Tour Gives Glimpse of Former Naval Station's Development Potential

The old airfield could eventually become a prime lakefront development in the metroplex.

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Hensley Field, the former Naval Air Station that is owned by the city of Dallas, is one step closer to becoming a lakefront showpiece.

Dallas city leaders, including Mayor Eric Johnson, and members of the public got a tour Saturday of the 738-acre blank canvas that officials hope will become a destination development that spurs economic growth.

“When you drive into the site, you’re like, 'oh my goodness, you could almost build an entire new city out here on Hensley Field,' ” said Eric Anthony Johnson, the city's chief of economic development, housing and neighborhood services.

The bus tour paused at highlights along the way like the view of Mountain Creek Lake as people shared their vision on revamping the crumbling buildings.  

Jim Adams is part of Austin-based urban design firm McCann Adams Studio, the prime consultant for the project. 

“The city’s goal is to create a mixed-use community here which will include commercial development, offices, institutional uses, possibly hospitals or certainly educational facilities,” Adams said.

Adams said the project, which is still in the master plan phase, will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  

“This is enormously exciting," he said. "There are very few sites anywhere in the country like this with the kind of setting we have with Mountain Creek Lake. This is a 2,500 acre lake, larger than White Rock Lake."  

The land sits in a federal Opportunity Zone, a designation intended to boost economic development in distressed areas. The city has been awaiting an environmental cleanup from the Navy for pollution.

Project leaders are still crafting their master plan for the area, which could take up to 20 years to complete. They expect to present the draft plan to Dallas City Council spring of 2022.  

“This project will basically start to set the pace over the next 20 years to help grow southern Dallas,” Eric Anthony Johnson said. 

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