Highland Park officials and residents will have one final chance to voice their opposition to a proposed seven-story apartment complex on Cole Avenue when the project is considered on Wednesday by the Dallas City Council. The meeting, which includes a public hearing, is set for 1 p.m.
For almost a year, the town has persistently objected to the proposed complex adjacent to the Katy Trail and across the street from HP’s southern border. Dallas city staffers agreed with those concerns and recommended denial of the project when it was brought before the Dallas Plan Commission this spring.
The commission, however, voted against the recommendation of staff by a 12-1 margin on May 8 and supported the project, which would replace the existing Saltillo Apartments.
“I think this is a project that is in the best interests of Dallas,” said commissioner Paul Ridley, who added that such taller, higher-density apartment structures are one key to future development in the city. “We have to look at appropriate places that can support higher-density development, or else we can remain mired in the past. I think this makes sense.”
The development would include a maximum of 258 luxury units and a building height of up to 84 feet. The multifamily zoning restrictions currently on the property allow for only 240 units and 36-foot buildings. The current two-story complex, which would be demolished, has 58 units.
It would include an underground parking garage and fitness center, among other amenities.
The project was proposed more than a year ago by a group headed by Otto Maly, who owns a commercial real-estate firm in Columbia, Mo., along with Dallas-based Provident Realty Advisors. They purchased the 2.4-acre property under the name Travis Cole Apartments LP.
The application was filed with the city in February 2013, and last September, the HP town council passed a resolution against the development. Since then, it has openly encouraged its residents to lobby against it, citing increased traffic near Abbott Park and a negative impact on property values, among other issues.
After initial objections last fall, the developer revised its plans to increase the setback on the side of the complex facing the trail, and to offer a stair-step approach to building height, whereby only a portion of the complex would be eight stories.
In 2005, a different developer lobbied to build an eight-story apartment complex on the same site, but was denied by both the plan commission and the Dallas City Council.