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NexMetro Communities Introduces an Apartment Complex with less complexity

05/10/2017 08:27:00 am | Viewed: 519

Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange

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Posted: 5-10-2017, 9:40 a.m.

by Adolfo Pesquera

Garland (Dallas County) - The Garland Plan Commission wrestled last month over a luxury housing project that doesn’t fit any of the usual molds, but in the end, gave it their blessing.

NexMetro Communities, a Phoenix-based company that’s been in existence about seven years, made a pitch for their project April 10, but there were so many questions the case was continued to April 24.

Avilla Creekside, the proposed concept, is a high-density luxury rental community, but all the structures are single story. In scale, it looks like the kind of workforce housing that was common in the 1920s, but with smaller yards.

These are not townhomes, although there are 41 two-bedroom duplexes out of the total 114 units in the mix. Each apartment structure is separated from the next by 6 to 10 feet, said project spokesman Jon Van De Voorde.

There are also 34 single dwelling, one-bedroom units and 39 single-dwelling, three-bedroom units. They range in size from about 700 to 1,200 square feet.

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While the commissioners ultimately approved the concept and detailed plan by a 4-to-3 vote, there were plenty of questions. Why wasn’t it age restricted to 55 and older? Why not go multi-story? If children were allowed, why isn’t there a playground? What assurances could NexMetro give that the property would be well maintained long-term?

NexMetro believes there is a market that crosses generations—millennials and empty-nesters that are renters by choice. They are affluent, but don’t want the bother of dealing with home maintenance and don’t need or want much living space.

Growing their company under the Avilla Homes brand, NexMetro has built about a dozen Avilla communities in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. In the Dallas area, NexMetro opened Avilla communities in Plano and McKinney, and Garland will be the third.

While families with children may rent, Van De Voorde said it was their experience that this type of community attracts mostly couples and singles without children or just one child. He described the amenities as designed for more passive activities.

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Amenities will include a pool with a cedar pergola, open common areas with a walking path and benches. The site is located at the southeast corner of Shiloh Road and Campbell Road and total 12.8 acres. However, a creek runs along the east end, which leaves 11.9 acres available for development.

Extensive site work will be required because of the hilly topography, Van De Voorde said. This will require soil leveling in a terraced fashion, and the installation of a series of retaining walls, he said.

The novelty of the concept opened discussion on the whole idea of going small in housing. Commissioner Louis Moore said he came to the meeting from an afternoon meeting attended by the mayor on tiny houses.

“I was floored by the size of the audience,” Moore said. “They were talking about homes the size of these people’s (NexMetro’s) storage units, 73 square feet. There was a lot of interest.”

Garland Plan Commissioner Louis Moore

Moore recalled a recent trip back to Houston where he had lived previously and his visit to his old neighborhood where houses were built in the $200,000 range, and across from a cluster of townhomes.

 

“I would have bet anything that those $200,000 homes would stay and those townhomes would go away,” Moore said, but the opposite occurred—the $200,000 homes were torn down to build $800,000 homes and the townhomes remained.

 

It was a lesson to Garland, Moore said, in the need for diversity in housing choices.

“If we’re going to talk about 73-square-foot homes, these are mansions compared to that,” he said.

While Plan Commission Chairman Scott Roberts voted against the project, giving location as his reason, he wished the developer success. The project site is directly north of a traditional multi-story apartment complex and south of commercial retail development.

The configuration of Avilla Creekside has a circle the wagons appearance, with many of the homes facing each other around a centrally location rectangular green space. One concession NexMetro offered was to increase the variety of elevations from nine to eleven.

A variety of parking choices will be available for the 226 allotted spaces. Uncovered surface parking accounts for 43 percent, carports will handle 39 percent, and garages will take in 18 percent of the vehicles.

NexMetro proposed solid eight-foot high masonry walls, or wood fences and ornamental metal fences, with landscaping separate the right-of-way and the buildings. Distances from the rights-of-way will vary from 33 feet to 44 feet depending on the placement of patio roof covers.

Garland normally requires a clubhouse for an apartment community, but there will be none here. There will be a leasing office building.

DSGN Associates Inc. of Dallas is the architect. BGE Inc. of Fort Worth is the civil engineer.

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adolfo@virtualbx.com


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Porch scene at an Avilla Homes property. Courtesy of Avilla Homes/NexMetro Communities

Author Info
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Adolfo Pesquera
Reporter/Editor
adolfo@virtualbx.com

Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.