Plano: Commission Narrowly OK’s Residential Addition to Former JCPenney Campus
Featured Illustration (above): A conceptual rendering of the residential mid-rise addition at Campus at Legacy West. Image: Kairoi Residential
By Edmond Ortiz
Plano (Collin County)–A developer who’s already working to redevelop some of the former JCPenney corporate complex into new mixed-use space now is advancing a proposal to add a 795-unit, five-story residential mid-rise to the project.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-3 on Sept. 3 to back project owner Silos Harvesting Partners LP on its request to rezone the 110.5-acre property at the southeast corner of Legacy Drive at Headquarters Drive from central business to planned development/central business. The proposal now heads to the City Council on Sept. 23.
Nearly three years ago, Silos Harvesting, a limited partnership led by Dallas developer Sam Ware, bought the former JCPenney campus to convert the site into a mixed-use development called Campus at Legacy West. The redevelopment of the JCPenney campus is being done in phases.
The master plan was designed to accommodate mainly office space along with restaurants, retail and the Miyako Hotel, a luxury high-rise hotel from Japan-based Kintetsu Enterprises Co. of America. Initially, Silos Harvesting also envisioned more than 1,500 apartments at Campus at Legacy West, but opted to cut down that number to nearly 800.
Project representatives claim the proposed apartment building would help to meet a rising demand for multifamily residential space in the area. The complex is located southwest of Dallas North Tollway and Texas Highway 121, just south of Frisco city limits.
Silos Harvesting also plans to build a boardwalk around an existing pond on the property to complement the redevelopment. The campus is partially developed with two office buildings totaling 1.8 million square feet, with two parking garages and landscape amenities. The existing office buildings, which include retail uses, are 80% leased.
Google Earth map of former JCPenney corporate campus with Phase 3 in purple./Graphics by Adolfo Pesquera.
Another 38 acres at the hard corner of Legacy and Headquarters is vacant land that is being left undeveloped. It is referred to as Phase IV on the overall site plan.
The rezoning also allows the project owner to develop a food truck park on site to serve office, retail and future hotel and residential tenants. The developers would allocate 13.9 acres for open space as part of the effort to add residential.
The proposed residential had the support from a slim majority of P&Z Commissioners. There was also support from some property owners and prominent residents. Commission member David Downs described demand for residential in this area as “off the charts.”
Rutledge Haggard, great-great-grandson of the Haggard family that settled the area in the 1850s, wrote the city in support of adding residential at Campus at Legacy West: “It serves the area well, makes sense with so many corporate headquarters surrounding it, and provides additional residence support for the many restaurants and retail stores in Legacy West.”
Phase I involves the retrofitted existing office buildings on the former JCPenney corporate campus. Phase II will feature a high-rise hotel and new restaurant and retail spaces. The residential mid-rise is proposed for Phase III. Phase IV is set aside for future nonresidential uses. Image: Kimley Horn
However, there was considerable opposition from many stakeholders. Fehmi Karahan, speaking for the Legacy Association and its 130+ corporate property owners–Toyota North America, Capital One, Children’s Medical, Liberty Mutual, JPMorgan Chase, FedEx, and Dr. Pepper among them–said the residential component “will have a lasting, and serious adverse impact on the quality and character of Legacy Business Park and be squarely in conflict with the master development plan.”
Glenn Lickstein, president of Gaedeke Group, said his local real estate firm committed significant funds toward relocating to Campus at Legacy West, which he added is supposed to focus on non-residential use.
“We have plans to build another office building (as permitted) on our site. If the image of Legacy, being one of the most premier business parks in the country, is destroyed due to the proposed residential development, it will make it very difficult for us to attract corporate tenants to our buildings and will have severe negative financial impacts in our development,” Lickstein wrote.
Commissioner Nathan Barbera echoed such critiques: “This is changing this keystone area of Legacy business park to something that it was never intended to be.”
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.