Wow, sounds cool. Wish Garland, who already has rail stations would go through with something like that.
And welcome to the posting world.
Denton Station, Unicorn Lake taking shape
New projects to bring in theaters, shops, housing
09:48 AM CST on Sunday, January 18, 2004
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
Mounds of red fill dirt across part of the 65 acres behind Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant are the only sign of what one day will be known as Denton Station.
It is a project that Glenn Gunter and several silent investors have worked on for more than a year, waiting for everything to line up before announcing their plans. The Teasley Partners, as the trio is known, are unveiling a 16-screen theater by Premiere Cinema Corp. as the launch of their project between Teasley Lane and Fort Worth Drive on the east side of Interstate 35E.
Known as a lifestyle center, Denton Station will feature a set of six separate four-story complexes with loft-style apartments on the top floors and a mix of retail on the bottom floors. Other plans include a multi-storied hotel, three to four restaurants and a large park.
Plans call for construction to start in the next few months on the first of the six units, with a projected opening date by mid-2005, Gunter said. Centre Place, a street connecting the interstate service road to Dallas Drive, runs through the project.
The units, when finished, will include about 35,000-square-feet of retail space, along with an interior concrete parking area, security and valet service. The idea, he said, is to attract not only students but also retirees, professionals and single residents.
"Something like this will keep people in and bring more people to Denton," Gunter said.
City officials recently approved an incentive for the proposed Denton Station, allowing a half-cent sales tax rebate from sales generated on their property, not including existing restaurants, for a 15-year period, said Linda Ratliff, economic development director for the City of Denton.
"That was to encourage them to develop an urban-style development with retail on the bottom and residential on top and to help them with their infrastructure on the site," she said.
The name, Denton Station, is derived from the project’s proximity to a rail line that Gunter said he hoped would be an avenue for the proposed rail line as part of the Denton County Transportation Authority’s eventual plans for a light rail service.
Gunter said state officials eventually plan to change the on and off ramps around the project to redirect traffic, much like what is planned for another project almost three miles down the road.
On Denton’s southern boundaries off I-35E, plans for Unicorn Lake are beginning to take shape with the recent announcement of a 14-screen Cinemark theater and plans for several restaurants and a shopping center.
New Quest Properties of Houston, a relatively new company formed in 2002 by the merger of two established firms, will develop the first retail portions of the proposed town center off the west side of Interstate 35E near State School Road.
Unicorn Lake is a proposed 130-acre development, which will feature shops, restaurants, townhouses, apartments and a range of service-type businesses and offices, according to Bob and Brad Shelton, the father and son team behind the project.
A new road, likely to be called Unicorn Lake Boulevard, will connect State School Road to the Wind River Boulevard, which ties into the Wind River and Sundown Ranch subdivisions along Teasley Lane. Both subdivisions are part of the development handled by Bob Shelton Enterprises LTD.
Other features of Unicorn Lake will include a 33-acre community park and a 12-acre lake set in a valley of trees.
"This is getting things kicked off for us," Bob Shelton said of the announcement to build the 14-screen theater.
"That finally happening has made a difference," he said. "We’re working with some people that I think the city will be proud to have in tow."
Both projects have been under the radar for more than a year, undergoing review and awaiting financing, signed deals and other steps to begin the actual building, both developers said.
The theaters, expected to open by the holiday season this year, will be the catalysts to set the ball rolling on both, they said.
The simultaneous projects follow the idea of neighborhood centers outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan, said Denton city council member Perry McNeill.
"The fact that this is coming about is keeping with what Denton residents wanted," he said. "It’s pretty exciting to see all that stuff come to fruition."
An artist’s rendering shows Denton Station, a proposed development that would be located off Interstate 35E.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 11 November 2005 at 03:13 PM.
Wow, sounds cool. Wish Garland, who already has rail stations would go through with something like that.
And welcome to the posting world.
I dig the 'Station' name of the first development as much as the city. Cool.
Welcome to the forum/posting!
My fingers are crossed that Denton will remain a college town and not become over-run by new urbanist developments. Build another university there, build vast entact neighborhoods for 100,000+ more people, build DART compatible light rail accessing contiguous DFW, but dont let Denton, the community, suffer as just like every other town in the metroplex overrun by the the popular and profitable development approach so successfully transforming in town areas of Dallas into bonafide urban neighborhoods.
Every 100+ acre development combining single family homes, high density condos/apartments with enough retail space to accommodate day-to-day needs of the development's residents will eventually sour the personality of the greater community. How long before we have gated developments with stores accessible only if you have access codes into the development.
Maybe UNT should be paying attention, and finally convert the campus so that it doesn't look like a high tech industrial/parking lot zone.
UNT is primarliy a commuter school. Lots of people live in and around it, but many more trek up 35! Light rail would be awesome lessen the parking burden, less parking blights more room for buildings and I am sure it could save money.
Denton needs this development to many people drive down the way because that is where the 'stuff' is at. I just hope it doesn't sprawl! and I wish it would stay a college town. I think Dallas and Fort Worth need to see what an asset UNT and TWU... College station has ATM Austin UT Lubbock Tech. Why hasn't more been done to push UNT? But i guess that is a questions for a Denton forum!
I know athletics are imporant for school spirit, potential revenue generation and general health, but UNT would be a better school with all the attention on the programs which have distinguished the university - music and art. Let UTA get all the football/baseball/basketball attention. Let UNT build on the creative programs.
TWU is a school better suited to strong athletic departments since it has highly regarded physical therapy program. I dont know why the Denton campus doesnt double its enrollment within the medical sciences industry. Maybe Baylor and/or UT-Southwestern can open a campus in Denton for pre-med students.
It may be 20 years in the future (or longer with the heretofore slow pace of DART) when a regional transit system has stations in/near the student unions of UNT and TWU, but I can think of no better place than Denton to become the higher education center of DFW. As much as DFW needs a comprehensive transit plan, the area also needs a eomprehensive system to maximize higher education.
I used to make a similar argument for UT when I was in Austin. No UT isn't considered a commuter school, but I bet it has more commuters numbers wise than any other school iin the state. I believe only about 20,000 of the 51,000 actually live within walking distance or on campus. The rest ride the crowded shuttles, Austin Metro busses from the north or just drive and walk. The numerous parking garages and surface lots are a blight to the school I believe (though they are raking in the dough from them). Many streets could've been closed within the campus as the master plan suggested. I've not even mentioned the huge number of staff and faculty it takes to run the nations largest university. How did they think rail wouldn't work there?
Don't make the same mistake Denton. Make this work.
As for UNT partnering with one of the Dallas med schools for a pre-med program: I doubt they would do that since they already have their own medical school campus in Ft. Worth.
I think UNT has wasted a ton of time on this notion of opening a campus in South Dallas. It sounds like a great idea on the surface, but it looks as if they will never be able to draw enough interest in the System Center to ever move on to developing a full service campus. Full-time enrollment at the System Center has been well below the necessary numbers to even move forward at this point.
I didnt know they had a med campus in FW. Maybe with the S. Dallas campus the goal is to futher the regional scope of the school - maybe part of a 50 year upgrade plan??? I really have no idea what the goals of the school would be.
I was there when the name changed from NTSU to UNT, a big part of the change was going for a more prestigious sounding name. I was disappointed when the radio station didnt receive a similar call letter change.
A lot of non-students ride the UT shuttles, too....live within walking distance or on campus. The rest ride the crowded shuttles,
Very funny.Originally posted by tamtagon
I was disappointed when the radio station didnt receive a similar call letter change.
More miscellanea in Denton...
Proposed center would bring Denton more shops
February 10, 2005
Students could have a new shopping venue to visit soon if Denton's planning and zoning board and city council approve it. Denton Towne Crossing's proposed construction is on Loop 288, across from the current Denton Crossing development.
"(Developers) are going before the planning and zoning commission ... and if it is approved by them, a month later it would go before the city council," said Denton Economic Development director Linda Ratliff.
Developers submitted their alternative development plan to the city's planning and zoning commission Wednesday night. If it is approved by the city council, and the developers receive a building permit, dirt could be moving on the construction site of Denton's third largest retail development within the next two months.
The development could house two existing retailers in Denton: Target, which would expand into a super store, and a Home Depot. Numerous other retailers and restaurants could follow. Commercial development throughout the city has prompted community and economic leaders to address traffic concerns. Students can expect road construction to be the norm for months, as the Texas Department of Transportation reconstructs on and off ramps to lead to large commercial developments and improve the flow of traffic on Interstate 35E. Also, plans to widen Loop 288 are on schedule and construction could begin soon.
"They are planning to start on the bidding process, and then they will start removing the utilities like the water, gas, and sewer lines, which could take six months before the actual road construction," Ratliff said.
Another large retail project that is currently under-construction is the Unicorn Lake development at I-35E and Windriver Road. The development already houses the new, 14-screen Cinemark movie theatre, and two new restaurants will be constructed at the site.
"Shady Oaks Barbeque and Mexican Inn are restaurant chains from the Spring Creek Barbeque Company that have committed to build in Denton," Ratliff said. "They are going through the planning process and, in the next six months, we will start to see activity at those sites." Unicorn Lake will also feature numerous townhouses, a housing option that is new to Denton, a lake and hike and bike trails that will link the restaurant and entertainment venues together.
"It will ultimately become a community within a community," Ratliff said.
Denton Mayor Euline Brock called the new growth a step in the right direction. "This is really going to be terrific," Brock said. "It means more and better shopping opportunities for our city and we can keep the sales tax dollars in Denton."
Brock said a shortage in collected sales tax is a problem for the city since it has three large schools that officials cannot collect from.
"In Denton, 36 percent of the property is tax exempt," Brock said. "Therefore, we cannot collect taxes from NT, Texas Woman's, or the Denton State School. The more taxable property the better it will be for our city and these retail projects are a healthy step for Denton's tax base."
Overall, Brock hopes these new retail developments will bring more shoppers from surrounding cities to the area and establish Denton as a retail destination like its sprawling neighbors, Lewisville and Frisco. "The establishment of these retailers to Denton will make this city an important place to shop and shows that the city is a viable place to do business," said Brock.
Development coming to 400-acre ranch site
08:06 AM CDT on Sunday, July 17, 2005
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
Longhorns nibbling on prairie grass have long been the view for passers-by at Hillview Ranch, known by many in Denton as “the hill.” It won’t be a hill for much longer, however.
The Rayzor family recently entered a partnership with Texas Land & Building Co. to market Hillview Ranch for mixed-use development. Doug Elliott, grandson of J. Newton Rayzor, a former prominent Denton resident, recently revealed plans to build a mixed-use development on the estimated 400 acres bordered by Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 380. “We’ve always felt it was a significant piece of property,” he said, adding that Rayzor’s descendants felt the location deserved a “unique and thoughtful” development.
The Rayzor family still has significant holdings in and around the city that is home to Newton Rayzor Elementary School, Denia Park and The Selwyn School — all of which sit on property donated by the family. In a partnership with Texas Land & Building Co., the Rayzor family plans to market the acreage to users and developers for retail, office, medical office and residential development.
Talks included some development along the property’s southern region near the new Presbyterian Hospital of Denton, which opened in April. The hill’s proximity to the hospital “makes it more useful for our property,” Elliott said. “We wouldn’t be talking about medical uses if it weren’t for the Presbyterian Hospital,” he said.
The duo also retained Washington, D.C., architect David M. Schwarz/Architectural Service Inc. to develop a master plan. The company is known for developed master-planned, pedestrian-friendly developments such as Southlake Town Center, the American Airlines Center in Dallas and the Ballpark in Arlington, as well as downtown Fort Worth’s revitalization.
The announcement follows months of discussions between family, developers and city officials. “We learned about a year ago that they were considering it and we’re very excited,” said Linda Ratliff, director of the community and economic development departments for the city of Denton. “It is definitely the premier site in Denton.”
Pastures cover the hill topped by a white, two-story Williamsburg colonial home that faces south toward Scripture Street.
The picturesque tableau is one often pointed out to visitors. “It’s been sort of a traditional sightseeing place,” said Keith Shelton, a longtime journalist and former editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle. “Because of the highway, a lot of people drove by there and saw the longhorns or whatever was in there.” The house on the hill and a four-room caretaker cottage, built in 1969 as a summer hangout for the family, has seen little of the planned family gatherings in the years since Rayzor’s death in 1970, Elliott said. “My grandfather is the last family member that’s lived there, and only occasionally,” he said. “I think he had more aspirations for it to be more of a family gathering place.”
Others have lived in the house and surrounding buildings in the years since, Elliott said. The status of the house and the immediate area around it has not been decided, the grandson said, though he said it likely would be one of the last pieces developed.
Shelton wrote about the history of the hill when he interviewed Rayzor for the Record-Chronicle on July 29, 1966.
“Rayzor’s registered cattle brand is ‘HV’ for the Horse Valley Ranch. So he named his Denton place the Hill View Ranch in order to maintain the brand. He has a rare herd of Longhorn cattle on the Denton place. His Hill View Ranch is on the site of the place owned by A.D. Turner when Rayzor was a lad and operating what he calls a ‘sody water stand’ at Bonnie Brae and Scripture streets. Turner, who weighed in excess of 300 pounds, used to come by at the end of the work day every day and buy and drink six ‘sody waters’ from Rayzor.”
Other file stories offer more details about the history of the hill. Rayzor bought the property in 1955 from Bob Wilkins. Residents knew the area as the Wilkins place and, before then, the Turner place. Before the Rayzor house could be built, workers had to tear down a white frame house that had been on the same location for about 100 years.
At 721 feet above sea level, the top of Hillview Ranch is just 37 feet shy of the nearby McKenna Park Hill, one of the tallest spots in town. Bob Montgomery, a local historian and Denton City Council member, said Indians would wait at the edge of the Cross Timbers region at McKenna Park Hill and watch for their quarry to come up over the hill at Hillview Ranch.
Proposed changes at the well-known ranch leave some in anticipation and others not so encouraged. As one of the most coveted land tracts in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, Hillview Ranch also is one of the largest undeveloped properties along Interstate 35 within a major city, said Melissa Glasgow, vice president of economic development for the Denton Chamber of Commerce. “Not only is it one of the most beautiful properties in Denton, it is the most-identified and visible property in Denton that provides the greatest potential for the development of a signature project,” she said. “That, in itself, could very well change the face of Denton.”
Elimination of the open space of Hillview Ranch is something Shelton said he dislikes about the proposed development, not only on the hill but also in other areas of the city. “It’s part of what’s happening in Denton,” he said. “All of the space is getting filled up as quickly as possible, and to me, that’s not all good.”
In his last interview with the Record-Chronicle on that July day 39 years ago, Rayzor said, in talking about the city’s future, that he hoped Denton would “develop with the dignity that is in keeping with a place like this. “I’d like for whatever is done here to be fitting to the great universities we have.” As the family begins the path toward changing the history on the hilltop, Elliott said a lot depends on the market. “We’d love it to be something great,” he said. “We’re going to try to lay it out the best we can.”
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 11 November 2005 at 03:12 PM.
^Great news, thanks for the article. I've always dreamed, but never thought this large peice of land would be developed.
City tightens apartment development
Council’s changes to code intended to promote mixed use
07:31 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 17, 2005
By Cliff Despres / Staff Writer
Denton isn’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for apartments anymore. The City Council on Tuesday approved several changes to its development code to control a surge of apartments and promote mixed-use development, city leaders say. For instance, many zoning categories where apartments are allowed by right will now allow apartments only if they are part of mixed-use development, part of an existing master-planned area, part of a neighborhood plan or with a specific use permit.
Multifamily design standards increased, too, requiring more architectural detail. But developers, and even some members of the city’s own planning commission, worry that the new rules will make it tougher and costlier to build multifamily housing here.
“The regulations will tend to restrict multifamily development in the city,” said Steve McNeill, whose family owns land in Denton zoned for multifamily use and wants to build upscale condominiums on it. “At the very least, this proposal needs more work to function to achieve the city’s objectives and to be fair.”
City officials understand that developers and others might oppose higher multifamily design standards, but higher standards can control the growth of apartments and help boost the value of Denton’s overall housing stock, said Mayor Euline Brock.
“Our standards should be as high as other communities,” she said. A recent surge of apartments — 928 units opened in the first six months of 2004 compared to 1,452 in the last four years — has butted heads with city plans to shift its housing stock from a 55-45 single-family to multifamily ratio to a 60-40 ratio by 2020. The surge stems from developers who built only multifamily housing in mixed-use zoning categories, Brock said.
“We want to encourage” mixed-use development, she said. So staffers began examining ways to limit apartment-only developments. Late last year, the city proposed amending its development code to require all multifamily developments to get a specific use permit, which requires a public hearing. But developers argued the permit process is a lengthy process that jeopardizes their ability to develop apartments on land zoned for apartments, though homeowners said the process ensures that their opinions are heard when apartments come in near homes.
The city quickly decided against requiring such a permit in all cases. Instead, Tuesday’s regulations change several zoning categories that allow multifamily housing by right to now allow it only as part of other things, or with a specific use permit. If a developer wants to build only apartments in popular mixed-use zoning categories, for instance, they would first have to get a specific use permit.
Developers don’t want to face that process, they say. “They don’t want to get to the front door and have it shut in their face,” said real estate broker Eddie Lane on Tuesday. Several also fretted Tuesday about the new multifamily design standards.
For example, requiring that 40 percent of the total net wall area of each building must be brick, stone or masonry would increase developer and energy costs, developers said. Also, limiting the height of multifamily buildings when they’re within 100-feet of a single-family home or zoning category could limit infill opportunities, they said. That might discourage low-income housing, too. “So many times we have properties nestled in neighborhoods and very near single-family homes. It would cause a challenge, and extra expense, to accommodate those standards,” said Shirley Hensley, CEO of the Denton Housing Authority, an independent public agency that operates some low-income apartments in town.
The city’s planning commission approved the regulations by a 5-1 vote on July 27.
But Virgil Strange, chairman of the commission, said several commission members felt the council “pressured” them to pass regulations that they believe are “wrought with problems,” he wrote in an Aug. 5 letter to city leaders. Strange said there are too many “unanswered questions.” He said he voted against the regulations on July 27 because of their potential to increase the future cost of developing multifamily housing in Denton. “This is not the first time important issues have come to the commission, disappear for while and then come back on a rush basis and must be considered quickly and passed on to the council,” Strange wrote in the letter. “If we are going to be asked to have such input on important issues, adequate time must be allowed to insure a thorough discussion and handling at the commission level.”
Brock said the commission has had input on the regulations since November 2004, so members have had plenty of time to examine them. City Council member Jack Thomson said he shares the commission’s concerns. Thomson was the only council member to vote against the new regulations Tuesday. “I have a lot of concerns,” he said, mainly about the commission’s issues and the potential time and expense the new rules might put on developers.
But the remaining council members supported the regulations. The changes basically force mixed-use developments, instead of apartment-only development, so the city gets pedestrian-friendly areas it wants, city officials say. The council agreed to review the new regulations as issues or problems arise. We need to be “committed to quick response and changes,” said council member Joe Mulroy.
CLIFF DESPRES can be reached at 940-566-6876. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
APARTMENT DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS
The Denton City Council on Tuesday approved several changes to its development code geared to limit the proliferation of apartments in the city.
The main changes to multifamily zoning regulations:
* Multifamily would be permitted in many zoning categories only as part of an existing master-planned development, as part of a mixed-use development, as part of a council-approved neighborhood plan, if the development got approval for multifamily a year prior to Aug. 30, or with a specific-use permit. Apartments had been allowed without condition in those categories.
* Mixed-use developments must create a phasing plan and build at least 50 percent of any non-residential component first.
* If a mixed-use project phases all or some common amenities in future phases, a cash amount equal to the estimated cost of developing the amenities must be deposited with the cities.
The main changes to multifamily design standards:
* Buildings within 100 feet of an existing single-family use are limited to one story tall with a pitched roof.
* Buildings must front on public or private streets, not parking lots.
* Buildings must have direct access from the street or sidewalk.
* Accessory structures, such as carports, garages and storage units, cannot be located along public or private streets.
* An amount equal to 40 percent of the total net wall area of each building, excluding windows and doors, must be brick, stone or masonry.
* Fronts and street sides of buildings must change relief, using details such as columns or cornices, for at least 15 percent of the exterior wall area.
* Building frontages greater than 100 feet in length must have recesses, projections, windows or other features to interrupt the length.
* Stairwells cannot dominate a facade facing a public or private street.
* On-street parking must be limited to parallel parking spaces.
* Any applicant can request deviations from these design standards.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 11 November 2005 at 03:11 PM.
Nightlife lights up
The Square thrives after dark, and city officials are trying to expand this vibrant scene
09:02 AM CST on Sunday, November 6, 2005
By Cliff Despres / Staff Writer
Plano brothers Shawn and John Ismail drive all the way to downtown Denton one Sat ur day night each month just to chat and people-watch as they smoke stogies and sip bubbly on a sidewalk table outside Wine2 on the Square. There’s plenty to see here after dark, they say. “This place rocks,” Shawn Ismail said. “Denton is doing better than a lot of places.”
Strings of sparkling lights in trees illuminate the stoic frame of the Courthouse on the Square. A young couple lies on a blanket on the nearby lawn, sharing a deep kiss. Couples and families stroll sidewalks, peering into store windows after filling their bellies at bustling restaurants. College students fill taverns and nightclubs. People of all ages gather to gulp java at coffeehouses. Sharp metal riffs bellow out of a live music venue.
All this adds up to a downtown Denton that hardly sleeps at night nowadays. Many residents and city officials agree that downtown Denton nightlife is markedly different from 10 years ago, when there was a near-complete lack of activities. Now, there are arts performances, music venues, coffeehouses, restaurants and bars open all nights of the week.
The city’s downtown is a success story not just with area residents, but with people who come here from Plano, Dallas, Fort Worth and all over North Texas, city business owners say. Many say it could be better, though, especially for older adults. City leaders, already dedicated to luring upscale housing and retail here, say they plan to mix downtown’s current stock of nightlife with more upscale evening options, like patio dining, theaters and art galleries.
Not everyone is happy with the plans. Some business owners worry that more nightlife in general will turn Denton’s unique downtown into Austin’s Sixth Street, populated by bars, tattoo parlors, trash and crime. Others worry more upscale or family venues would hurt a dynamic live music scene.
But several are just glad there’s a downtown nightlife at all. “It used to be just dead at night. There was no destination, and there wasn’t anything open,” said David Pierce of the Music Theatre of Denton, pausing outside a Friday night performance of Seussical at the Campus Theatre. “In the last couple of years, it’s starting to have some destination.”
The death of a Square
Denton’s downtown, the area around the courthouse generally between University and Eagle drives and Carroll Boulevard and Bell Avenue, has been the city center since 1896. But after the sun went down, businesses usually shut down, too.
There were no bars and few nightclubs, as the city was “dry” well into the 1970s. A movie house on Elm Street, which became Fine Arts Theatre in the 1950s, and the Campus Theatre, opened in 1949 on Hickory Street as a movie house mainly for the students at two local universities, were some of the few attractions.
But in the 1980s, the rise of monolithic malls and strip shopping centers “killed” Denton’s Square, said Mayor Euline Brock. The Campus Theatre shut down in 1985. Fine Arts closed not long after, and Denton’s downtown became ghostly quiet. “This was happening in all town squares in Texas,” Brock said. Things turned around, though, thanks to the arts.
In 1990, the vacant Campus Theatre had a holey roof and pigeons roosting inside. Local performing arts officials looked past that, and saw a home. The Greater Denton Arts Council, seeking visible performance space, bought the old theatre for $150,000 in 1990. Groups then raised nearly $2 million to renovate the art deco structure into a venue for dance, music and theatrical performances.
It reopened its doors for a variety show on July 6, 1995 — at night. “It was somewhat of a catalyst” for nightlife and development in a dormant downtown, said Roni Beasley, president of the arts council from 1993 to 1995. “Just seeing that neon sign at night makes people say, ‘Gee, there must be something going on.’” The theater’s rebirth gave the Main Street program, which formed a few years earlier, a new goal: enliven downtown with an arts and entertainment corridor.
A new look
After the launch of the theater, an art gallery opened. More local restaurants opened. Dan’s Bar, a now-closed restaurant/bar/live music venue, opened in the mid-1990s. Brock called it synergy. “One thing builds on another,” she said.
Today, most downtown furniture and antique shops close by 6 p.m. But business owner Bob Moses keeps Elements of Design open late Thursdays. Beth Marie’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, which he co-owns, stays open until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. People — teens, families and older couples — wait in line for dairy treats all evening. “We’ve seen a continued increase in foot traffic around the Square in the last three years,” Moses said. “I’m hoping other businesses are encouraged to stay open later.”
Coffeehouses, restaurants and a pair of wine stores stay open past 6 p.m. Recycled Books Records CDs opens daily until 9 p.m. Restaurant-bars like The Loophole, Hannah’s and Sweetwater stay open later. Jimmy Meredith, who runs Sweetwater and Saltwater eateries, said Sweetwater’s business has grown each year of its 10-year existence. He credits Main Street with improving the streetscapes and sidewalks, but would love more parking.
The Courthouse renovation helped, too. The lights in the trees allow people to walk around the lawn or sit on the building’s steps at night. “The atmosphere is more conducive [to night activity] than it was,” said City Council member Joe Mulroy, who sometimes dines at Saltwater or Sweetwater. “It’s not just college students, but a wide range of age groups who feel comfortable downtown.”
Live music venues on the Square — Andy’s Bar and J&J’s Pizza, and just off the Square, Hailey’s, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and Dan’s Silverleaf — are packed with people. Dusty’s Bar patrons toss darts and shoot pool.
People pour into Atticus, a New York-style nightclub with a bar and music, until it closes at 2 a.m., even though the venue opened only three months ago. Owner Emil Bragdon hopes his venue spices up the nightlife. “I wanted to come to the Square because it’s unique,” he said, “and there are not a lot of night attractions.”
A java ‘living room’
Brandon Weist and members of his family needed jobs, so they decided to open Jupiter House coffee shop on Locust Street in downtown on Halloween 2003. Many recognize the 24-hours-a-day Jupiter House as an icon of downtown at night, mixing java with free wireless Internet connections and artwork on the walls. “We wanted to be the community meeting place, the living room. I think we are,” Weist said. “You see bikers sitting with students, people in cowboy hats talking philosophy with college professors.”
At least a third of the shop’s business happens well after 6 p.m. A rush hits between 9 p.m. and midnight, and then a “hangover helper” rush hits around 2:30 a.m. after the downtown bars close.
Jason Parker and Amy Shirling, seniors at the University of North Texas, sat talking and having coffee on outside tables there on a recent Friday night. They said Jupiter House is a cool place for people too young to drink and too drunk to drive home. But as he peered out on the Square, Parker said downtown has little nightlife. “Is there nightlife? I guess I missed it. It’s just like any college town, just bars,” he said. “In college, getting drunk is the lifestyle. Or going to see a crappy band.”
City officials want to attract a more upscale nightlife downtown, but how?
Denton’s downtown economic development strategy is based on a book. The Rise of the Creative Class, written by Richard Florida, a noted public policy and economic development professor, is what the city hails as its emblem. Brock often orders copies of the book and hands them out.
Florida writes that a “creative class” of people drives innovation and urban success, Brock says. Those types of people want to live in places with live music, upscale clubs, arts and tolerance for gays — a “lifestyle built around creative experiences.”
A creative atmosphere would attract creative companies, in theory. “Companies can be anywhere, because their real capital is creative people, not where they can get the biggest tax abatement or a cheap workforce,” Brock said. “They want a place where the kind of people they want to hire want to live. The creative class isn’t necessarily just a painter or musician, but scientists and computer innovators.”
To get there, Denton needs to mix up its demographics, Brock said.
‘Overabundance of sports bars’
Take a look at the faces inside downtown Denton establishments. Chances are there’s a 27.8-year-old in the crowd. That’s Denton’s median age, anyway, and many people who live here are non-affluent college students at University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, according to a recent marketing study.
That demographic is important to nightlife, Brock said, but downtown would collapse if it offered only a college-driven atmosphere. “There are some dangers in overabundance of sports bars,” Brock said, noting that a downtown full of drunks could deter people from coming and increase crime and graffiti. That’s why city leaders want a “vibrant” nightlife downtown.
The City Council has been mulling how to create an atmosphere that could stimulate tourism, generate 18- or 24-hour activity, and attract people who work in creative, high-paying industries, including young technology professionals and older adults.
Brock uses Hannah’s as an example. She said Hannah’s, recently sold by owner Eric Hill, who still owns Hailey’s dance club and bar across Mulberry Street, attracts middle-aged adults with a bar and jazz music.
Places like that should multiply, Brock said. That’s what she told Paris Rutherford of Dallas-based firm RTKL. The firm is being paid $138,500 to draft a five-year action plan to implement an existing master plan for downtown that calls for a lively sidewalk scene, museums, performance/gallery space, conference space, an independent movie theater and development around a planned commuter rail line station. “Downtown Denton should be a place where people live, work, play, shop and don’t even need to get in their cars,” Brock said.
Getting more people to live downtown would spur nightlife, simply because more people would have easy access to businesses, Brock said. Right now, downtown houses about 62 apartment units, many above businesses, according to a listing of all downtown apartments on Main Street’s Web site. Units vary from $400 to $1,800 in monthly rent. “It’s all eagerly sought-after, so much that people consider themselves lucky to find a place. Where they come open, they lease right away,” said Robb Bertelsen, who just finished serving the limit of three terms as head of the Main Street Association.
Living downtown has benefits and drawbacks, Bertelsen said. Residents enjoy easy access to the area and can walk to favorite restaurants or coffee shops. But some don’t like trying to sleep through 5 a.m. large-bin trash pickup, or fall asleep to thumping bands playing in live music venues. Parking can be a nightmare, too. David Hartman, dean of the UNT School of Community Service, lived in an apartment in the Opera House, across the street from Andy’s Bar, from 1998 to 2004. He moved away because of issues with the unit, not because of problems with nightlife downtown.
He said he loved being close to specialty restaurants and walking around the Square.
“Sweetwater, Saltwater, Hannah’s and the ice cream shop — those kinds of businesses enliven the place at night,” Hartman said.
Making something out of vacant buildings, or turning some existing places into upscale hotspots, is another tool the city is trying to further develop downtown nightlife. Brock said that sort of thing already is happening.
When Brickhaus Cafe on Oak Street closed, Banter, a coffeehouse with a small performance stage, opened up weeks later in its place. Saltwater is planning to add an outdoor patio area, Brock said. One business owner wants to build a rooftop cafe, she said. Wells Fargo may be interested in doing a public-private redevelopment of land around its building downtown, perhaps building condos, Brock added. “We have very definite prospects,” she said.
Julie Glover, downtown development manager, said the city is studying several opportunities but is keeping potential projects hush-hush. But from a recent City Council meeting with RTKL, it’s not hard to see what they’re aiming for.
An RTKL report lists these options: mixed-use redevelopment on the Square and Oak and Hickory streets; outdoor dining establishments to maximize pedestrian activity; infill corridors between McKinney and Hickory streets with densities complementing the historic aspect of the area; high-density infill around a planned commuter rail station; new pocket parks as north/south gateways to Denton; and a parking garage.
But some worry that redevelopment will vanquish Denton’s unique downtown.
One downtown business owner said adding more nightlife in general would only bring more trash, graffiti and hurt to the area. Bertelsen said others share his fears. “We’re fairly saturated with sports bars and clubs. Downtown business owners would hate to see that increase. It’s not that they disagree with that type of place, but what it might bring: graffiti, trash and vandalism,” he said. “It [those problems] are rare now, but there are a select few who have problems.”
Some musicians fret that more upscale or family nightlife would push live music venues out of downtown, perhaps just to the Fry Street area by UNT. Dan Mojica, who owned Dan’s Bar and now owns Dan’s Silverleaf on Industrial Street, said nightlife has gotten “hipper” in recent years with indie bands at Hailey’s, indie and punk bands at Rubber Gloves, and Americana and rock bands at Dan’s. But Mojica said the live music scene would remain strong whether or not city redevelopment brings family-oriented venues downtown.
Chain stores, on the other hand, are a different story. “I’m against having any kind of chains. It is locally owned businesses that make downtown unique. They are funkier, quirkier than corporate businesses,” Mojica said.
Brock said chains are a possibility, but not the focus. “You see that place with the silver leaf on top? You can’t wipe out places like that. That’s what makes Denton so distinctive,” Brock said. “We want to incorporate the nature of our community and history. It doesn’t have to be created, but enhanced and built upon. We are dependent primarily on locally owned merchants. But we’re not saying we’d never want chains.”
‘We need more’
A pair of older adult couples walked around the Square after dark on a recent Friday, lamenting that downtown needs more shops to stay open later and restaurants with patio dining, when raucous yelling interrupted them. Teens and 20-somethings were getting rowdy outside J&J’s Pizza on Oak Street as they awaited a band concert in the basement. “They need something geared more to the adult, and not that,” said Edie Jones of Denton, pointing to the crowd of teens.
Many say regular stores staying open later would help, first off. More visible cultural activities, on streets or the Courthouse lawn, may help, too. Bertelsen said daytime downtown business owners want to see more family-oriented options to enhance nightlife, such as a jazz club or a country music opry. “The music venues we have are great, but we need more,” he said. “More fine arts, music and theater that is more wholesome and family-oriented.”
Glover said there is still much to do, but there’s room for all types of things downtown. “We’re going to get more mixed-use, retail-residential, nightlife and parking. They may not all be on the Square, but there’s more to downtown than just the Square,” Glover said. “We’re talking to the people with the means to make all that happen.”
CLIFF DESPRES can be reached at 940-566-6876. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 11 November 2005 at 03:10 PM.
On the Square, round-the-clock caffeine and camaraderie
08:52 AM CST on Sunday, November 6, 2005
By Josh Baugh / Staff Writer
In the Denton Record-Chron icle’s newsroom, I’m known as the resident Jupiter House junkie. So, it was no surprise that I was asked to write a column about downtown Denton’s night life, and the role Jupiter House plays in that.
I’m there all the time. In fact, I kind of feel like Norm from Cheers when I walk in each day. I like to think of myself as being spontaneous and unstructured, but apparently my Jupiter House routine is so monotonous that my cubicle mate, education reporter Ava Thomas Benson, even knows which stool I sit on.
But for me and many others, Jupiter House isn’t just another quick stop for coffee. We Denton residents who like coffee are lucky to live here, where we have choices of independent coffee houses to patronize. I like that at Jupiter House, the employees can wear what they want and play the music they like, independent of a corporate operating manual. I like that I can go to Jupiter House 24 hours a day, and that I can always see new art by local artists on the walls. I like that I know the staff, and that they know me. They know what I drink (OK, so maybe I’m not so spontaneous); they know I like my cappuccinos dry and I only drink skim milk.
But it doesn’t end there. Brandon, the owner, is always quick to say hello and give me a genuine smile. I’m not greeted with “Hi, welcome to Jupiter House. How may I help you?” It’s more like, “Hey, Josh. How’s it going? The usual today?”
While he makes my Americano or skim vanilla cappuccino, we talk about good music and who’s playing the next weekend at Dan’s Silverleaf. Carly and I share a fondness for Wilco (a great band from Chicago) and the occasional chat about current events. And Cassandra and I banter back and forth about jam-band concerts, and biodiesel, which she proudly promotes for the city. When I leave, she always reminds me to have a good day or wishes me luck on my next interview.
Then there’s the clientele. They are a true representation of Denton. There’s a smattering of business people and county employees who slip over from the Courthouse on the Square. And on most nights, there isn’t a seat in the house after the college kids have converged for their study groups and all-night cram sessions. In the mornings, it’s usually quiet. Sometimes, National Public Radio is playing in the background while college professors and other intellectual types drop by for a quick coffee or sit down with a bottomless cup and work on a laptop.
There are artists and writers and musicians. High school kids hang out there on the weekends and families gather there on Sundays. The coffeehouse has only been around for two years, but it’s already a Denton landmark, at least for me, and for hundreds of other happy patrons who won’t get their caffeine fixes anywhere else.
JOSH BAUGH can be reached at 940-566-6881. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
City asked to annex 3,400-acre ranch
Proposal includes planned upscale housing and a possible UNT golf course
07:16 AM CST on Tuesday, January 31, 2006
By Cliff Despres / Staff Writer
Homes, businesses, Loop 288 and maybe a University of North Texas golf course are headed for the expansive M.T. Cole Ranch outside Denton, where cattle roamed up to now, city officials and land*owners said Monday.
The Stratford Co. of Dallas has asked the city of Denton to annex its 3,400-acre ranch to make way for a master-planned community off Interstate 35W.
Development could start in 2008 and finish in 2020, Stratford officials say.
Dave Denison of Stratford, which owns the ranch with the Cole family, said his firm has a deal, in principle, to donate land to UNT so university officials can build a “championship” golf course near Tom Cole Road, perhaps in five years. UNT leaders did not confirm the deal Monday.
Denison briefed the City Council on the project at a meeting Monday.
Council members say Cole Ranch can add high-end housing, attract other master-planned communities and speed up road projects, such as extending Loop 288.
“Large, master-planned communities are very valuable to a city like Denton. We have some control over what happens there over a large period of time,” said Mayor Euline Brock, noting that the city is trying to craft new rules to ease the path for such master-planned developments after past mixed-use projects failed to bring more than apartments. “We’ve been looking forward to a project like this.”
First, however, the project must overcome some obstacles.
Developers still must get utility service, address city concerns about apartments and establish plans for the golf course with UNT.
‘Not to swim upstream’
Cole Ranch is largely rural pastureland abutting Denton Municipal Airport. It is just north of the Robson Ranch community for seniors.
Only one person, a Cole family member, lives on the land.
Stratford officials are planning four phases of development within 15 years.
When finished, the ranch would contain 12,000 homes — most single-family homes, but also about 2,000 multi-family units in the form of townhouses, according to plans they submitted to the city last week.
The project will have some “village centers,” clusters of residences and businesses that prompt people to live, work and shop in one area, Brock said.
But several issues lie ahead.
Denton must annex the land and approve zoning to accommodate the project.
Developers say they will work with the city on the extension of utility service and with the school district on the number of schools needed in the area.
They also want to ensure the development won’t hinder airport expansion.
The future extension of Loop 288, from its northern intersection with I-35E to I-35W, also would cut through the property. Developers say they plan to adhere to the road’s alignment as it’s routed on the city’s mobility plan, and would dedicate right of way to help spur the state road project along.
“They prefer not to swim upstream. They’re trying to anticipate problems and solve them before they become problems,” said council member Bob Montgomery.
A UNT golf course might pose a problem.
UNT President Norval Pohl said he was unfamiliar with any specific plans to build a golf course, an amenity the university hasn’t had for several years.
But he acknowledged UNT has discussed the idea with some developers.
“We’ve had discussions with two or three different developers about them donating land and us building a golf course,” Pohl said. “I’m not aware of any land in discussion right now.”
In 2003, officials at UNT and the Radisson Hotel agreed to cancel the hotel’s lease on a public golf course, which UNT owned behind the Radisson. Then UNT built a dormitory, dining hall, athletic center and tennis complex on the property.
The move sparked an outcry among several residents who lived nearby, fearing the loss of the course and addition of a dorm would hurt their property values. But the course was losing money, in bad repair and not worth fixing, UNT officials said at that time.
UNT officials have since expressed interest in building a new course, but the cost would be significant — between $8 million and $12 million, Pohl said.
UNT has not identified a way to pay for that, he said.
Richard Rafes, UNT’s senior vice president for administration, owns property across the road from the proposed Cole Ranch annexation area. He said he personally likes the idea of the city annexing that land because it would raise property values in the surrounding area, which includes his home and the new UNT astronomy observatory.
As far as a UNT golf course, Rafes said he’d heard rumors about that possibility but knew of no specific plans.
Both Rafes and Pohl referred questions to UNT Athletic Director Rick Villarreal and Vice Chancellor Richard Escalante, who both would deal more directly with such an arrangement. Neither could be reached for comment.
While developers say a UNT golf course isn’t a long shot for Cole Ranch, several City Council members say they want to make sure developers keep apartments out.
Some recent developers have built only apartments in mixed-use zoning categories, leading to an influx of apartments in town, Brock said.
That has brought more low-income residents, not just students, to town, Brock said.
“We can’t afford to continue to be the low-income housing center,” she said.
So Brock said the city is currently working on strategies to curtail the growth of apartments in Denton and ease the path for upscale housing.
A new zoning category for master-planned communities could be the key, she said.
The council will discuss the issue in the coming months in hopes of creating standards geared to attract master-planned communities, which usually are developed on a large amount of land with retail, residences and a golf course over a certain amount of time.
Denison said Cole Ranch would seek the master-planned category once it is in place and noted that townhouses are planned, not apartments.
So annexation is up next for Cole Ranch, officials say, probably in a few months.
It would come on the heels of another city annexation, Craver Ranch, although they are not similar cases. The city involuntarily annexed part of Craver Ranch late last year, against the wishes of property owners within the area, and is fighting a legal battle to annex the remaining portion that contains a large mixed-use development.
In this case, in which Cole Ranch asked for annexation, city officials say developers have talked with city leaders as to what they’d like to see on their land.
Several council members say they hope more developers use this tactic, as city staffers continue to see more land outside the city being developed.
“This is the very thing we’re asking for,” Montgomery said.
Brock agreed. She said she hopes other developers use Cole Ranch as a model.
“We’re really excited,” Brock said. “A higher quality of homes would go really well here.”
Unt does need a new golf course. The last one was a joke. Then they torn most of it down to build a new building.
Last edited by US75Guy; 14 February 2006 at 10:25 AM. Reason: in Highland Village thread
Last edited by US75Guy; 14 February 2006 at 10:24 AM. Reason: in another thread
Hey, I don't wanna sound like a queer or nothin', but I think unicorns are kick ass!
Dallas uber alles
Hillview Ranch sale pending
Developer already trying to draw high-end tenants
07:18 AM CST on Tuesday, February 21, 2006
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
Hillview Ranch in Denton could be the launching pad for an $800 million retail and residential development, similar to one announced in Highland Village last week. Long known as “the hill” with its grazing longhorns and fields of prairie grass on the city’s north side, the estimated 400-acre property is proposed for development by Allegiance Development LP of Dallas if the sale becomes final in the next few months or so, officials said.
Charles Ames, owner of Allegiance Development, first noticed the property in 1981 while driving by the Rayzor property at U.S. Highway 380 and Interstate 35. Each time he took his daughter to horse shows, the property caught his eye, he said. “Someday, that property is going to have to go on the market for sale and I want to be there when it does,” he remembered saying to himself. Twenty-five years later, his company has unveiled plans for an urban-style development that could include everything from a Sam’s Club to a convention center.
Denton City Council members first heard the proposal Monday during a lunch meeting with the developers, engineers, architects and a few other area developers and planners. “What’s being proposed here is the kind of thing we’d really like to see for the interests of the city,” said Perry McNeill, mayor pro tem, in a telephone conversation late Monday afternoon.
Ames told council members the project could generate up to 4,000 jobs and about $400 million to $500 million in revenue for the city by the time it is completed.
The project includes a line of large retail stores along a strip of property on the north side of University Drive on the same side as the Denton Expo Center, which was formerly a Kmart. Some larger retailers showing interest range from Sam’s Club and Wal-mart to Kohl’s Department Store. Smaller retail stores would sit near the road with parking for both behind them.
Across the street on the ranch, similar retail would be built along University Drive. Allegiance officials said they were in talks with a specialty grocery store, and also had interest from a movie theater chain and a bookstore chain.
Multi-storied buildings with retail shops centered around a courtyard would fill the center of the property with high-end apartments on the east side combined with town houses and single family homes.
Council member Joe Mulroy pointed out the council’s hesitancy to approve additional apartment units — a decision they made recently in hopes of stemming the tide of apartment development. City officials have said they hope to attract developments with plans for building higher-end residential properties. “There’s concern about the multi-family but because it’s staged [over seven years], it gives us time to deal with it,” McNeill said.
Office buildings and medical offices are planned for the south side across from Presbyterian Hospital of Denton. Commercial and corporate businesses are planned along the west side, Ames said, adding that he has had some interest from companies wanting to relocate to the Denton area. The project also has 10 acres for a combined public park, lake, waterfall and amphitheater. Space for several hotels also is projected with the possibility of a convention center.
“The family’s very interested in having this be a special location,” said Doug Elliott, grandson of J. Newton Rayzor, who revealed last July the family’s plans to develop the property into a mixed-use development. The family has talked to several developers and, according to Elliott, expects to maintain control of the property’s development. “I think from what Allegiance has shown us, a lot of what they laid out is in keeping with what we want to do,” Elliott said.
The county’s 40 percent growth rate in the past five years is expected to be even higher in the next five, said Joseph Gampper, president of retail/land at Allegiance. “Denton County is similar to where Collin County was seven years ago,” he said.
Studies show that an estimated 300,000 county residents could be staying in Denton County to shop. With the new projects being touted — the 45-acre town-square-style shopping center in Highland Village and the one for Hillview Ranch — the shopping opportunities should keep shoppers closer to home, officials said.
For council member Charlye Heggins, one particular store would keep her close to home. “Is it possible to bring in a Steinmart?”
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Not sure that is one and the same...Originally Posted by njjeppson
It seems their definition of urban and mine are a little different.The project includes a line of large retail stores along a strip of property on the north side of University Drive on the same side as the Denton Expo Center, which was formerly a Kmart. Some larger retailers showing interest range from Sam’s Club and Wal-mart to Kohl’s Department Store. Smaller retail stores would sit near the road with parking for both behind them.
So not urban...Council member Joe Mulroy pointed out the council’s hesitancy to approve additional apartment units — a decision they made recently in hopes of stemming the tide of apartment development. City officials have said they hope to attract developments with plans for building higher-end residential properties. “There’s concern about the multi-family but because it’s staged [over seven years], it gives us time to deal with it,” McNeill said.]
So the only thing urban is mixed-use.“The family’s very interested in having this be a special location,” said Doug Elliott, grandson of J. Newton Rayzor, who revealed last July the family’s plans to develop the property into a mixed-use development. The family has talked to several developers and, according to Elliott, expects to maintain control of the property’s development. “I think from what Allegiance has shown us, a lot of what they laid out is in keeping with what we want to do,” Elliott said.
Envisioning arts on Hickory
08:47 AM CDT on Sunday, April 9, 2006
By Cliff Despres and Lucinda Breeding / Staff Writers
Denton Mayor Euline Brock sees Hick ory Street as a “sterile” road with no personality when she looks both ways in front of the Wells Fargo building downtown.
Closing her eyes, Brock envisions much more. She said she pictures Hickory re vamped, with fewer lanes of traffic, wide sidewalks trees, and an “arts walk” with galleries and public art — a long-sought, pedestrian-friendly link between the University of North Texas, a future rail station and downtown.
That vision might become reality in a few years. The city is seeking a state grant to help pay for a $1.9 million Hickory Street corridor project to make the road more pedestrian-friendly by 2009, connecting downtown, UNT and mass transit and setting a new stage for arts and downtown revitalization. The state will rule on the grant, and two others the city wants, later this month. “Hickory Street really is the spine that goes through our downtown. It has interesting things along it … but the street itself looks sterile, blank,” Brock said. “It’s a natural place for things to happen, between UNT and the rail station.”
The project would reduce Hickory from three to two lanes, from Carroll Boulevard to Elm Street and from Locust Street to beyond Bell Avenue. That would allow for wider sidewalks, a bike path and other street features. City officials say such a setting lends itself to an “arts walk” and could spur redevelopment and bring art galleries and venues to Hickory, between the Center for the Visual Arts at the corner of Bell and Hickory and the downtown Square.
Margaret Chalfant, executive director of the Greater Denton Arts Council, said it would build Denton’s cultural identity. “To me, it means making the walkways more inviting. When you can do boulevards with plantings and wider walks, it makes people want to slow down and really enjoy the area,” Chalfant said. “You hear people talk about the big pots of flowers on the Square, how beautiful they are. If you could bring that aesthetic down to the arts center, there’s no telling what development might follow.”
In 1995, residents working on a “Vision for Denton” project identified a portion of Hickory, from Bell to Locust, as a potential area for increased pedestrian traffic and an “arts walk” between the Visual Arts Center and Campus Theatre. But the idea never got off the ground. In recent days, Hickory has become much bigger in the scheme of redeveloping downtown, said Linda Ratliff, the city’s economic development director.
City officials see Hickory as:
One of the four roads that make up the downtown Square
A physical connection between downtown and the UNT campus to the west
A potential site for an arts walk
And the potential site of a future commuter rail station of the Denton County Transportation Authority, which is planning to connect Denton to Carrollton and Dallas with a commuter rail line in coming years. So the need to improve Hickory is now, Ratliff said.
Reducing traffic from three to two lanes on Hickory is the biggest change. Doing so would allow a 17-foot wide row of angle-in parking on the north side of the street and an 8-foot wide bike lane on the south side.
Wider sidewalks, edged with brick, could then replace the existing narrower ones. Pedestrian friendly lighting, trash cans, benches, bike racks, street trees and landscaped corner beds and flowerpots could enhance the sidewalks. Ratliff said it would look a lot like the sidewalks on the Square. Brock said she believes such a setting would encourage people to stroll. “It enhances your experience as you walk down the street,” Brock said.
The City Council last month approved a measure to support the project. Council member Jack Thomson has said the Hickory Street corridor is imperative as transit-oriented development comes to the area.
The council has hired Dallas-based firm RTKL Inc. to implement an existing master plan for downtown for museums, performance and gallery space, conference space, streetscapes and a terminal for a planned commuter rail line. The firm is working on some catalyst projects. One potential project is the public-private partnership of turning a parking lot off Hickory into a multi-storied housing complex and parking garage. “We’re getting a lot of interest, locally and in the Metroplex, to purchase property downtown to do some redevelopment,” Ratliff said.
Street improvements can lure sidewalk cafes, art galleries and redevelopment, she said. The city already is planning to improve four streets immediately surrounding the downtown Square — Walnut, Cedar, Austin and Pecan — in the next five years. A revamped Hickory Street and arts walk could have an even greater benefit.
Dan Mojica, who co-owns a popular downtown bar, Dan’s Silverleaf, on Industrial Street, which is off of Hickory Street, also thinks area businesses and arts venues would welcome the arts walk portion “with open arms.” He said he and other business owners were invited to a meeting several years ago, when city officials were beginning talks about the corridor along Hickory. “The overall premise was that, because of the potential walkway, this [East Hickory Street] would be a good place to put in nightclubs and multi-purpose real estate, like galleries and lofts.”
At the time, Mojica owned a bar on Elm Street. While he prefers the Silverleaf to his former space, he said his current location doesn’t have the foot traffic that brought nightlife into Dan’s Bar on Elm Street. Customers would head for Dan’s after a night at the Campus Theatre, or to take in the live music after dining on the Square. Pedestrians packed Dan’s Bar on Elm Street for New Year’s Eve concerts, and his old bar was five paces from Sweetwater Grill & Tavern. “It would be great to see something coming down this way,” Mojica said. “Something to really light it up a little. I think people on the Square know we’re down here, but sometimes they look down here and they see a dark patch and it creeps them out a little.”
The arts corridor wasn’t ultimately what drew Mojica to his Industrial Street space. “I have always just liked the Square, and I always wanted to be associated with downtown,” Mojica said. “That [the arts corridor] wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eyes. My hope is that people will start to utilize both sides of Hickory.”
Jo and Johnny Williams, longtime Denton residents and winners of the prestigious Community Arts Recognition Award, are a few steps ahead of the city’s vision for Hickory Street. Jo, a watercolorist, and Johnny, an Acme Brick employee and bassist for the Denton band Baloney Moon, have bought the old Millard Heath building on East Hickory. They are preparing to open Gallery 221.
The business is just the type of place city officials want on an arts corridor. It will be a gallery, micro-brewery pub and an art studio-for-rent. “We really did not have the arts corridor in mind when we were shopping for space,” Jo Williams said. “We were shopping for space for Johnny to open a brew pub, and he knew he wanted to be near downtown. When we saw the Hickory Street building, the place just spoke to us, and we knew immediately what every part of the building could be.”
Jo Williams is no stranger to the downtown arts scene. She had a gallery at the corner of Locust and Oak streets, where Andy’s now serves music and food, and later moved the gallery to Austin Street. “I had never intended to open another gallery, but there it was,” Jo Williams said. “And yes, we realized that it was on Hickory Street and would be part of the arts corridor. The idea thrilled us, thrills us.”
Chalfant said the Williams’ new business is what an arts walk is all about. “I can see us having shops where our artisans can sell their work, all the wonderful pottery. I can even see a blacksmith,” Chalfant said. She also likes the idea of a transit system stopping near the Center for the Visual Arts. “I think it would be lovely to bring people to the transit area, have them stop off at the CVA, then enjoy our shopping and enjoy our restaurants,” she said.
Nearly a dozen area merchants also have written letters to the city’s downtown development office to support the Hickory Street corridor. Ratliff said she hasn’t heard of any opposition to the project.
Bob Moses, who owns Elements of Design and co-owns Beth Marie’s ice cream shop on Hickory Street, said a few people may complain about the loss of a lane. But cutting to two lanes allows for outdoor cafes, trees and a better ambiance, he said, “Anything you do to make for a more pleasant experience to shop and eat benefits the businesses,” he said.
The project still needs funding, though. Denton is seeking a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation’s statewide transportation enhancement program that pays up to 80 percent of the cost of transit-related projects that encourage diverse modes of travel. Denton is requesting $1.56 million. The city would pay $389,126, and it also would have to pay about $25,000 annually to maintain the arts walk.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments has reviewed and ranked the corridor project No. 9 among 55 nominated projects in the region. Two other Denton projects also had high rankings — a project to create a pedestrian- and biker-friendly environment at the future rail station ranked No. 1, and building pedestrian bridges along the proposed rail line ranked No. 10.
Ratliff said it’s a good bet that at least the Hickory project will be funded. Chalfant and others certainly hope so, too. “The best thing about this is that it’s something that really says ‘Denton,’” she said. “It’s something that is tied to our Texas history as ranchers and agricultural past. It’s earthy, not homogenous.”
CLIFF DESPRES can be reached at 940-566-6876. His e-mail address is email@example.com
LOLOriginally Posted by tamtagon
"Comes in a little fuzzy, but everyone can get it"
Allegiance, partner buy Denton ranch
Homes, shopping and offices are planned for 415 acres
07:41 PM CDT on Friday, April 21, 2006
By DAWN COBB / Denton Record Chronicle
. . .A partnership led by Dallas-based Allegiance Development has purchased 415 acres in North Denton and plans to build one of the largest mixed-use projects in the region. . .
. . .The $850 million project, known as Denton Hillview, will feature a 1 million-square-foot, open-air shopping center similar to the new Firewheel Town Center in Garland. It will also include a 700,000-square-foot shopping center, a single-family and townhome residential area, a 30-acre campus for seniors, an amphitheater, a lake and park area, museums, a 10-acre area for hotels, and medical and office buildings. . .
. . .Construction is expected to begin by the fourth quarter of this year. . .
. . .Mr. Ames said the projects' proximity was due to the fast growth anticipated in Denton County. . .
. . .The project should be completed in 10 years, though much of it should be done in three to five years. . .
Its location on Denton's northern edge answers longtime wishes among residents who have felt the impact of recent closings along University Drive, including Kmart and Russell's department store. . .
. . ."People in Gainesville and Oklahoma that may have gone to Sherman will come here," she said.
More at link. . .
this design approach sure is popular now-a-daysOriginally Posted by CTroyMathis
1.7 million sq. ft. of retail? A lake? Museums? The're certainly thinking big...
'It's a perfect site'
Deal reached on Rayzor ranch land; leaders optimistic
07:27 AM CDT on Friday, April 21, 2006
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
New retail businesses on the north side of Denton are one step closer to reality with the sale of the Rayzor family’s Hillview Ranch to a Dallas-based developer.
The $850 million project is the largest development of its kind for both the city and Allegiance Development and is among the largest in the region, officials say. The last major retail development in Denton was the $50 million Denton Crossing Shopping Center, which opened in November 2003.
Allegiance Hillview L.P., a venture formed by Allegiance and equity provider Torreon Capital of Austin, officially closed the deal to buy 415 acres in Denton for an undisclosed amount, officials said Thursday. The purchase includes a historic hill at the corner of Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 380 and four pieces of property on the north side of U.S. 380 — including the former Kmart building that now houses the new Denton Expo Center.
Allegiance officials say they plan to start construction by the fourth quarter of this year to create a downtown retail center on the hill and a line of stores on the north side of U.S. 380. The project will include a 1 million-square-foot open-air shopping center similar to the new Firewheel Town Center in Garland. Also planned is another 700,000-square-foot shopping center, a single-family and townhouse residential area, a 30-acre campus for seniors, an amphitheater, a lake and park area, museums, a 10-acre area for hotels, and medical and office buildings.
“It’s a huge development,” said Linda Ratliff, economic development director for the city of Denton. “It’s the largest mixed-use development for Denton.”
Allegiance officials said the property’s location and history drew them to it. “I used to pass that property back before my daughter was born,” said Charles Ames, chief executive officer of Allegiance. “Many years before, I said, ‘Someday I’m going to own that property.’ … About five months ago, it came on the market.”
City officials said the property has long drawn interest from developers.
The purchase includes the 90,000-square-foot Kmart building now leased as the Denton Expo Center, which has attracted large crowds at its weekend shows. Denton Self Storage, a mini-storage business farther west on U.S. 380, also was bought in the land deal. “We’re looking at a couple of alternative solutions for both the mini-warehouse and the Kmart situation,” said Joe Gampper, Allegiance president.
The project sits seven miles west of another Allegiance Development project in Cross Roads. The neighboring $450 million retail center covers an estimated 285 acres.
Ames said the projects’ proximity was because of fast growth that is anticipated in Denton County. “Look at the growth of the city,” he said, referring to projections that a 50-mile radius from the center is expected to grow at a 5 percent to 10 percent annual rate.
Known as Denton Hillview Center, the entire project should be completed in 10 years, though much of it should be finished in three to five years.
The project’s location on Denton’s northern edge answers longtime wishes among residents who felt the impact of recent closings along University Drive. With the closing of Kmart and Russell’s department stores, residents have said they wanted more choices rather than having to drive across town to the Loop 288 area. “I understand Wal-Mart and Sam’s may be a part of it and maybe a Lowe’s,” said Jack Thomson, a City Council member representing District 3. “It’s a lot of things we need as well as Krum and Sanger who really don’t want to go down to the south side with all the traffic.”
Ratliff agreed. “People in Gainesville and Oklahoma that may have gone to Sherman will come here,” she said. "We got so many contacts from people interested in that site,” Ratliff said. “That Rayzor site was such a prized piece.”
Passersby remember the hill for its large ranch house built by the Rayzor family as a rarely used weekend home and the cattle grazing along the fence line. “It’s a perfect site,” Ames said.
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Civic ties: Doug Elliott, grandson of J. Newton Rayzor, will represent the family in overseeing the development of two museums, according to Gampper. “Doug Elliott will take the role with the family to help raise private funding to help facilitate the museums,” Gampper said, adding they hoped to have several public areas, including an amphitheater, children’s museum and something related to the history of North Texas. “We’re wide open to many different civic uses on the project,” he said.
Sales deal: Torreon Capital has provided equity funding for several area projects, including Riverview at Ridglea Apartments in Fort Worth and the Villas of Timberglen Apartments in Dallas. The company has investments in malls, shopping centers and other developments across the United States. Fortress Credit Corp. provided the senior loan financing on the development. The sale was a joint venture of the Rayzor family and consultants, Texan Land & Building.
Benefits: Allegiance officials project the development will eventually generate an estimated $400 million in sales tax revenues for the city of Denton and add about 2,500 new jobs from the retail, medical and office developments.
This artist’s rendering shows a mockup of how the proposed Denton Hillview Center will feature a downtown-like setting with a central park area, retail shops and offices with high-end apartments in the background. The $850 million project is the largest development of its kind for both the city and Allegiance Development.
A major feature proposed for the former Rayzor family ranch at Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 380 includes 10 acres for a combined
public park, lake, waterfall and amphitheater.
By the power of greyskull!
^ Ditto; It's like a whole town in itself.
Morrison Milling sells; sign to stay
08:57 AM CDT on Saturday, July 1, 2006
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
Morrison Milling was sold Friday to a San Antonio-based flour milling company — one year after talks of the possible sale of one of Denton’s oldest companies surfaced. An official with C.H. Guenther & Son Inc. confirmed the acquisition of Morrison Milling for an undisclosed amount.
“We certainly understand tradition and heritage and everything that comes with that. Morrison has been here for a long time and has been a part of the community. We plan to continue Morrison Milling with its own identity,” said Steve Phillips, vice president for human resources for Guenther. “The sign will continue to be there,” he added referring to what is one of the city’s notable landmarks — 186-foot grain elevators marking the Denton skyline, with the words “Morrison’s Corn-Kits.”
Phillips said many of the 161 employees at the Denton location off Bell Avenue and 15 to 17 employed at the Waco location would be retained, though some restructuring of jobs was expected with the sale.
Harry Crumpacker, who served as chief executive officer at Morrison Milling, retired effective Friday, Phillips said. Crumpacker could not be reached for comment.
In addition, upper-management staff, including Cliff Shoemake and Kenny Newton, agreed to stay on for some time during the transition, Phillips said. Guenther employee Thad Sitterson is in the process of moving to Denton to serve as director of operations, Phillips said. “There will be some limited restructuring but largely, it will remain intact,” he said. “We’re not waiting to come in here and turn the business upside down.”
Guenther & Son Inc. is a family-owned company that has operated for more than 150 years. The company runs manufacturing facilities in San Antonio, Duncanville, Knoxville, Tenn., and Prosperity, N.C. The company also co-owns three manufacturing facilities in Europe, including two in the United Kingdom and one in Belgium.
Morrison Milling, known for its Corn Kits, frozen Jimmy Dean sausage and biscuits and more than 300 other flour- and corn-based dry mix and frozen products, operates the Denton plant and a Waco plant purchased in 1994 as a baking facility to produce its frozen-food lines.
Guenther officials plan to keep the name and brand identity for Morrison products “wherever appropriate,” according to a news release issued by the new owner.
Reaction was tempered by talks of a possible sale that first surfaced in June 2005. Talks stalled several months later when Morrison terminated merger negotiations. At the time, Shoemake, president of Morrison Milling, said the companies couldn’t agree on terms of the sale. Guenther, parent company of Pioneer Flour Mills, had approached Morrison about a possible merger, officials said.
“We knew that [the sale] was a possibility,” said Linda Ratliff, director of economic development for the city of Denton. “Businesses change, and at least they’re not shutting it down. We’re glad that they’re still going to be here in Denton.”
Both milling companies are among the oldest in the state and the United States. Local farmers founded the Alliance Milling Company, a cooperative flour mill, which would become Morrison. Guenther is America’s oldest family-owned flour mill, founded in Texas in 1851 by German immigrant Carl Hilmar Guenther.
Guenther’s acquisition of Morrison is part of its plan to continue growth in the competitive market, Phillips said. “We’re trying to grow our business,” he said. “Part of our core values are people, quality and growth and it’s all tied up in growth. Growing helps us stay competitive.”
The sale of one family-owned mill to another is indicative of industry as a whole, said Betsy Faga, president of the North American Millers’ Association. “I think all industries are experiencing that, whether it be milling or any other industry,” she said, adding that acquisitions were more common in the milling industry three to four years ago, but have slowed down. “The same business is going on, it’s just different owners,” she said. “It’s going to be purchased by another family-owned mill that will have more of a family feel to it.”
Staff Writer Todd Jorgenson contributed to this report.
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879. Her e-mail address is email@example.com
HISTORY OF MORRISON MILLING
A group of farmers formed the Farmers Alliance Milling Co. in 1886 as one of the first farmers’ cooperatives in Texas. Shortly after being founded, the mill was reorganized under the supervision of Denton schoolteacher J.N. Rayzor, becoming the Alliance Milling Co. in 1888. Alliance’s Peacemaker flour — its first product — became widely recognized.
The mill changed hands in 1900, when two grain men, J.R. Christal and H.A. Wolfsohn, bought Rayzor’s interest. The new owners upgraded and improved the mill, installing new machinery and increasing production from 500 to 800 sacks of flour per day.
Ed Morrison Jr. was 15 when his father, E.W. Morrison Sr., bought the Alliance mill in 1936. Production increased from 800 sacks to an estimated 1,250 per day.
In 1954, E.W. Morrison Sr. successfully drew the Santa Fe Railroad into Denton. In 1959, the company created the “Lil’ Lulu” cornmeal mix. In 1965, the company added biscuit and pancake mixes in individual packets. Corn-Kits were added in 1967. In 1986, the company was producing 13 different kit mixes.
In 1994, Morrison Milling bought the Waco frozen-food distribution plant, supplying baked biscuits and sandwiches to institutions and the vending machine industry.
Harry Crumpacker joined the company’s board of directors shortly after Ed Morrison Jr.’s death. In 1996, Crumpacker was asked to run the company.
SOURCE: Morrison Milling and Denton Record-Chronicle archives
Something cool from up North
Ice Kings bring variant of chilly treats to Denton
08:36 AM CDT on Sunday, June 25, 2006
By Todd Jorgenson / Staff Writer
Mike Esquenazi likes almost everything about Texas, except that he can’t find anywhere to get his Italian ice.
Six years after first leaving his native New Jersey, Esquenazi is trying to spread the popularity of the cool East Coast treats to a much warmer climate. He and Andrew Scherzer, a high school buddy turned business partner, hope a small Denton dessert stand will eventually bring a Texas twist to a tradition of New York street corners for generations.
Their company, Ice Kings, opened a kiosk last month in a strip-mall parking lot at the intersection of University Drive and Malone Street. Although feedback has been positive and business steady, Scherzer admits part of the challenge lies in educating locals about their product. “People down here had never heard of Italian ice. We figured it was a great business opportunity,” Scherzer said. “Growing up in the East, it’s all we’ve ever known.”
For comparison purposes, Italian ice falls somewhere between snow cones and gelato, or Italian ice cream. The fat-free product has no dairy ingredients, rather combining ice with syrup into a creamy, consistent texture. The syrup consists of sugar whipped using heat and high-speed conditions.
It’s available in 30 flavors, rotated onto the menu 10 at a time. The company ships its product via freezer truck from a manufacturer in Pennsylvania. However, Esquenazi hopes future expansion will allow it to make its own.
Ice Kings is the first business venture for both men. Esquenazi, who moved here for a post-collegiate internship in the culinary industry, decided to make Texas his home after meeting his fiancee, who attends Texas Woman’s University. He and Scherzer originated the idea for the business in October 2004, and began leasing the space earlier this year.
The company is starting small, working out of a converted FedEx drop-box location. But Ice Kings hopes to open a couple more locations within a year, including some storefronts in the long-term. “It was the perfect location,” Esquenazi said. “We don’t want it to be a fly-by-night location.”
Scherzer compares the potential to Rita’s, a popular chain in the East that has more than 300 franchises, but none west of Ohio. In that segment of the country, Italian ice shops and carts are as prevalent as snow cones in Texas, he said. “We’re hoping to become the Rita’s of the West,” said Scherzer, who works in the kiosk six days a week. “We’re starting small, but we’re trying to become very big.”
The Italian ice stand is open daily, beginning at 11 a.m. until well into the evening. Plans call for it to remain open daily until at least Oct. 31, when it would open on a weather-permitting basis. If the temperature is warm enough, it will stay in operation year-round, Scherzer said.
Esquenazi and Scherzer, along with one hired employee, routinely gives free samples to customers, but they don’t mind the constant need to explain the product. For them, it’s a way of bridging a geographic gap with summertime sweets. “We’re just having so much fun right now introducing the product to folks,” Esquenazi said. “It’s really different from anything else that people have had here.”
TODD JORGENSON can be reached at 940-566-6878. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Locust Street business picking up
08:27 AM CDT on Saturday, July 15, 2006
By Todd Jorgenson / Staff Writer
While the jagged brick walls effuse decades of character, the big-screen plasma televisions have barely a speck of dust.
The contrast of old and new inside Hooligans not only provides a unique ambiance for the new bar and grill on Locust Street, but it typifies the handful of new shops and restaurants that could contribute to a potential revival on one side of Denton’s downtown Square.
Hooligans, which opened to the public earlier this week, joins a relocated Jupiter House coffee shop and women’s apparel retailer La Di Da among a flurry of tenants who could help to lure younger shoppers back to the block of Locust Street that was once the Square’s most popular.
Julie Glover, the city’s downtown development manager, remembers when Locust Street Grill, a staple at the Hooligans location during the 1980s, was a popular destination along with neighboring T & Sons sporting goods and the Fultz newsstand.
But the Locust Street Grill spot has changed hands three times in the past few years, and T & Sons closed in late 2004. Only Recycled Books and the venerable Downtown Mini Mall locations now link the stretch of buildings that date back more than 100 years even to its recent past. “I think we’ve kind of gone through a cycle,” Glover said. “It’s great to see some work being done, and the businesses seem to be doing well.”
Hooligans is replacing JT’s Dugout, which closed last summer. Its owners hope to combine JT’s sports bar feel with the culinary appeal of the old Locust Street Grill. The menu includes more than the usual sports bar fare — including appetizers, sandwiches and burgers, as well as healthier entrees, salads and wraps to attract the lunch crowd — while not forgetting the 10 flat-screen televisions (including five big-screens) for sports fans.
“We’re going after a market that’s been neglected,” co-owner Steve Ryan said. “It’s trying to be a place where you can get good food that’s affordable, but also is fun at night.”
Ryan and business partner Bill Palm are longtime friends who worked in the restaurant business in their native Minnesota. Each recently relocated to Texas without specific plans to return to the food industry, until they saw the space available, and with it a chance to open their first restaurant. “We had the opportunity and we fell in love with the location,” Ryan said. “We knew it was something we wanted.”
One appeal was the brick architecture in the building that dated to the late 19th century, Ryan said. The duo purchased the building in February and has been renovating the interior since.
Hooligans is now a Wi-Fi hotspot and has outdoor seating along with remodeled restrooms, an upstairs lounge area and a new wood floor. The owners plan to start daily lunch specials, and offer live music on the weekends. “It’s been a fun creation,” said Ryan, who stresses he and Palm will be both owners and operators. “We want to keep the nightlife but bring back the crowd that enjoyed Locust Street Grill. We want to build something that’s going to last for years to come.”
In May, Jupiter House expanded to the old T & Sons location after almost three years in a space between the two Mini Malls that now houses La Di Da. Proprietor Brandon Weist said the new 2,500-square-foot location allows for almost double the floor space, improved restroom facilities and better outdoor signage. “There were a lot of reasons,” Weist said. “It’s just a little bigger space, and we have a back door, which makes deliveries easier.”
La Di Da opened its Locust Street store in May after eight months on Oak Street just west of the Square. The retailer specializes in women’s fashions and accessories targeted at everyone from high school students to hip soccer moms. “It feels much more open. It’s a better store in terms of the layout,” co-owner Travis Wiest said. “It’s made a remarkable difference in the business in terms of visibility and foot traffic.”
The newest Locust Street tenant will be a high-end antique store in a space that currently is being remodeled just north of La Di Da.
Weist of Jupiter House said he hopes the new mix of retailers can combine to create resurgence for business on Locust Street. “I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s good for everybody. It’s nice to have the variety that we have.”
TODD JORGENSON can be reached at 940-566-6878. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
UNT experiencing parking lot woes
07:07 AM CDT on Friday, September 8, 2006
By Dan Ronan / WFAA-TV
The University of North Texas is dealing with parking pains — not enough spaces for too many students.
Last year, more than 32,000 students attended classes, and while final enrollment figures for the fall aren’t expected until next week, officials say enrollment will be substantially up this year.
Many students complain it’s very tough to park near or on campus, especially during the middle of the day in the middle of the week.
UNT’s growing number of students makes it harder for them to find one of the 10,239 campus parking spots. Students say during peak classroom hours, it’s easy to spend as many as 20 minutes circling, trying to snag an open spot.
“If you spend $140 for a parking permit, you should be able to get a spot when you come to school and not have to look for one forever,” said student Kyle Scott, as he pulled his truck out of a parking spot Thursday.
Scott Kangas, the university’s associate director for parking, said campus parking lots are like real estate.
“It’s location, location, location,” Kangas said. “They [students] want to be close to the building they’re working in or going to.”
Kangas said that at any given time, more than 100 parking spots are usually open at Fouts Field, the football stadium on the outskirts of the campus.
The campus shuttle bus is available to take students to another 1,000 off-campus spots, and the number of students taking advantage of the shuttle is skyrocketing.
In 2000, just 500 students a day took the bus.
Today more than 12,000 a day ride the campus buses, officials said.
University officials say they are expecting explosive growth on the campus over the next five years — probably another 7,000 students.
The campus will need even more parking lots, mass transit and bike paths, officials said.
Because parking is at such a premium in the center of the campus, some students tempt fate and park in privately owned lots. That’s a bad idea, UNT officials say.
Some businesses and apartment owners say they’re finding more students illegally parking on private property, so they’re fighting back, having the vehicles towed on a regular basis.
James Quesenberry runs the Baptist Student Association, which operates a private lot near the center of campus.
“They [students] would much rather find a spot somewhere else on the campus than risk being towed,” Quesenberry said.
UNT officials are encouraging students to ride bicycles.
Joe Wilson, a UNT junior, decided to ride his bike into campus this semester, and said he was glad he didn’t need a parking permit.
“I don’t have to find a parking place,” he said. “ I can park my bike right next to the classroom I am in.”
Kangas said he hopes more students opt to ride the bus or a bike.
“You don’t need to bring a car to campus,” he said. “Your car doesn’t need to get an education.”
DAN RONAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bumpy path to smooth traffic
17 changes proposed for Denton mobility plan; new public hearing on Tuesday
07:23 AM CDT on Monday, September 11, 2006
By Lowell Brown / Staff Writer
Proposed changes to Denton mobility plan
As Denton prepares to complete a wide-ranging review of the city’s mobility plan, officials concede the process has seen more than a few bumps in the road. City staff and private developers have proposed 17 changes to the 1999 plan, designed to foster smooth traffic flow throughout the city. The plan maps out future roads, realigns roads and extends collector streets.
Several projects have sparked opposition from people with houses or property near the affected areas. City officials said they tried to address concerns through a series of neighborhood and face-to-face meetings.
Still, more than a dozen people spoke against several of the changes during a recent public hearing before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Another public hearing, this time before the City Council, is planned for Tuesday night.
The council is expected to vote on the 17 changes, following the hearing. “It’s a first comprehensive re-examination of the mobility plan,” said Kelly Carpenter, Denton’s planning and development director. “A lot of it is tweaking, and a lot of it is in response to apparent new growth that is coming on.”
The roads aren’t expected to be built until the properties around them develop.
Carpenter said residents sometimes view the construction of new collector roads in their neighborhoods as a mixed blessing. Collector roads lead traffic from local streets to larger thoroughfares. “They’re kind of happy for the traffic relief, but they don’t want the extra traffic on their street,” she said.
Roger and Sonya Hill, who live on Creekdale Drive in southern Denton, questioned the city’s plan to relocate a road to connect Creekdale and Ryan Road, saying it would allow people to cut through their neighborhood instead of waiting at a Teasley Lane traffic light.
They also questioned the need for a road there, saying other roads could serve the same purpose. “We object to it because it just makes no sense to us,” Roger Hill said.
City officials want to move the planned road because its current location in the mobility plan would require “substantial” engineering and construction costs to raise it above creek level, according to information provided to the council. Other opponents have complained that planned road extensions appear to cut through their property.
Mayor Pro Tem Pete Kamp, who leads a council subcommittee on mobility that has reviewed the changes, said maps depicting the proposed roads shouldn’t be viewed as the exact route. Instead, they depict a general area where the roads might go, she said.
Still other proposed changes drew complaints from developers, after the city altered its original proposals based on input from the public and city officials, Carpenter said. “They [developers] had concerns that it wasn’t exactly as they had proposed it, but remember, it’s been through a very arduous public process,” she said.
Kamp said developers would continue to have a voice in the process, even after the council votes on the proposed changes. “All of these mobility changes that we’re proposing are development-driven,” she said. “None of these roads will be built until the developers come in with their proposals and their platting. If there’s some changes they want to look at at that time, we’ll gladly look at those changes.
“These are not set in concrete.”
LOWELL BROWN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Public hearing on changes to the Denton mobility plan
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Denton City Hall, 215 E. McKinney St.
Why: City staff and private developers have proposed 17 changes to the city’s mobility plan, which maps out future roads to handle projected increases in traffic.
MOBILITY PLAN CHANGES
Denton city staff and private developers have suggested the following amendments to the city’s long-term road plan:
1. Hickory Creek Road/Creekdale realignment: In its present design, Hickory Creek Road passes through a floodplain and is subject to flooding. The revisions are meant to maintain an east-west arterial with this road and to reroute the Creekdale collector up to Ryan Road, with a short collector connection between Creekdale and Hickory Creek Road.
2. Mills extension (west): Designed to further aid mobility between Loop 288 and Mayhill Road.
3. Bonnie Brae at U.S. Highway 77 realignment: Designed to create a better intersection in case development occurs at the adjoining properties, eliminate the need for two traffic signals and alleviate turning problems.
4. Four-lane extension from U.S. Highway 77 to Milam Road: Intended to be responsive to proposed development in the area and to address concerns of residents along Ganzer and Chinn roads. The proposed orientation eliminates bends shown on the mobility plan.
5. Remove Nicosia connection to Loop 288: An agreement between the state transportation department and the city to limit access to Loop 288 in this area doesn’t allow for the direct connection of Nicosia to the loop.
6. East Windsor Drive realignment: Intended to provide a connection from Loop 288 to Cooper Creek Road rather than to Silver Dome Road, as previously planned, to help improve connectivity and be responsive to residents’ feedback. It would then require Farris Road to be extended south to connect to the new alignment.
7. Audra Lane realignment: Would realign Audra Lane on the west side of Loop 288 with Prominence Parkway on the loop’s east side, providing a place for a signalized intersection and moving Audra farther south from the U.S. Highway 380 interchange, which city officials call a safety issue. In the improvements to Loop 288, a median is to be installed to prevent left turns into and out of the current alignment of Audra. The placement of a four-way intersection at this point is expected to make the location more amenable to a traffic signal.
8. Mayhill Road realignment: Would move Mayhill Road to the west of its current alignment south of Spencer Road, in an effort to improve the connectivity to State School Road, improve the developable area on the affected properties, and provide a separation between development and city facilities to the east.
9. Karina extension to Mayhill: Karina now dead-ends east of Kimberly Drive at the Federal Emergency Management Agency property. The addition of this alignment is meant to ensure connectivity back to Mayhill Road.
10. Southerly east-west roadway: Intended to provide a connection through planned development from the old Bonnie Brae alignment east to FM2164.
11. Loop 288 parallel collectors: The construction of frontage roads outside the loop right of way would allow access ramps to be altered to connect the collector street to the loop’s main lanes. Also, a direct connection of Loop 288 to Bonnie Brae would be provided.
12. North-south connection from Creekdale to Ryan Road: City officials say the current proposed alignment of Montecito between Ryan and Creekdale would require extensive engineering and construction costs to elevate it above the creek, so the change would move the connecting road’s location.
13. Bonnie Brae extension (new alignment, six lanes): Would provide a connection through planned development from the old Bonnie Brae alignment north to Milam Road.
14. Ganzer Road/Long Road connection (six lanes): The proposed extension of Ganzer east of Bonnie Brae to FM2164 would be moved south to help avoid a conflict with watershed areas that would have to be crossed and the subsequent cost of elevated road sections and/or bridges.
15. Outer Loop/North Central Texas Council of Governments Corridor: The city is trying to illustrate a preferred corridor for an outer loop, if and when it is constructed.
16. North-south connection (new four lanes): Would provide an intermediate route for traffic to gain access from the planned frontage roads along Loop 288 to points north.
17. Northerly east-west connection (new four lanes): Intended to be responsive to proposed area development.
SOURCES: City of Denton, city engineer Frank G. Payne
Golden Triangle may go upscale
Tentative renovation proposal shown to city
11:28 PM CST on Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
Feldman Mall Properties Inc. proposed up to $50 million worth of renovations to one of its newest acquisitions, Golden Triangle Mall, at a Denton City Council work session Tuesday.
The proposed renovations include adding a multiscreen IMAX theater, a food court with up to seven restaurants complete with a live stage for local bands to entertain free of charge, two additional restaurant spaces near Barnes & Noble Booksellers and an overhaul of the center court, entrances and seating areas inside the mall. Plans also include extending Dillard’s floor space inward from more than 129,000 square feet to 140,000 square feet.
Denton Mayor Perry McNeill called news of the renovations “very positive.”
“The first thing is they have a good history of doing this kind of thing and you feel comfortable they will do what they say they will do,” McNeill said. “There are a lot of new concepts there that will add pizzazz to the mall — the IMAX theater and the softening of acres of concrete with landscaping, which I think will make it more attractive.”
Larry Feldman, chairman and chief executive officer of Feldman Mall Properties, told city officials he planned to add significant landscape changes, with trees and visible signage for passers-by on Interstate 35E to see. In addition, tall stone entrances with lit panels would offer more visibility as well as safety for people visiting at night.
The plans also include creating living room-style seating areas, at least five, throughout the mall with sofas, chairs, flat-screen TVs and carpeting.
The proposal was to give city officials an early glimpse of plans the company expects to get under way, possibly by mid-year.
When the company purchased the mall in June 2006 from Simon Property Group Inc., Feldman said his company bought it with the idea of investing capital to turn it into a class ‘A’ mall, considered such if retail sales per square foot reach $400 or more.
“This mall is so ideally located right at the epicenter of [Loop] 288 and [Interstate] 35,” he said. “About 100,000 cars per day go by.”
Feldman said he wanted to create a “jaw-dropping” experience for Denton shoppers who shopped there five or 10 years ago.
“People who live in Denton drive right by the Denton mall,” he told council members, adding that the Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville was a popular attraction for residents along with malls in Frisco and Dallas.
“The experience they get at that mall [Vista Ridge] is better than what they get at Denton,” Feldman said. “You need to shock the consumer to get them to come back.”
The company’s plans to put in an IMAX theater complex, additional restaurants and nicer seating areas are ways to keep shoppers lingering longer.
The time to renovate the mall is now, Feldman said.
“In the absence of doing anything, the mall is in grave danger,” he said. “This mall, in its current condition, is going down.”
McNeill agreed with the need for renovations, saying there is concern about older malls. “You see them all around the country with wooden shutters and I don’t want to see that in Denton,” he said.
The publicly traded, New-York-based real estate investment trust company also is facing a challenge from one of its shareholders, Mercury Real Estate Advisors LLC, to sell the company.
The challenge is not expected to affect the new owner’s plans for Golden Triangle Mall, Feldman said.
“Regardless of any stockholder issues, the company is committed to proceeding with the Golden Triangle redevelopment,” Feldman said. “It has no relevance whether we are a private company or a public company.”
The mall will likely remain unaffected by the shareholders’ challenge, said Dr. John Baen, professor of finance, insurance, real estate and law in the College of Business Administration at the University of North Texas.
“I don’t think the Denton mall has anything to do with the value of that REIT [real estate investment trust] stock so it’s not like it’s going to hurt the mall if the REIT unwinds,” Baen said. “Another REIT will buy it. However, that REIT might not have the same fix-up, spruce-up deal about it.”
In a proxy statement submitted on Dec. 18 by Mercury, which owns 9.8 percent or 1.2 million of Feldman’s 13.1 million shares, the officials cited poor financial returns since Feldman turned public in 2004.
“The corporation lacks the sufficient size required to operate as a public company,” according to the proxy statement signed by Malcolm MacLean IV, president of Mercury.
Mercury officials indicated in the proxy statement that an immediate sale would benefit its shareholders and agreed to hold on to its stock until the next shareholder meeting.
Feldman said his company has decided not file a formal response to the challenge.
In the meeting in Denton on Tuesday, Feldman unveiled the proposal to eventually create a public-private partnership with the city of Denton similar to one the company had with another property in Harrisburg, Pa.
Linda Ratliff, economic development director for the city of Denton, said the company has not approached the city for any tax incentives.
“Like all these projects, you want to see what they propose before you say, ‘Yeah, that’s something the city will commit to,’” McNeill said.
With the Pennsylvania mall, the company negotiated $8 million in government grants and incentives, spending an estimated $72 million to renovate the 900,000-square-foot mall.
The Pennsylvania mall was in dire shape, Feldman said, with two of its three anchor stores pulled out and a third threatening. The company brought in Bass Pro Shops, saving 1,200 mall jobs and adding another 400 to 500.
Renovation of Denton’s 880,000-square-foot mall is expected to cost between $40 million and $50 million, Feldman estimated.
“It could even be more,” he said.
An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 people are employed at Golden Triangle Mall, he said. The mall currently has 66 percent permanent leases with 95 percent occupancy including temporary tenants.
Calling the renovations “mallotomies,” Feldman said the renovations could take up to five years for malls without anchors and less for malls with anchors.
One concern, Feldman said, is that other mall operators might “try to steal our anchors.”
Talk of possible courting of the mall’s anchors has surfaced recently though no decisions have been announced.
“It’s very, very competitive,” said Joe Gampper, president of Allegiance Development, developer of a 412-acre open-air mixed-use development proposed for Denton. “We’re not the only ones talking to the anchoring tenants.”
Rayzor Ranch, which is proposed just north of the mall at
I-35 and U.S. Highway 380, is currently in the planning stages.
As the largest retail development proposed for Denton, Rayzor Ranch is looking to add several major retailers to an estimated 2 million square feet of retail. Already announced are a second Wal-Mart and a new Sam’s Club in the Rayzor Ranch Market Place on the north side of U.S. 380. A third anchor store will be a home improvement center.
Randy Holcombe, executive vice president in retail for Allegiance, said the potential for the mall to lose anchors is not due to the management but, instead, to market changes.
“A lot of changes have occurred since the stores opened in the mall in the ’80s,” he said.
Some companies have changed their business models and are looking to reposition their stores.
“The reality is the city of Denton has tens of millions of dollars in annual sales leakage to competing cities,” citing Frisco and Dallas as examples, he said.
“There’s hundreds of situations around the country similar to Golden Triangle,” Holcombe said. “It’s not a victimization of the existing owner, it’s a modernization of the consumer experience.”
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 11 January 2007 at 01:03 AM.
Two big malls in denton. weird. I hope the gt mall becomes successful. I grew up a block away from it and I have many memories there. Boring memories, but memories nontheless.
My goodness, it could house the grandest, prettiest, bestest "Ross-Dress for Less" in the WHOLE STATE!!!
Unfortuantlly [insert scarcastic voice here] but acording to these links:
Ross Dress for Less will be replaced by a 14-Screen IMAX Theater... Maybe Perry McNeil (along with the rest of the City of Denton) will get get thier wish for a modern mall...
I never understood why that mall was such a mess. Did Simon not see the chance it had to make some major revenue? When I was there, certain stores had some in or remodeled and the stores were actually nice, yet the second you left the doors you were back in a ghost of a mall. It boggled my mind. (Not to mention the sorry excuse for a Foley's (Macy's) they opened.
...these devils of yours they need love
Come and kneel with me Body and Soul...
City OKs grants for downtown
Program to help owners renovate aging buildings
10:48 PM CDT on Tuesday, April 3, 2007
By Lowell Brown / Staff Writer
Denton city leaders hope a new grant program will help property owners revitalize aging downtown buildings.
The City Council on Tuesday approved a program to let property owners in Denton’s central business district apply for city funds to recoup some of their redevelopment costs.
The council will decide later this year how many grant dollars will be up for grabs.
“The purpose is to encourage the development of downtown, basically, and to help those property owners that are buying older properties and trying to renovate them to make our downtown more vibrant,” said Linda Ratliff, the city’s economic development director.
Eligible work includes refurbishing a building’s facade, erecting new awnings or signs, and upgrading utilities such as water and sewer lines. Qualified projects could seek compensation for half of their eligible costs — up to $50,000 per project — after the work is done.
The city’s Downtown Task Force asked the council to allocate $250,000 the first year of the program and additional funding in subsequent years to keep the fund balance at $250,000.
But the actual amount of grants won’t be determined until each year’s budget is prepared, Ratliff said. The first grants should be available by Oct. 1, she said.
Mayor Perry McNeill said he believed the grants would be high on the city’s list of budget priorities.
“I would hope that we would fund that, because I think that’s a good investment,” McNeill said, adding that the projects would raise properties’ taxable value, thereby bringing more money into the city.
City employees and members of the Downtown Task Force and Economic Development Partnership Board will review projects on a case-by-case basis to determine applicants’ eligibility. The City Council will have the final vote.
The grants will not replace the tax breaks already available to property owners who revitalize downtown buildings, Ratliff has said.
The Downtown Task Force also has discussed creating a downtown tax-increment financing district, so new tax money raised in the area could pay for upgrades to streets, sidewalks, drainage improvements and other downtown infrastructure.
The council is expected to consider that proposal later this year, Ratliff said.
LOWELL BROWN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Nightlife a draw for Square dwellers
11:42 AM CDT on Sunday, April 22, 2007
By Mandi Wallis/Contributing Writer
A collection of culture surrounds the downtown Square in Denton, creating a community of its own — with a mix of contemporary housing, eclectic boutique stores, nightlife and a bit of nature.
Above the bookstore, candy store, antique store and more, a handful of charming loft apartments roost, creating an exclusive second floor.
A choir of birds serenades the area around the courthouse and oversized flowerpots of mauve and butter-colored blooms adorn each corner. A man seated high in an open window above la di da reads a book.
A family of four walks a dog and a youthful couple share homemade ice cream when leaving Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain. And while meandering around the historical square, a great number of people remain unaware of the slew of apartments overhead.
Christmas lights decorate the trees all year and, as the sun disappears beyond the horizon, the trees come alive with light. Smells of cooked onions fill the air near The Loophole Pub and Grill.
At a certain angle, the faint words of a once occupied photography studio glimmer across the glass of a single door between First People’s Jewelers and another boutique store on the Square. Beyond the door, a strip of foggy blue carpet stretches up the center of dimly lit stairs. At the top, another door made of glass reveals a vastness of wooden floors. Pasty painted rock patterns parts of the walls and colorless pipes line the elevated ceiling. Casey Colby, who rents the apartment, enjoys the active nightlife of the downtown area.
“It’s cool to just walk out and there is stuff going on,” Colby said, as he sats listening to the echo of the music beyond his apartment.
Colby says he often walks to banter coffee house for open mic night.
“I could go right now and play, if I wanted,” he added.
The privilege of living on the Square doesn’t come without its disadvantages. Before 5 p.m., Colby must avoid stomping around the apartment he shares with two others to prevent disturbing the business below. However, for Colby, the rule is not a problem, as he attends classes at the University of North Texas during the day.
Another drawback to downtown living is noise. Mark Greene lives across the Square from Colby and likes the location regardless. He hears music from a bar below, morning trash collections and “the most active train ever” near his place, he says. Greene often visits Hooligans Bar and Grill, which offers live music and other bar staples, such as pool tables and dart boards.
Most of the apartments do not include parking spaces. But Greene said parking lots within walking distance provide ample space.
With two-hour parking on the Square, some do the “two-hour shuffle,” says Robb Bertelsen, whose family owns The Candy Store at 110 W. Oak St. People communicate the parking monitor’s location, he said.
Business owners on the Square own a large number of the apartments. The Bertelsen family owns a loft apartment directly above their store.
Bertelsen recalls buying the place about 10 years ago. The occupant of the loft came with the purchase, he said, and the occupant continues to rent it today.
Joyce Bertelsen said her son wants the apartment badly, but she won’t evict the tenant because “he is just too cute.”
Although Robb Bertelsen practically lives on the street and can be found most days sitting at a petite iron table on the sidewalk outside the store, he doesn’t know much about the people who occupy the apartments above. He rarely sees his tenant, who travels a great deal. Herds of locals keep Robb Bertelsen bouncing back and forth between conversations outside his door and the candy counter inside as they enter for coffee in the morning and sweets in the afternoon. He sells 80 pounds of Huckleberry Gummy Bears each week, he said.
The undisclosed apartments present both community and isolation.
Staircases sprinkled around the Square hide behind a variety of doors and locked gates — secret access to old-world living with hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings. Each bestows individual personality and grants a medley of turn-of-the-century ornamentation and modern amenities.
Apartments around the Square continue to stay occupied despite a lack of advertisement. No visible signs identify the highly in-demand residences, but locals know they are there, and anticipating renters still inquire about them. Potential renters can’t view the apartments because occupancy continues, but people want them anyway because of their reputation, location, scarcity and charm.
Obtaining information about the popular apartments is not easy. Some fortunate tenants happen to stumble by when a rare “apartment for rent” sign appears in the window.
Others find living space through word-of-mouth.
Shirley Carrigan, owner of W. Douglas Antiques, calls the people who live around the Square “square dwellers,” and says she would like to be one.
Downtown living offers convenience and refuge. Businesses around the Square add an array of various services.
A wine store beside Bertelsen’s place provides people with a retreat from the sun during the day and a place to go at night for wine and exposure to art. A dark, eclectic bar located in the back of the store features different wines and artists weekly.
“Square dwellers” need not go far for financial transactions, shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Another perk is Jupiter’s 24-hour coffeehouse.
“Everyone wants to be down here,” Joyce Bertelsen said.
Last edited by dfwcre8tive; 22 April 2007 at 02:04 PM.
Developers look to meet housing demand in heart of Denton
11:34 AM CDT on Sunday, April 22, 2007
By Dawn Cobb and Randena Hulstrand/Business Writers
With apartments around Denton’s Square at full capacity, several developers are building new complexes to add more opportunities for downtown living.
Jack Bell, owner of a number of apartment buildings in Denton, recently finished construction of a 34-unit complex at 117 E. Prairie St., just blocks from the Square.
Owner of the yellow and white two-story Victorian Village next door with retail on the bottom floor and apartments above, as well as Versailles across the street at 405 S. Elm St., Bell said he decided to expand the available apartments to meet growing demand.
“We’ve always had a good demand for units down there,” he said. “The occupancy has held steady and I had the land there already.”
Coupled with the population projections, the time to build seemed appropriate, he said.
Before the addition of Victoria Heights, downtown Denton sported about 67 apartments within two blocks of the Square.
“There’s a lot of places that you don’t even know are there,” said Linda Ratliff, economic development director for the city of Denton.
Six apartments sit inside a building near the DATCU Credit Union’s main offices; and the old bank building across from Wells Fargo was renovated to include apartments by The Martino Group, which is also considering another downtown project.
Brandon Martino, president of the local development company, recently talked to the city’s downtown task force about his plans for the now vacated building at 207 N. Elm St. across from City Hall West. Plans call for the building to be replaced by 24 high-end loft apartments.
“Currently, we have others on the Square that we’ve done and there’s a high demand,” he said. “They [residents] like the ambience and the feeling of it. … They want a New York feel in the small-town atmosphere of Denton.”
Because of the building’s poor condition, Martino said the project likely will be expensive.
“It’s not a cheap project,” he said. “It takes a lot of money to do this.”
Why undertake the project at all?
“I’ve lived here all my life and I want to see something that, when it’s done, if it can better Denton, then that’s what we want to do,” Martino said.
Formerly in construction work before launching his own development business in the ’80s, Bell bought property along both sides of Elm Street that were former car dealerships — one side a Buick dealership, the other Volkswagen. He built the Victorian Village in 1985.
As demand grew for more downtown housing, Bell decided to build the apartment complex, which sports 9-foot ceilings, wooden floors and marble countertops in a variety of sizes from 650-square-foot efficiencies to loft and studio apartments. Prices range from $650 for efficiencies to $850 and more for larger apartments.
Once a number of the apartments are rented, Bell will begin work on the second phase of his plans — tearing down Victorian Village and replacing it with another complex to offer a total of 100 units from both locations.
“I’m building apartments downtown and I’m providing parking,” he said, referring to concerns among some of the dearth of parking availability in the busy district. The need for parking kept him from building more apartments on the site, he said.
The city’s master plan projects an estimated 500 to 700 apartments downtown within the next 20 years, along with four parking lots and two parking garages.
One parking garage is planned as part of a Hickory Street development known as the Wells Fargo Catalyst Project. The area, bordered by Hickory, Mulberry, Austin, Walnut and Locust streets, would include apartments and retail spaces surrounding a parking garage.
“We’re going to do what we can to help them with the 500 [apartments],” Bell said. “What little I do will be in the central business district. That’s where my interests are.”
At 215 E. Mulberry St., Jay Thomas, owner of Thomas Heritage Homes, plans to build 14 luxury town homes by September.
The two- and three-story town homes will be built with the retro look and feel of a 1920s town-square retail building, said Thomas, who has been building historically-styled homes in Denton, Collin, Grayson, Cooke and Wise counties for 14 years. His custom homebuilding emulates American bungalows from the Arts and Crafts period.
“I want the development to fit into its environment,” he said.
The town homes will be available for purchase only, starting at $150,000.
The project will sport the look of “row” houses and brownstones, familiar to Chicago residents. Each unit will have a different facade. Four floor plans will be offered, with two bedrooms in a two-story format at approximately 1,600 square feet. The other two will be larger at 1,900 square feet and three-story with the option of two or three bedrooms.
Vaulted, 9-foot ceilings, tile floors and showers, period-style plumbing and more are among the amenities to be offered.
The project is the brainchild of the DSC Limited Partnership, the development company formed last year as a group of seven investors, all of who live in Denton, except for one.
The group wanted to cater to active professional individuals who want to live in a downtown setting, close to the arts, restaurants and shopping, Thomas said.
Residents also will be able to commute using the upcoming mass transit services, which will begin next year with bus service.
The site will be less than five blocks from the proposed 2013 Light Rail Station, he said.
The projected rail line, as well as the ongoing evolution of the downtown’s retail area and nightlife is creating higher demand for downtown living, officials said.
“Right now, downtown is more of a destination,” Ratliff said. “You’re there either to go to work during the day or maybe go to a club in the evening.”
But that could soon change.
“I think that however successful Mr. Bell’s [apartments] are or Mr. Thomas’ town homes, if those are rented and sold and filled quickly, you’re definitely going to see more people take an interest in that and you’ll see more projects,” she said.
excellent we need more developers like this in denton
every day I smoke my cigarette and look at those new apartments hopin there will be one available when my lease is up.
now if they would only build on those empty lots next to the graveyard and across the street from the QT on eagle...
3,800 homes planned in Denton
11:59 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 1, 2007
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
Two developers said Tuesday that they are teaming up to build a 3,800-home development south of Denton.
Realty Capital Corp. of Colleyville and Dallas-based Hanover Property Co. will construct the 982-acre Belmont community at the northwest corner of Interstate 35W and FM 407.
Along with housing, the land development will have about 1 million square feet of retail and commercial construction.
Hanover's Dick LeBlanc said the residential project will be targeted at the "middle-market, second-time home buyer.
"We think Belmont is ideally situated to take advantage of this niche and we are pleased to be teaming with Realty Capital," Mr. LeBlanc said in a statement.
The community will be served by the Argyle Independent School District.
Hanover Property was founded in 1984 and has large residential projects in Keller, Grand Prairie and near Forney.
Realty Capital has been in business since 1987 and is developing several projects include the 1,346-acre Chapel Hill community North of Fort Worth.
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