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Don’t Kill Oak Cliff With Overdevelopment, One Architect Says

Adam Simmons/Flickr
Developer Alamo Manhattan has proposed a five-story development of apartments, retail and restaurants near the Bishop Arts District.

A proposal to redevelop the gateway to Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District has sparked a debate about to how to balance development with a neighborhood’s personality.

Developer Alamo Manhattanis proposing a five-story building complete with apartments, ground-level retail and underground parking on two pieces of property in North Oak Cliff. 

Critics of the project say that the design is boxy and looks out of place with the rest of the neighborhood. The proposed redevelopment would also take out a few businesses already there, like Ten Bells Tavern and the Local Oak restaurant.

Credit Krystina Martinez / KERA
Kevin Sloan is an architect and teaches at UT-Arlington.

Landscape architect and UT-Arlington professor Kevin Sloan serves on Dallas’ urban design peer review board. He says the 2010 rezoning of Oak Cliff could kill the way the Bishop Arts district has slowly redeveloped.

“The zoning ordinance allows the property values to spike to a point where saving buildings, getting inventive, getting creative is no longer possible,” Sloan said. “If you just observed how Oak Cliff became what it is over the last 20 years, in some ways, it was doing just fine. It didn’t need to be rezoned.”

Sloan worries that allowing larger developments could remove the charm that has drawn people to the neighborhood.

“The entire Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area as a whole is largely seen by the world as a generic city,” he says. “If Dallas is going to compete on a world stage with other North American and global cities, it needs to not turn Bishop Arts into a place that looks like everywhere else. We need to turn everywhere else into their own version of Bishop Arts.”

Alamo Manhattan will present revisions to its plan to the public on Aug. 12.

From the Oak Cliff Advocate:

From The Dallas Morning News:

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.