City News Roundup

Plans spill for epic Deep Ellum redo and more Dallas city news

Plans spill for epic Deep Ellum redo and more Dallas city news

Deep Ellum, The Epic
A Dallas developer has big plans for a historical building in Deep Ellum. Photo courtesy of The Epic

Looks like Deep Ellum may get another tall building, and Dallas can't give away money fast enough. Here are the high points — or should we say low points — of what happened in the city this week:

Trinity tricks
The City of Dallas released the latest designs of the Trinity Toll Road, and they do not fulfill the version agreed upon in August.

Instead of a four-lane meandering parkway, it appears to be a full highway with lanes that alternate from side to side. The Dallas Morning News diplomatically describes them as "less dramatic" and "less serene" than what was put forth by the Dream Team and approved. City news hound Wylie H. Dallas quips, "Trying to imagine a more cynical, disingenuous execution of the Dream Team's concept for the Trinity, but coming up short."

The toll road faces an unsolvable contradiction. The Dream Team version that everyone professes to like offers a bucolic version with curves, trees, parking areas, and jugglers. But the only reason the toll road got approved by the Federal Highway Administration was because it would reduce traffic on other highways. Which would mean it would have to be, at minimum, a 55-mph roadway. You can't have both.

It's fun that this topic comes up again just when rain has the Trinity running high again. Like someone is trying to tell us something.

The Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee will review the designs at its meeting on October 26.

Deep Ellum complex
Plans are underway to supplant a cool historical building in Deep Ellum with a mixed-use complex called The Epic, taking up an entire block along Good Latimer Street, between Elm and Gaston. According to BisNow, the Epic will include office and hotel and is being developed by KDC, in partnership with Westdale Properties. KDC is the company developing the CityLine complex in Richardson and generally sticks to the suburbs. But KDC SVP Bill Guthrey says urban infill is where it's at.

Westdale is busy-busy with urban infill, including its plan to build the Case Building, a 17-story apartment tower with 337 units in Deep Ellum, at the corner of Main and Hall streets.

The Epic will incorporate the white Union Bankers building, aka the former Knights of Pythias Temple, which has been boarded up and empty since the '80s; supposedly, it will house a restaurant and a lounge. The complex is still at the renderings level, but the topic will surely come up when Guthrey speaks at a BisNow conference on October 27.

Dallas is a giving place
The Dallas economic development committee approved a plan to give a company in West Dallas $2.5 million to move. The Argos concrete plant has been at 240 Singleton Blvd. since the '70s. But the developers behind Trinity Groves want to buy the land where it sits.

Argos is willing to move to Lone Star Industrial Park. But they need a railroad connection, which will cost $2.5 million to build. You might think that West Dallas Investments, who will profit from the possible hotel, office building, or other development that goes into the space, should pay for that. But why would they, when Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, eagerly promotes this as a "good investment."

The city council will vote on the issue at its meeting on October 28.

Dallas keeps on giving
Everyone was so, so happy in April when Cinepolis announced it would open a movie theater at Victory Park. Leather seats, gourmet menu, waiter service! There's just one thing: It won't open unless Dallas gives it $5 million.

The decision was left once again to the Economic Development Committee and Karl Zavitkovsky, who, during the presentation, wasn't sure who at Victory Park had received what monies. Committee chairman Lee Kleinman expressed frustration at the money pit that Victory Park has become, but the only person on the committee who voted against the handout was Carolyn Arnold. So there's another $5 million.

The city council will discuss the issue on November 10.

Garage down in Uptown
A parking garage at the Renaissance on Turtle Creek residential building partially collapsed on October 23, sending a barrage of concrete and cars down seven levels of the garage. No one got hurt, but dozens of cars were destroyed and will have to be left there until they can sort through the damage.

The building was having repair work done on its rooftop pool; materials were stored on the top of the garage, right where the collapse occurred. No way yet to tell if it was the pile of dirt getting wet, the weight of the equipment, or something structurally wrong with the garage itself.