Retail residential development
Small cities that have been become suburbs of larger ones often have city centers that have waned—and city governments that seek to revitalize them with mixed uses. If these city centers do not have existing viable retail cores, the introduction of the kinds of retail shops that mix with more urban housing becomes difficult.
Retailers are reluctant to open stores in places without a critical mass of other stores and shoppers. Retail space built under housing is more difficult and expensive to develop than either space alone. Lenders are especially wary of having vacant stores below rental housing. Housing developers are reluctant to hold, lease, and operate small retail spaces that are peripheral to their principal development business. Retail spaces must comply with more stringent zoning and building code requirements, require more durable materials and storefronts, and cost more to build. And architects strain to accommodate both the taller ceiling heights and parking requirements associated with retail space and the predominant housing components in such projects. Residential units on ground floors also face additional challenges with limited privacy and security at grade level.
Now architects at Dallas-based JHP Architecture/Urban Design have convinced developers and city agencies in two suburban cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area to experiment with a more flexible model for at-grade residential space that can more easily be converted to retail use as the market matures over a longer time frame.
5th Street Crossing
High Street Residential, a subsidiary of Dallas developer Trammell Crow Company, and Garland, an older city of 230, 000 people 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Dallas, developed what is now known as Oaks 5th Street Crossing, a transit-oriented development (TOD) project on a 2.75-acre (1.1 ha) downtown site on the block just northwest of the city hall and only 300 feet (91 m) from the Downtown Garland station of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light-rail line. The project, now owned by Oaks Properties, is directly west of the Granville Arts Center and close to the Nicholson Memorial Library System’s Central Library and Richland Community College’s Garland campus.
The public/private partnership developed 189 rental residential units and a 330-space shared parking structure. The 200-foot-long (60 m) parking facility runs east–west in the center of the site with two linear 60-foot-wide (18 m) parking bays juxtaposed on opposing sloped floors to accommodate circulation. That orientation reduced the width of the parking entrance to 30 feet (9 m) so as to minimally interrupt the retail space built to activate Fifth Street. The three levels of residential units line the periphery of the site, with the parking structure dividing the site into two internal courtyards, one with a swimming pool.
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