Oak Cliff neighbors hated Alamo Manhattan’s first proposal for imposing five-story red-brick boxes of apartments on Davis at Zang.

The original proposal was shockingly bad. Sentiment against it was virtually unanimous, so the developer had to start over or risk losing a case for $11.5 million in future tax reimbursements from the city.

Alamo Manhattan came back with its new proposal Thursday night. And neighbors, about 100 in the crowd, reacted with enthusiasm for it.

The new design includes two apartment buildings of about 200 units with retail on the ground floor. The developer agreed with the Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association that none of the retail space in the building planned for the site of Sonic, on Davis at Zang, would be leased to restaurants. Driveways would be approximately where they are now.

On the other side of the street, Zang at Seventh, Alamo Manhattan plans to create a streetcar stop and plaza on the site of the former Roy’s Transmission Shop, plus the apartments-over-retail building (now made to look like three separate buildings) on the site of Zoli’s NY Pizza and the adjacent collision repair place.

These are the points Matt Segrest of Alamo Manhattan says the redesign addresses:

  • Break up the building mass,
  • feature more architectural details,
  • connect to existing architecture in Bishop Arts,
  • avoid looming over Bishop Arts
  • and focus on the pedestrian experience.

Designers drew inspiration from architecture and storefronts in the Bishop Arts District and buildings in downtown Portland, Seattle and Philadelphia. The Seventh Street complex would be broken into three facades with pass-through walkways between them. These “paseos” could include small storefronts.

Segrest said he has no plans to turn the property over within five years, as is common for apartment developers. He even said he would like for his children to be a part of it “decades from now.”

“This is a keeper,” he said.

He intends to lease restaurant and shop space to locally owned businesses, not chains, and to avoid businesses that would compete with the existing retail mix.

“We want to be team players,” he said.

And this brings us to the Seventh Street block that includes the Local Oak and Ten Bells Tavern, which Alamo Manhattan has under contract. So far, Segrest says he does not have a plan to redevelop them, and they’re not part of the $11.5 million Tax Increment Financing case, he says.

Originally, the developer’s plans had included building apartments on that block as well, although the Local Oak and Ten Bells both have many more years on their leases.

The project would replace all commercial buildings, no residences. But as part of the TIF case, the project is required to make 20 percent, or about 40, of the apartments to be “affordable.” By the city’s definition, that means they’re reserved for people making 80 percent or less of the median income, or about $45,000 for a family of four.

Give your feedback on the new designs at bishopartsproject.com.