Part IV: Sub-Area Two Vision: University of Dallas
General Intent and Identity
As with Sub-Area 1, the Tom Braniff/University of Dallas station area is marked by its strong regional access and visibility from SH-114. Development opportunities are also enhanced by the Trinity River waterfront and the university-related potential uses. Sub-Area 2 can take advantage of these assets to become a first class office/residential district, with a hotel and conference center and specialty retail uses, in keeping with the Corridor vision that all sub-areas offer unique, distinct development attractions. The light rail station is defined as an anchor to this new office/residential district and will be a new front door to the University campus.
Physical Plan Recommendations
Sub-Area 2 has excellent regional access provided by SH-114, Loop 12, and SH-183. However, direct access is provided only through Tom Braniff Drive, Texas Plaza, and Northgate Drive. Of these thoroughfares, only Tom Braniff and Texas Plaza intersect the freeways and none of these intersections provide direct access from all directions. Carl Road provides indirect access from SH-183. The continuous service road “box” intersections at SH-114/Loop 12 and SH-183/Loop 12 are critical components of the access routes to and from the sub-area.
The proposed street plan relies heavily on new local street connections to Tom Braniff Drive. The plans for the Loop 12/SH-114 interchange and improvements to SH-114 could affect access to the sub-area and should be closely coordinated with TxDOT. The expansion of Tom Braniff north of SH-114 and the planned connection to Luna Road will provide the needed access.
Light Rail Alignment and Station Area
The light rail alignment in Sub-Area 2 is just north of and generally parallels SH-114. Its exact alignment and relationship to the SH-114 Westbound Service Road will be developed as the SH-114 improvements are developed. The proposed concept locates the line within the undeveloped property on either side of Tom Braniff Drive; alternatively, the alignment could be placed in the SH-114 right-of-way between the main lanes and a relocated westbound frontage road. The station location will also accommodate University of Dallas access with pedestrian facilities on the redesigned Tom Braniff Bridge over SH-114. The alignment will shift into the existing SH-114 right-of-way to eliminate any direct impact on the Cistercian Preparatory School. From this location on into Sub-Area 3 the alignment will be challenged by the ramps and service roads of SH-114, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, and the hilly terrain.
It is envisioned that this station should utilize DART’s vaulting canopy design; with detail design enhancements in seating, trash bins, light fixtures, signage and artwork that will take advantage of the identity of the educational facilities located within walking distance of the station. The platform area will be visually extended to the adjacent semi-round plaza and the design scheme and detailing of both station and plaza should be consistent. The station design should also be integrated with the new proposed bridge at Tom Braniff Drive by connecting sidewalks and consistency of detailing.
This at-grade station shall be designed in accordance with local codes and ordinances and guidelines. The DART Design Criteria Manual Volume 1 -- Facilities Design shall be used to determine the appropriate site development layouts and access to platforms. This station will be approximately 300 feet long, capable of handling a three-car train with provision for expansion to a four-car train. Side loaded platforms will be used with a roof canopy approximately one-third the length of each platform. Both covered and uncovered portions of the platform will be lighted.
Public Plaza Adjacent to the Light Rail Platform
Adjacent to the light rail platform to the east there is a “gateway” opportunity for the University of Dallas to lend its identity to the station and adjacent development parcels. This open space should take the form of a large plaza, with a mixed landscape treatment of hard and soft surfaces, tree shading and a pocket-parking area. A restaurant/retail site at the corner of the plaza and Tom Braniff Drive will anchor the plaza and provide a terminus to the redesigned bridge over SH-114. A landscape easement is recommended as the plaza implementation tool; design guidelines should be prepared for the plaza and its abutting buildings.
Streetscape and Building Forms
The area immediately surrounding the proposed plaza and light rail station is denser in character with small building setbacks and high lot coverage. The street system radiates from the station plaza with gently curving roads that provide access to the land parcels between SH-114 and the floodplain in a unique campus-like character. Buildings in this zone are envisioned to stand alone, supported by parking both structured and surface.
A New Gateway Bridge on Tom Braniff Drive
A gateway opportunity is proposed for the bridge over the highway on Tom Braniff Drive, taking advantage of the redesign of SH-114. This new bridge will establish a clear identity threshold to Irving/Las Colinas coming from downtown Dallas. It will also link the pedestrian flow between the light rail station and the University of Dallas through wide, well lighted, tree planted sidewalks. It is envisioned that the bridge be asymmetrical to focus circulation toward the station platforms and enhanced by artwork.
Land Use and Zoning
Land Use Vision
Sub-Area 2 is suited by location and proximity to the University of Dallas to accommodate research, technology, laboratory and education related uses. Lower density corporate office uses are appropriate throughout the Sub-Area, while office uses of a somewhat higher density (4-story minimum) should be encouraged to locate in the area immediately adjacent to the light rail station. Apartments for employees and other professionals, as well as university related housing, are desirable to provide a live-work environment. Retail uses serving neighborhood functions ought to be encouraged along with retail uses related to university functions. Big box retail is appropriate only at the southern most portion of this sub-area.
Existing Zoning: Uses
Sub-Area 2 is currently zoned with S-P-2 Site Plan zoning. The zoning adopted for the area adjacent to S.H.-114 is S-P-2 for C-O Commercial Office uses. In addition, retail uses are allowed. The tract south of S.H.-114 also allows P-O Professional Office uses and FWY Freeway uses, but expressly excludes experimental laboratories, manufacturing, assembly and packaging uses, and warehousing uses. No residential uses are contemplated. The mismatch between the existing zoning and the recommended development in terms of land uses is set out in the tables below.
Existing Zoning – Form
Existing zoning provides for quite a significant variation in form between the north and south sides of S.H.-114. Minimum front yard setbacks range from 25 feet to 50 feet, and side yards range from 10 feet to 30 feet. Distance required between detached buildings ranges from 10 feet to 40 feet.
The physical form encouraged by the zoning regulations was not calibrated to respond to public transit. Comparison of existing form requirements and proposed development standards related to form are presented in the tables below.
Economic Analysis and Recommendations
Introduction to Sub-Area Analysis
This analysis component originally treated Sub-areas 1 and 2 as a single unit for estimating value and revenue. A subsequent analysis separately evaluated the annual development volumes, appraised values and revenue from real property tax, business personal property tax, sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for each sub-area, for the Preferred Plan projection.
Envisioned Development Program
In Sub-Area 2, as for three of the four sub-areas, the Preferred Plan projection and its West Branch alternative are identical. These projections add an estimated 3.4 million square feet of floor area by 2030. Total new construction volume is similar to Sub-Area One, but the mix of uses is different. The Preferred Plan assumes Sub-Area Two becomes largely residential, with office and retail development at prime locations for those uses. This residential mix promotes a more functional transit role and complements the more difficult residential prospects of Sub-Area 1.
Like Sub-Area 1, this sub-area is outside the TIF zone. Schedule INV-1 shows assumed ultimate potential construction volumes and derivations for the TIF Projection. In the TIF Projection, 2.7 million square feet of construction are added to Sub-area 1 and 2 combined (from Schedule CVV-1-IISD-south) by year 2030. The Preferred Plan projection adds 6.4 million square feet by that year.
For Sub-Area 1 and 2 combined, the estimated value of real property improvements since 2000 is about $720 million, based on the Preferred Plan. The counterpart value with the TIF Projection is $285 million. (Schedule CITY-1-a).
Rough estimates of City revenues from taxes affecting the sub-area, given Preferred Plan assumptions, appear in the Appendix.
Transportation and Utilities
The implementation challenges noted for Sub-Area 1 remain for Sub-Area 2. The designs of SH-114 and the light rail line will be more than cooperative efforts—they need to be integrated. Both the freeway and the rail line will affect the accessibility to the developable sites within the sub-area so particular attention will need to be given to that aspect of design. The property owners, the City of Irving, the BNSF, TxDOT, and DART must approach this challenge as implementation partners.
The following is a list of issues that should be addressed by the City when implementing the recommended land use vision for Sub-Area 2:
a) Land use functions appropriate to implement desired character for the area.
b) Physical forms appropriate to the various land use functions.
c) Discrepancies between desired functions and functions permitted by current regulations.
Appropriate uses currently not permitted.
Inappropriate uses currently permitted.
d) Discrepancies between desired form of development and existing regulations.
Desired forms currently prohibited.
Inappropriate forms currently permitted.
e) Other impediments to desired form and function.
f) Strategies for resolving discrepancies and impediments.
Based on estimated values of only new construction appraised for the first time from 2001 through 2030, Sub-area 1 and 2 combined might produce a cumulative $16.9 million of real property tax for the City, given the TIF projection (Schedule CITY 1-a). These Sub-area might produce $41.8 million of cumulative real property tax from new construction initially appraised during those same years, given the Preferred Plan or West Branch projections (Schedule CITY-2-a or CITY-3-a in Appendix).
Timing of development is significant for economic analysis. In general, this analysis assumes roughly equal development volumes in each of fifty years, but it counts only the first thirty years. It anticipates modest peaking of development volume after DART rail construction. Actual peaks and valleys of growth will be steeper, but timing predictions are unreliable.