A Towering Live, Work, Play Plan for Preston Center

Robert Dozier is confident in a plan to replace the much-discussed Preston Center Garage with a live, work, play high-rise, despite its differences with a concept approved two years ago.

(ABOVE: Most of the park space, provided with a proposed luxury apartment tower, would be on top of an above ground parking garage. Photos: O’Brien Architects)

“Our plan would put $1 million back into the city just from the multifamily units, and that doesn’t even count what the city would get from taxes,” Dozier, president of Ramrock Real Estate, said.

The Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Plan, approved by the Dallas City Council in 2017, called instead for an underground garage topped by a street-level park, but that plan doesn’t have the support of adjacent property owners.

Though the city owns the site of the garage, any new construction there requires unanimous approval of the adjacent property owners who make up the Preston Center Parking Corporation, Dozier explained.

The luxury apartment tower has “100 percent approval” of corporation members and “makes a ton of sense,” he said.

It would bring 1,500 parking spaces for work and living, a restaurant, and two parks – one of which would be three stories up and used for special events near the restaurant.

That should satiate residents hoping the garage is replaced only with a giant park, Dozier said. “At the end of the day, how many parks do you need? The city has seven within a two-mile radius.”

At the end of the day, how many parks do you need? The city has seven within a two-mile radius. -Robert Dozier

But the plan also needs the support of city leaders and getting that might hinge on the results of the May 4 election.

Former Dallas mayor Laura Miller, who is challenging incumbent Jennifer Staubach Gates for the District 13 city council seat, served on the task force that wrote the area plan.

Miller opposes Dozier’s apartment tower.

“This will have the opposite effect of a beautiful green space that would completely transform Preston Center into a walkable gathering place surrounded by new development and new customers,” she said. “If I am elected, I will get the funding for the park concept; if I’m not elected, there will be an apartment building there instead, making our traffic, parking, and pedestrian conditions even worse than they are now.”

Gates said she sees the appeal of street-level park plan and put $10 million for underground garage in the 2017 bond program – $10 million short of what Miller says was needed to qualify for the required matches.

Gates noted that working with the property owners is essential, but she hasn’t taken a position on Dozier’s proposal yet.

“Unfortunately, my opponent is circulating false information about a park donation and the parking garage,” Gates said. “When I met with the donor to discuss the idea, it was clear that the gift was conditioned upon opposing an upcoming zoning case on property owned by Saint Michaels. The offer was, at the very least, unethical and did not move forward.”

Improving the area would be a priority of her final term, Gates said. “Redevelopment of the garage and the immediate area around will be the biggest game-changer for Preston Center.”

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