Alamo Manhattan takes comments, Ten Bells turns up

photo by Danny Fulgencio

New development in the Bishop Arts District took top billing at two very different meetings in Oak Cliff Monday night.

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Alamo Manhattan executives opened their meeting with the Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association with a slide showing the artist’s rendering of its planned Bishop Arts development covered by a big red X.

They want you to forget that. Take those pictures of block-busting buildings out of your mind.

Instead, they say, they want to listen. It is no wonder. Since the pictures and plans for five-story buildings and hundreds of apartments in Bishop Arts came to light a few weeks ago, Oak Cliff neighbors have reacted in strong opposition.

The meeting with Kidd Springs neighbors, at James S. Hogg Elementary School, focused only on the property where Sonic Drive-In is now and the buildings that house Zoli’s NY Pizza and the adjacent collision repair place.

The rest of the proposed development, which would call for demolishing Ten Bells Tavern and Local Oak, still is up in the air, Alamo Manhattan CEO Matt Segrest implied.

“If we do anything there, it’ll be like five years from now,” he said.

alamovscaveThe developer is seeking $11.5 million in future tax reimbursements from the city of Dallas for underground parking, to bury power lines and for “exterior materials and details.”

Neighbors asked questions and calmly sounded off on what they would like to see for the development. Their suggestions were dutifully noted on an over-sized notepad propped on an easel.

In that portion of the proposed development, there would be about 100 apartments, two restaurants and three retail shops. There also would be about 220 underground parking spaces, some for apartment residents and some to serve the shops and restaurants. The apartments would rent for about $1.80 per square foot, and some of them would be “affordable,” meaning they would be reserved for families earning 80 percent or less of the median income, which would be about $46,000 for a family of four.

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The developer also would build out the plaza park for the Oak Cliff streetcar stop. They still want five-story buildings, which is allowed in the current zoning.

And they would incorporate 15-foot to 17-foot sidewalks and a 10-foot landscaping setback between the development between the Sonic property and homes in Kidd Springs.

These were some of our neighbors’ requests:

  • A green space for a dog park or playground
  • Awnings over the sidewalks
  • Water-saving landscaping
  • Environmentally sustainable building materials
  • Landscaping trees with a trunk diameter of about 7 inches minimum
  • Public art, murals and other creative projects that would hire local artists
  • A tenant mix that includes neighborhood services, such as a butcher or fish purveyor, for example, and not just “candles and tchotchkes”
  • Sidewalk benches
  • A public restroom
  • A streetscape on West Davis that is compatible with pedestrian traffic, similar to Lower Greenville

Segrest says they expect to come back in August, after more input from neighbors, with new drawings.

Meanwhile at Ten Bells Tavern, the scene was a cross between a public meeting, a pub crawl and a pep rally.

Ten Bells owner Meri Dahlke told the crowd of about 200 people that it took two years to find a space “in the weird end of Bishop Arts,” and when they first leased it, there was a rooster in the yard, along with an old fridge lying on its side. She and her partners turned that underused real estate into a Sunday fun day hotspot for northern Dallasites as well as a weekday hangout for Oak Cliff neighbors.

“They’re capitalizing off the hard work we’ve put in,” she told the crowd.

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  • There was an old piece, I believe from Dallas Observer where they went around downtown trying to find the “lower rent” units and didn’t have much luck.

  • Would you please publish what is the stated construction price per square foot for Alamo’s buildings? If the money is going towards “materials and details”, I would be curious as to their price/sf. Thanks!

  • And the rent on an Ice cream shop along there has went up to $6,000 a month from $1,600.

    Businesses will be driven out and the empty stores used as grounds for the development

  • Judging by recent events, including their Facebook page, the ten bells group sounds like people I wouldn’t mind seeing ply their trade elsewhere. If anything they are living off the hard work people put in 15 – 20 years ago and they want to act like they are some sort of pioneers. Don’t they know back yard chickens are an oak cliff thing?

  • I would like to know how many of the new apartment building in OC and on Fort Worth Avenue actually have the lower rent apartments available for the po folk? Has anyone checked up on the people who lived in the trailer park to see if they live in the apartments that displaced them?

  • Does Ten Bells run a shuttle for all those people in the northern part of Dallas to come in for Sunday Funday? No offense, but as an outsider from East Dallas, that really does come off as a snark. Maybe there’s a reason they are taking offense to your “coverage.”

  • But Rob. Can you see how a comment like “we most likely still plan on tearing down the building where your business is located, but it will be put off for 5 years… you’re welcome” comes across as very patronizing? At least that’s how I took it, and it isn’t even my business.

  • Thanks Rachel for covering this issue. I look forward to more as things develop. It is hard to be in two places at once 😉

  • You don’t think it was worth them noting that the plans we saw at Eno’s have now been completely scrapped? Or that the plan to tear down Ten Bells has been delayed for at least 5 years? From my perspective those are pretty huge changes in this development – changes that have come about, in my opinion, from lots of talk and opposition to the plans.

  • Thanks for pointing that out, Bethany. I wasn’t there for Griggs’ part of the meeting since I was at the Kidd Springs meeting. We have a very small staff; I am the only reporter, and I made the decision to hear what the developer had to say as it was their first meeting with neighbors since changing their tone (because of neighborhood reaction, including that from Ten Bells). That’s why I came late to the Ten Bells meeting. It is my understanding that the Ten Bells owners think my coverage of their meeting was sarcastic or disrespectful, and I assure you that I mean for it to be both sincere and respectful, though short. Would be happy to talk more about this. My email address is

  • Well for one, she completely missed the part where councilman Scott Griggs was in attendance and held an open QA. I ran into a lot of people there who had already attended the first Alamo Manhattan meeting, so it wasn’t as if we were missing anything at the Kidd Springs one. On other hand, most of us had many questions for Griggs and he answered politely and informed us what we can do to take effective action. What about that part of the meeting?

  • Come on , get the date right. I’m watching a movie tonight. And I’m going to roll around in the cash I make from ticket sales for the movie tomorrow. Rachel will probably report on it.

  • Wow! Really terrific coverage of both events, and how fairly presented! An equal amount of space in your “article” for both sides. What a crock, Rachel Stone. Perhaps you should go to journalism school before endeavoring to write for the public.

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