatively approving a recommendation for approval or denial.

What they’re saying

“I think KDC could show a little more creativity in terms of their buildout plan other than ‘heads on beds,’” Commissioner Nate Roberts said. “Given that the transit-oriented development is so high quality and is such a star for the area, I’d like to see more creativity for the land use and possible retail ideas.”

“I think the request is asking for a viable development plan to finish out the entire acreage,” Chairperson Bryan Marsh said.

What’s next?

After the recommendation for denial, at least six votes to approve the request will be required when heard by Richardson City Council, likely during its July 8 meeting.