Henderson Avenue project would remake popular East Dallas strip
East Dallas' popular Henderson Avenue corridor is headed for a major makeover with a new mixed-use project.
Investors and developers who almost four years ago bought up more than two dozen properties along the avenue between U.S. Highway 75 and Ross Avenue are ready to build on the largest vacant tract on the thoroughfare.
Dallas' Open Realty Advisors, which owns the Henderson real estate in partnership with Los Angeles-based CIM Group, is asking the city for zoning to construct a combination of retail, office space and a community garden and park at Glencoe Street and Henderson.
The 4.5-acre project would bring the most significant new construction to the street in decades. And most important, it would add much-needed parking with an underground garage.
"Henderson Avenue is becoming one of these cool, interesting urban streets," said Open Realty's Mark Masinter. "We want to create a real sense of place here.
"This will be a street that has been properly urban planned vs. just some developer coming in and plopping down buildings."
Masinter said his group has been working with neighborhood groups, architect GFF and city planners to come up with the design.
The buildings that would line Henderson Avenue would be a maximum of three levels with two levels of underground parking.
"We've met with hundreds of people and had multiple neighborhood meetings," Masinter said. "We wanted this to be a development where everyone had a voice, and it became better because of it."
He said that although the land is zoned to allow commercial and apartment construction, homeowners in the adjoining neighborhood didn't want more rental housing.
"The other thing was they said, 'Please limit the amount of bars in the community,'" Masinter said. "So we've said no more new bars.
"We will have 12,000 square feet of restaurants but no bars," he said. "We think there are enough bars."
Where the project joins the next-door neighborhood, the developers plan to construct two parks and small residential-type buildings on Glencoe Street.
"It was very important to create public space," Masinter said. "We are creating a public park and greenspace with a garden.
"We are going to actually grow food to serve in the restaurants."
The planned buildings will be pushed back 40 to 60 feet from the adjoining neighborhood and screened with trees.
The developers are working with the city on traffic solutions for Henderson, Masinter said, including new paving and center turn lanes.
"We are on our own dollar are going to be doing all the sidewalk work and landscaping on our property," he said.
The total development will be about 190,000 square feet, Masinter said.
Developers hope to get planning approval for the project early next year and start construction sometime during the year.
Open Realty has been working on the Henderson project since 2012, when it purchased 28 buildings with 130,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and commercial space on both sides of Henderson.
The properties, which add up to about 14 acres of buildings and land, were purchased from Dallas' Andres family.
Open Realty also is working with Plano-based Karahan Cos. on the retail portion of the $400 million Legacy West Urban Village project on Dallas North Tollway.
The proposed Henderson Avenue development would serve a growing East Dallas population of young professionals moving to the area to live in apartments and townhouses under construction nearby.
Builders are adding thousands of new residential units along the Ross Avenue, Live Oak and Gaston Avenue corridors running east from downtown Dallas.