The kind of big, mixed-use development southern Dallas leaders have sought for years was announced this week.
It will be adjacent to UNT Dallas near I-20 and Lancaster Road. Newly expanded Wheatland Road runs through the middle of the site.
The University Hills development is the sort of thing that’s not so rare in parts of North Texas.
People familiar with this hope it will be a catalyst for more in southern Dallas.
“This would be a big deal for southern Dallas. I think it’s a very promising project,” UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said.
UNT Dallas has a DART light rail station, but the station has none of the amenities that some north side stations have.
“There's no food service here. There's no shade. There's no entertainment,” passenger Robert Rosier said.
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He is a retired engineer who grew up in Oak Cliff but worked in Addison. Rosier said he spent much of his free time during working years on the north side of Dallas.
“All the conveniences and amenities would be up north. I would have to go up north to get them. And now there’s more things coming south,” Rosier said.
Renderings of the big new project out this week depict a dense mix of apartments, upscale homes, stores and restaurants, all adjacent to the UNT Dallas campus.
UNT Dallas also plans expansion with a big new science building coming in a few years.
Mong said the private development that may include a hotel would complement the university.
“These are all things that would help draw increased population around our campus. There would be opportunities for faculty and staff to live near the campus, walk to campus that don’t exist right now,” Mong said. “It’s all about opportunity. It’s all about having the right kind of development around us.”
Ruth Mbou, visiting UNT Dallas for a summer program, said the plans sound good.
“Maybe it will be like more people would come around and I think it would be nice, just to see more things,” she said.
It is exactly what Dallas City Council member Tennell Atkins has been fighting to see in his southern Dallas district for years.
“I think it's a legacy project. I think when you've got quality of life, education, schools, jobs all in one,” Atkins said. “This is an upscale, middle-class income upscale housing that they’re going to build.”
Plans for this large tract of vacant land have been discussed for years but Mike Hogue, the developer behind it now, is pushing ahead.
“It's a developer that we know that is local and is going to be committed,” Atkins said.
Atkins said city sewer and water service are in the works for the site.
DART passenger Rosier said he the project would help him stay in his neighborhood for things he used to find up north.
“Why go up north when I could start having some of the conveniences also,” he said.
Through a spokesperson, the developer declined comment until later in June when more details are in place.