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Arts Districts’ Artists Housing Is Going to Get A LOT Of New Neighbors
by Jerome Weeks 25 Feb 2015

ARTSTOWER_0225BUS_42445147A plan to have working artists actually living in affordable housing in Dallas’ Arts District will now have them rubbing shoulders with wealthy neighbors.

Two years ago, Flora Lofts got tax credit approval to create some 39 affordable live-work apartments in a six-story structure — in partnership with the local arts non-profit, La Reunion TX, which has spearheaded downtown artists housing. The site is currently a parking lot at Flora and Olive, next to Museum Tower.

But Graham Greene, landowner and partner in what’s now called Atelier/Flora Lofts, always said the affordable artists’ units were part of a larger plan to develop that site. There was going to be storefront retail, for instance. Now, everything will happen at once. Steve Brown in the DMN broke the story: The artists lofts will be part of a 39-story residential tower with some 370 luxury apartments and 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. In pointed contrast to the Museum Tower’s infamous reflective glass, which has sparked a long-running dispute with the Nasher, the architects of Atelier/Flora Lofts, Boston-based Add Inc., are giving the new apartments a mostly masonry surface with deeply set-back balconies.

In effect, Klyde Warren Park, which is only a block away from Atelier/Flora Lofts, is now surrounded by upscale residential high-rises and office towers — making it Dallas’ tiny version of Central Park. The Arts District side of the park is now, more or less, Dallas’ “Museum Mile,” the stretch of 5th Avenue in New York’s Upper East Side that’s home to the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum — as well as some of Manhattan’s wealthiest residents.

What changed the original plan from starting with just the first-phase artists’ housing, Green explains, was a year-long delay in getting street access (the access in question was owned by TXDOT, then the city of Dallas.).

“Since we were delayed a year,” says Greene, “we went ahead and got a partnership together and we’ll develop the whole property at one time. Which is much more efficient and will result in a better project.”

The delay has also meant the project has had to re-apply for a $2 million tax credit for low-income housing they received two years ago. Which is what they’re doing this afternoon at City Hall.

Greene says he deliberately chose to partner with ZOM Development, which was originally a Dutch firm, because it has had experience with mixed-used development and artists’ housing — experience the American firms he spoke with did not.

“Zom gets the affordable housing,” Greene says. “Zom gets that space.”

david and grahamsmall

David Kubin of ZOM Texas and Graham Greene, l to r. Photo: Jerome Weeks

In a press release, Catherine Cuellar, executive director of the Dallas Arts District and one of the founders of La Reunion, said the new loft tower will help “fulfill the vision for the Dallas Arts District by offering creative professionals and their families affordable homes and studios in this center of cultural creativity.

To become residents in the 39 low-income housing units, artists would have to apply and meet income requirements. La Reunion will assemble an advisory board to decide on the applications.

The full release:

ZOM DEVELOPMENT JOINS LA REUNION TEXAS IN EXPANDED DALLAS ARTS DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT AFFORDABLE ARTIST LOFTS, EXPANDED MARKET-RATE RESIDENTIAL, STREET-LEVEL RETAIL/RESTAURANTS, ENHANCED PUBLIC PARKING MARK EXPANDED VISION ALONG FLORA STREET AND PEARL AVENUE

DALLAS, Texas (February 25, 2015) – ZOM Development today announced its Atelier | Flora Lofts project, an expanded vision for one of the largest remaining undeveloped properties in the Dallas Arts District.
Atelier (a-tal-‘yā: workshop of an artist) incorporates the previously announced Flora Lofts project involving affordable, live/work spaces for artists, adding to it 370 market-rate, luxury, residential rental units and other mixed-use elements. In addition to the residential units, Atelier | Flora Lofts will include approximately 10,000 square feet of amenity space, 12,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space and 100 accessible, public parking spaces in a structure uniquely designed to:

• Complement the Arts District visually,

• Embrace and enhance the neighborhood culturally, and

• Energize the area with more people and by improving walkability and pedestrian amenities.

In a unique collaboration of interests, ZOM is partnering with local nonprofit La Reunion Texas and Graham Greene, who envisioned the Flora Lofts project to bring artist living into the Arts District. La Reunion will own and operate the affordable artist lofts. ZOM will own and operate other aspects of the development, while also providing management services to La Reunion Texas for the Flora Lofts development.

“The Dallas Arts District is the cornerstone and catalyst for creative vitality in the region, and ZOM is very excited to play a role in helping the area grow and expand,” said Hans van Veggel, chairman and chief creative officer of ZOM’s Holland-based parent company. “In fact, the prospect of incorporating live/work space for artists in this urban Arts District is what first drew our interest to this opportunity.”
“We are stimulated by the unique opportunity to mix upscale residential with affordable artist housing and street-level pedestrian amenities in this vibrant, downtown environment,” said Greg West, ZOM’s chief development officer. “We are taking great care to develop Atelier | Flora Lofts in a way that enhances the neighborhood.”

The classic modern design of Atelier | Flora Lofts will be a handsome addition to the Arts District, designed as a complementary neighbor to other nearby institutions, including the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Meyerson Symphony Center and Klyde Warren Park. Among other design elements:

• The structure consists of a podium base with 29 stories of luxury rental residential arranged in a wedge shape to minimize environmental impact on other nearby properties;

• Luxury residential floors are arranged in a slender tower to minimize visual impact on nearby properties while maximizing views for residents; and

• Design elements were incorporated to ensure the structure does not impede natural light from reaching the roof of the Nasher Sculpture center.

“ZOM prides itself in adapting projects to the specific needs of its neighborhoods,” West said.
Catherine Cuellar, executive director of the Dallas Arts District, said “Atelier|Flora Lofts helps fulfill the vision for the Dallas Arts District by offering creative professionals and their families affordable homes and studios in this center of cultural creativity, bringing even more families to live in the DAD, and including sidewalk-level retail to create an even more vibrant urban neighborhood. ZOM’s great track record of carefully curating the commercial tenants in its properties will make our neighborhood even more of a destination for those living and working downtown and from across the region.”

“ZOM creates unique residential atmospheres by designing innovative spaces in a manner that preserves the environment,” West said. “Our design and development philosophy at ZOM is to deliver an unparalleled style of living, inspired by our passion for creativity, quality and value creation.”
ZOM earlier developed The Mondrian, a 20-story, 218-unit, ultra-luxury high rise in the dynamic Uptown neighborhood near West Village, as well as the Monarch a 29-story, 305-unit in Austin’s vibrant West End Market District.

Architect for Atelier | Flora Lofts is ADD, Inc. in Miami. Groundbreaking is expected during the fourth quarter of this year.
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About ZOM Development
Established in 1977, ZOM is a real estate company that creates, acquires and enhances residential and commercial properties. The company has joint ventured or developed more than 15,000 apartment units nationwide with an aggregate value in excess of $2.3 billion. ZOM is one of the most highly regarded luxury apartment development companies in the United States, garnering more than 100 industry awards, including NAHB’s National Multifamily Development Firm of the Year. For more information, visit www.zomusa.com.