Controversy Brews Over South Garland Apartment Plan

Site housed apartment complex that deteriorated, was demolished years ago

By Tammy Mutasa
|  Thursday, Mar 1, 2012  |  Updated 7:52 PM CDT
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Controversy is bubbling up in Garland over a plan to build apartments at the site of of The Villages of Eastgate Apartments demolished after they went into decline.

Tammy Mutasa, Garland Reporter

Controversy is bubbling up in Garland over a plan to build apartments at the site of of The Villages of Eastgate Apartments demolished after they went into decline.

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Some South Garland residents say they are worried a plan for apartments will worse a developing area.

The city is weighing options on how to develop land it purchased from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $1.

The site once housed the Village of Eastgate apartments, which were a hit in the 1970s, but declined over time. The once-high-dollar megacomplex was demolished about six years ago.

Resident John Garner said it was a nice apartment complex that deteriorated as time went on.

"[They] were good for the community at first, and they kind of got crime-infested," Laura Dotie said.

Some residents worry that pattern could repeat itself if multifamily apartments are built on the property.

"There's a lot of police calls, and if these apartments begin to deteriorate like Eastgate and the ones across Saturn, then that's more police calls," Garner said.

A Walmart came in since Eastgate was demolished, but 14 acres of land are still vacant, redevelopment in the area has been slow.

"Apartments would be a good option in this area because retail follows rooftops," said Councilman John Willis, who is spear-heading redevelopment initiatives in the district. "And this part of town currently has a retail vacancy rate of almost 30 percent."

Willis said development standards are different from what they used to be in the '70s. The city's early vision is to have apartments like those in Downtown Garland and Firewheel Town Center.

"Something equal to or better than those developments is what we need in this part of town to make sure that quality is maintained over time," he said.

Local businesses said the apartments would bring a much-needed boost, but not at the cost of safety.

"As long as they keep them up, because we work late, and we don't want any crime in this area," Dotie said.

The project is still in the early stages. The developer will come up with a detailed design plan that will be brought before the city.

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