When Urban Development Comes to Suburbia You Can Count on Squabbles

If it seems there's a lot more news about real estate projects in Allen, you'd be right.The Collin County town is seeing a flurry of new construction along U.S. Highway 75.As urban development is dropped into this traditionally suburban community, there's understandable friction.This week, Allen's city council in a split decision approved a major new mixed-use project along U.S. Highway 75.The more than 70-acre Stacy Green project takes its inspiration from successful urban developments including Plano's Legacy West, the CityLine Development in Richardson and the new Preston Hollow Village in North Dallas.But the idea of putting apartments, retail, offices, hotel and townhouses chock-a-block on a suburban freeway corner can be hard for communities to stomach -- even with other examples nearby."We look at these high density developments and we all get nervous," said Allen city councilman Kurt Kizer, who voted to approve the development. "We must embrace these things because we are going to see a lot more of them."Some residents pushed back with complaints about growing traffic and increased public school populations. If you want to get away from traffic, move to Marfa."The traffic issues will resolve themselves," said Allen's Mayor Steve Terrell, who nevertheless had misgivings about the Stacy Green development. "It's a great project. We're just not there yet."Allen's city council put the Stacy Green developers through the ringer in part because the individual council members had different ideas about what should be built on the corner.The property was previously zoned for the likes of big box retail centers or car dealerships -- not mixed-use with residential.At three different council meetings the builders scrambled to meet the city's demands by changing the project layout and makeup."I've built these things and they are hard to put together," said Provident Realty CEO Leon Backes. "The easy thing to do is go do a big box shopping center and forget about it."But that's not what the market wants. We've already got plenty of those sprawling suburban developments surrounded by acres of parking.  Continue reading...

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