Let Oak Cliff Development Move Forward

After years of dealing with an overabundance of car lots, motels, and boarded up buildings, the Fort Worth Corridor is in a stage of redevelopment and revitalization. The Belmont Hotel, as well as the Cliff Cafe (currently under renovation and rebranding) and the Salón Las Américas center have sparked the rebirth of this once-forgotten area.

Project Luke is the name for a highly-anticipated mixed-use development which will stretch from I-30 to Fort Worth Avenue along Sylvan. It has the makings of the type of development the city had in mind when we got our Form-Based Zoning framework approved; moving buildings farther out towards the street and parking behind the buildings vs. having a sea of parking along the street. The most important piece of this development is the plan for a 30,000 SF +/- site at the I-30 frontage road & Sylvan. Such a footprint would accommodate a mid-size grocery store or an organic grocery like Newflower or Whole Foods. Plans also include loft/studio spaces.

Unfortunately, the entire development is now at risk. There is a major roadblock which is impeding the continued revitalization of this corridor. The issue at hand is the county-owned land that is needed for this development, located at the corner of Sylvan & Fort Worth Avenues (map). Here is a recent picture of county auto shop from DCAD:

According to the news article, a land swap was proposed because State law doesn’t allow the county to sell directly to a private party. For now, the county commissioners are balking at the proposed swap and instead vote to have an appraisal completed at a maximum cost of $12,300 to determine the land value.

All of the commissioners quoted seem to be focusing on the value of the land. The underground fuel tanks were also mentioned; I’m sure the developer realizes that tanks will have to be addressed.

Curiously, there is no quote from County Commissioner Ken Mayfield, who represents the area in which the auto shop is located.

While the county does have a responsibility to make a good deal for the taxpayer, it is not a good idea to risk major developments whose benefits far outweigh the amount of additional upfront value that the county can receive form the developer. The increased tax dollars generated (from its current level of zero) base would also be a benefit.

There are plenty of other places to locate this shop. As noted by Shannon Brown, the assistant Commissioners Court administrator, many auto dealerships are closing. There is also no shortage of service station/repair shops that are closed on which such a county facility could be located.
I’m also not sure if the shop must be located in Oak Cliff.

To me, this land arrangement should not be viewed as a cash cow for the county. It should be treated as an opportunity to bring needed retail and services to this part of Dallas, and one that should be welcomed with opened arms.

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4 Responses to “Let Oak Cliff Development Move Forward”

  1. cell48.com Says:

    Why does it seem like we're stumbling around accidentally getting things done. Come on Dallas!!

  2. Randall Says:

    The County has the opportunity to go from a 10Ksf facility recently appraised at $700K to a 20Ksf facility and parcel appraised at $2.7 million TODAY. Even with $1 million thrown in as part of the deal, the land swap alone is an immediate financial benefit to the citizens of Dallas County. THEN there is the prospect of what this parcel — adjacent to I-30 and the Trinity River project — will be worth in five years.And that doesn't even take into consideration the new, mixed-use development that is waiting for this final piece of the puzzle. Most NEVER imagined this kind of project would grace the southern sector five years ago. And yet here we are. Jobs, rooftops, local economic impact, new retail … it IS in the best interest of Dallas County taxpayers.But, we'll have to wait until Tuesday to learn whether or not Dallas County elected officials believe it is in THEIR best interest…I'll be there.

  3. Glenn Says:

    Your points are all correct. Seems like a easy solution. However, you must understand this is not the first time the county has turned its nose at North Oak Cliff or the Southern Area of Dallas. In fact, most of the county taxes collected and allocated for roads, bridges, etc. go to North Dallas and in most cases Northeast Dallas County. This is a pure race issue with the county. Kenneth Mayfield live in Cedar Hill. The support he got from Kessler Park was slim because they wanted their own white guy. John Wiley Price is against the deal because he does not care much for the white folks in Kessler Park, even though he lives down the street at Colorado Park (in Kenneth Mayfield's county district). Now when did those two start to agree with each other on anything. In any case, Dallas County has not changed from the past.

  4. Ms. BettyCulbreath Says:

    John Price house is in District 3.The line is at Colorado and Zang.The County has enough land in other places to relocate the service center.The clean up from the gas and oil will lower the value, why spend 12,000.00 when their own Public works can do that appraisal.

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