Board approves $5 million for Bishop Arts project

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The massive Bishop Arts District redevelopment project from the Nazerian family gained approval Thursday for $5 million from the Oak Cliff Gateway Tax Increment Financing District. The project, which will connect Bishop Arts to Jefferson Boulevard, also has received a $2 million economic development grant to buy some of the parcels.

Work could begin as soon as June on the $42-million first phase, which will include about 200 apartments, one- and two-story retail buildings and a two-story underground parking garage.

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Developer Michael Nazerian says he wants the project done right, with sensitivity and respect for Bishop Arts. Because the area’s median income is low, bankers would not fund the project to include costs for details the Nazerians want, such as brick paving in roadways, buried power lines, underground parking and more expensive building materials. That’s why the project needs public funding, he says.

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The apartments’ c-shaped interior courtyard (at bottom of image) will create 30-40 unit pods, which Nazerian thinks should foster community.

The apartments truly would address the street — residents wouldn’t walk around buildings or parking lots to find lighted, tree-lined sidewalks, Nazerian says.

Interior courtyards amid the retail buildings open up the block with space for cafe seating and events.

Restaurant and retail buildings will be small — about 450-1,000 square feet — so that start-ups can afford spaces, Nazerian says. The ground floor of two-story live-work units would be built to retail specifications so that residents could eventually open shops or galleries.

Also, there will be a few “micro unit” apartments of about 350 square feet.

“Bishop Arts is their living room,” Nazerian says.

Buildings on Bishop and Melba will have one or two stories maximum, and building heights will increase to four stories toward Madison.

“It feels like it’s always been there,” Nazerian says of the future development. “It’s a part of the district.”

Sidewalks on Bishop, Ninth and Melba will be widened to 11 feet; most of them currently are 8 feet wide.

None of the project’s parking spaces will be visible from the street, Nazerian says, and 30 spaces will be available for public parking.

The Nazerians also plan to use high-end materials, as detailed in the slide below.

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Michael Nazerian moved to Dallas seven years ago after his family started buying parcels for this project. He says he’s traveled to 64 countries studying the commonalities that he likes about urban areas.

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“We view this as a work of art and a work of passion,” he says.

Once the development is built up, he wants local artists to help “finish the canvas” with touches to sidewalks, walls, seating, etc.

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“A little extra thought makes it a real place and gives it that fine-grain detail,” he says.

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This drawing shows the elevation on Madison.

See the entire proposal that Nazerian showed the Oak Cliff Gateway TIF board Thursday. The board agreed to add the area to the TIF’s reach and provide up to $5 million in funding.

Nazerian Bishop Arts Project

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