It’s about time the northwest corner of Inwood Road and Forest Lane, known as “Forestwood,” gets a much-needed facelift. In fact, it’s going to be a gut job: The 1974 rental townhomes will be replaced by prettier, higher-quality homes that will anchor a proposed mixed-use development.
The Forestwood townhome community has been known as a safe, secure place to hunker down in North Dallas if you couldn’t swing a mortgage. It’s also where single moms and dads would go to live after a separation because it was still close to the private schools their children attended.
For years I have wondered when the neat — but clearly aging — townhomes would be replaced with something more upscale and attractive, especially considering the surrounding neighborhood: sprawling ranches on leafy half-acre lots that start at about half a million dollars. The newer McMansions are pulling in more than $1.5 million.
Get ready for what appears to be a mini Uptown that will include shiny new rental units, some retail, a 6-acre practice field for Jesuit and a creek.
Well, get ready for what appears to be a mini Uptown, a development along the lines of a Preston Hollow Village, that will include shiny new rental units, some retail, a 6-acre practice field for Jesuit Preparatory and a creek as a natural buffer to the single-family ranch homes to the north.
The Daniels family, which has owned the land since 1849, wants to tear down the 208 existing townhomes and replace them with up to 350 units. This would include townhomes with garages and small yards, as well as a large multifamily unit with a boutique-hotel feel and a pool.
“This will be a long-term lease with the developers,” says William Dahlstrom of Jackson Walker LLP, a land-use expert and attorney who is representing the owners. “The same owners will continue to own the 30 acres of land.”
When the owners first bought the property, it was likely a farm or ranch, as was most of the surrounding area. In 1972 the land was zoned for townhome-type residences, which is exactly what it’s been for the last 40-odd years.
“We see it as a legacy redevelopment opportunity that will improve the community and provide great amenities for an underserved neighborhood,” Dahlstrom says. “Family-friendly, specialty grocers, a few restaurants, maybe a bank, all with a neighborhood feel.”
I asked how much square footage would be devoted to retail: less than 50,000 for the anchor grocer, Dahlstrom says. Although he could not give me any names — it’s early and everyone’s still in negotiations — an Oakville Grocers or Dean & Deluca or Eatzi’s-type concept was not far off base. But those are my names, not his.
The owners are working with apartment builder Greystar and retail real estate firm Regency Centers, which owns the shopping centers at Preston Forest and Preston Royal.
About the new units: The townhomes would be three stories max, fully loaded with wood floors, granite counters, and high-quality appliances and fixtures. Rents would be $2,200-$4,500 a month, which is, yes, almost a house payment minus the property taxes. The current townhomes rent for about $1,000 to $2,200 a month.
Bringing in the retail requires a zoning change. Dahlstrom says they’ve begun meeting with neighbors and plan to seek an amendment. “We are looking at a mixed-use community,” he says, “which will be a great enhancement for the entire neighborhood. This is a land-use issue.”
I think the neighbors should welcome the change. Imagine having a darling townhome at Forestwood. You just return from a beach vacation to find your fridge empty. Do you want to get in your car and traipse over to the Tom Thumb at Marsh Lane or the Whole Foods at Preston Forest? Not when you can walk over to the specialty grocer (whatever it is) in your flip-flips in two minutes flat. Or you can take a little jog along the trail, or walk your pooch, who can wait for you outside while you grab something for dinner.
Note to specialty grocer, whoever you are: Carry dog biscuits.
A version of this story originally was published on Candy’s Dirt.