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Weeks before filing for a building permit, developers behind The Berkeley’s planned expansion promise more housing options in the shadow of Paschal High School. No fewer than 310 apartment units are planned just south and west of the existing Berkeley complex at 2001 Park Hill Drive.
“Their renter is typically a young professional couple with no kids, who could afford a [single-family] home, but wants a turnkey lifestyle,” said Greg Jackson, president of Berkeley Place neighborhood association. Jackson and other Berkeley Place homeowners learned project details at a recent neighborhood meeting, where Jim Paton of Lincoln Property Co. explained plans to expand the apartment complex just south of the neighborhood.
Plans call for 310 apartment units, 143 direct-access garages and a density of 27 apartments per acre, with city zoning rules allowing up to 35 per acre. Construction is expected to begin in April 2014 and take up to 20 months to reach completion. Few, if any, area residents have spoken publicly for or against the project, Jackson said. “I don’t think anyone is necessarily for it, but as far as I’ve seen, no one is opposed to it, either,” Jackson said. Expansion plans come on the heels of another apartment project planned south of the location, west of Eighth Avenue and south of Park Place Avenue.
Also planned for the three-acre tract are possible restaurant and retailers. At least that was the plan when Dallas developers Maxum Development Ltd. and Mint Interest Group announced the project in early 2012. Some neighbors initially voiced opposition to that project, citing noise and safety concerns, but opposition softened as some neighborhood homeowners gave conditional approval to the development. Their support carried no legal weight in pushing the project through; rather, it simply supported the project developers’ funding request to the South Side tax district known as TIF 4. Meanwhile, The Berkeley’s planned expansion is expected to reflect architecture of the existing complex, featuring low-pitched roofs, wide eaves and porches with tapered columns. The three-story community will feature open courtyards for what planners call a “park-like setting” with green space and picnic areas.
During construction, workers will be prohibited from using neighborhood streets for parking, with construction vehicles limited to Park Hill Drive or Eighth Avenue to West Cantey Street to Stanley Avenue for site access. Adding to the area’s development mix is Baylor Surgical Center, under construction on the north side of Park Place Avenue just west of the Eighth Avenue intersection and east of Lily B. Clayton Elementary School. The facility, at 1800 Park Place, will offer 82,000 square feet in a facility planned by Baylor Health Care System and United Surgical Partners International Inc. It will replace the existing Baylor Surgical Hospital at 750 12th Ave. Staff is expected to move into the facility in October 2014, according to Roger Rhodes, hospital president. “Although this winter’s icy weather caused some delays, the construction remains on schedule,” said Susan Hall, a Baylor spokeswoman.