Meet the developers and developments that rose to the fore in Dallas-Fort Worth’s red-hot residential market.
Sure, the rate of price increases for some single-family homes and apartments has cooled in North Texas as of late, and new multifamily permits here declined for the 12-month period ending in July. Even so, Dallas-Fort Worth remains one of the nation’s most robust markets for apartments and single-family homes. With employment and population growth continuing to stay strong, developers are still bullish overall about their North Texas prospects for the next year or so, at least. That may be why entries for our third annual Residential Real Estate Awards program were so strong. And why it was such a challenge, once again, to pick just a few winners. Their stories appear on the following pages.
High Street Residential
MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
With such iconic high-density, urban-infill projects underway as The Residences at Park District and M-Line Tower, High Street Residential and its principal, Joel Behrens, stood tall in 2017 in the Dallas-Fort Worth multifamily market.
High Street, the wholly-owned residential subsidiary of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co., has completed more than 5,000 apartment, condominium, or townhome units in major U.S. cities over the last decade, representing $1.2 billion in value.
Behrens serves as principal within Trammell Crow’s DFW business unit and of High Street Residential. There, he’s responsible for all the company’s multifamily activity in Texas. In DFW, Behrens is overseeing not only M-Line Tower and the Park District project—it will serve up 228 units once it’s completed next year—but the Residences at Legacy, the first-ever high-rise multifamily development in Plano. “The Residences at Legacy,” he says, “present a unique opportunity to provide luxury living comparable to Dallas’ Uptown submarket.”
SINGLE-FAMILY DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
Brian Cramer, senior vice president of Newland Communities, provides the leadership for Newland’s residential master-planned projects in North Texas, among other duties. Two of the company’s most impressive developments currently underway are Canyon Falls and Hollyhock.
The former spans 1,199 acres and three cities: Flower Mound, Argyle, and Northlake. Newland, which acquired Canyon Falls as a startup community from another developer, is working with at least nine builders—Highland Homes and Toll Bros. among them—and has put in an amenity center. Hollyhock, which sits off Teel Parkway and Panther Creek Parkway in Frisco, is a 400-acre master-planned community with a focus on art, from monuments to custom sculptures like a whimsical, 19-foot-tall dandelion. The community will include about 800 homes over time.
Newland Communities is the mixed-use development business of San Diego-based Newland Real Estate Group LLC, a diversified national real estate company that’s sold more than 175,000 residential units to builders.
MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR: HIGH-RISE
The first residents have begun moving into Bleu Ciel, a modern, all-white tower sporting 33 stories and 158 units. Developed in Dallas’ very-walkable Harwood District by Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s Harwood International, the glitzy high-rise is attracting empty nesters as well as out-of-state buyers and investors. The units are pricey, of course, befitting their design by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte and HDF, Harwood’s in-house interior design firm. Among the building’s upscale amenities are 24/7 concierge and residence delivery services, two junior Olympic pools, and a fitness center. Ground-level retail offerings, meantime, include a juice bar and a gourmet grocery concept.
Jefferson West Love
MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR: MID-RISE
The 368-unit luxury apartment development called Jefferson West Love, designed by GFF Architects, will be a key component of the West Love community—a $200 million, mixed-use development located about half a mile from Dallas Love Field. Developed by Irving-based JPI and set on 5.8 acres in the Dallas Medical District, Jefferson Love West will offer amenities including a resort-style pool, a rooftop lounge, a yoga studio, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
The upscale apartments, which are scheduled to be completed next summer, should have little trouble attracting tenants. At Dallas Love Field, for example, Southwest Airlines is expanding its headquarters and expecting to create 1,000 new jobs. Nearby Parkland Hospital, meanwhile, is creating up to 3,000 new jobs.
At full build-out, the West Love community itself will include 200,000 square feet of office space, 65,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a 244-room combination Aloft and Element hotel.
The Epic has been called a one-of-a-kind project that will marry the old with the new in Dallas’ iconic Deep Ellum District. Known until now mainly for its gritty vibe, Deep Ellum may start to be redefined by The Epic project—a twin-tower, mixed-use project set on 8 acres at the neighborhood’s west corner. A historic building called the Knights of Pythias Temple will be one part of the development, reimagined as a 164-room boutique hotel. The second part will be a new, 10-story office building designed with a series of overhanging sections, like a giant Jenga game.
High Street Residential
MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR: MIXED-USE
High Street Residential linked up with Principal Real Estate Investors to develop M-Line Tower, a unique, 20-story, mixed-use project in the fast-growing McKinney Avenue Corridor. The tower includes 261 for-rent luxury residences, plus more than 11,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Located on the historic McKinney Avenue Trolley Line, M-Line Tower will house the line’s executive offices as well as the “storage barn” for the system’s seventh trolley car.
Republic Property Group
SINGLE-FAMILY DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR
Dallas-based Republic Property Group is turning 7,200 acres of the former Walsh cattle ranch 13 miles west of Fort Worth into a massive residential community that will take decades to fully build out. The 1,700-acre first phase will offer homes and amenities including a recreational lake, hiking and biking trails, an “urban market,” a co-working space, a pool, and a fitness center.
Once completed, Walsh is projected to include more than 18,000 homes and more than 50,000 residents, making it one of the biggest master-planned communities in North Texas. In addition to single-family homes put up by the likes of David Weekley Homes, the development will include schools and medical facilities. Under Jake Wagner and Tony Ruggeri, Republic Property co-CEOs, Walsh also will be wired for super-fast internet connectivity.
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
Dallas-based StreetLights Residential has quickly become one of the country’s Top 20 largest multifamily developers. Founded in 2011 by Tom Bakewell and Doug Chesnut, the company’s CEO, StreetLights focuses on developing high-density, upscale urban apartments. Since putting up its first multifamily project, The Taylor, in Dallas, the company has since expanded its work to Houston and Austin and four other states.
StreetLights’ vision starts with Chesnut, who’s been called the company’s “heart and soul.” His commitment to longevity and community-driven design has propelled the company from just two to 150 employees, plus 25 projects—more than 8,500 multifamily units—either completed, in progress, or projected. “We started asking, ‘What is endearing to a city?’” Chesnut told D CEO’s Kerry Curry. “If we can build density well, these buildings will be popular and will be even better places 10, 15, 20 years from now.”