Residents at Larkspur Capital’s new Willow apartment project will be living on the edge.
The 190-unit rental community is nearing completion on the edge Dallas’ Deep Ellum district. It’s also on the edge of Exposition Park, which adjoins Fair Park.
The Willow is the first of three apartment projects Larkspur Capital plans in the transition zone between Deep Ellum and Fair Park — an area that has not seen new apartment development.
The Willow building on Commerce Street is a few blocks from the entrance to Fair Park. Several older loft conversion buildings and townhouses are nearby.
“We will start moving people in in January,” said Larkspur Capital’s Carl Anderson, and the website will go up soon. “The goal is to be adjacent to Deep Ellum but also be your own neighborhood.
“I think it’s going to be a nice residential street.”
Larkspur has spent the last two years building the Willow and tying up other nearby development sites.
Dallas architect Omniplan designed the apartment building with a variety of brick and masonry exteriors. “We did not want another stucco box,” Anderson said. “It’s too important an area with historical and architectural context to get it wrong.
“We are trying to resemble the fabric of Deep Ellum,” he said. “We are spending on top-tier architecture.”
Anderson said the building will have a co-working center and a pool deck that overlooks downtown. “We have a resident lounge bar that will be staffed on the weekend that is indoor-outdoor,” he said.
Rents in the building will start at $1,640 for a 618-square-foot studio unit.
Larkspur Capital is already finalizing plans for a second apartment building in the next block of Commerce Street.
It’s 234-unit Juniper building will start next year next to the elevated Interstate 30. Dallas architect Corgan is designing the project.
“It’s going to be very similar to the Willow — an eight-level building,” Anderson said. “There will be a little bit of retail, and we are talking to a couple of local coffee shops.”
The developers are turning an old rail route next to the building site into a linear greenspace. “We are creating a park and blowing it out with landscape and design,” he said.
And new lights are brightening the area under the freeway.
“We are trying to change and improve the neighborhood with a lot of crucial mass for a small area,” Anderson said.
The developer has tied up another nearby apartment site even closer to Fair Park on Haskell Avenue.
Anderson said he thinks new residents will be drawn to this historic Dallas area.
Fair Park is about to be given a boost with about $300 million in upgrades just approved by Dallas voters. Increased investment in the historic fairgrounds buildings could bring other real estate developers to surrounding properties.
“With the increased year-round activity in Fair Park and Deep Ellum becoming more livable by the day, new players are discovering the area,” said Veletta Forsythe Lill, a board member with the Fair Park First organization. “The public-private investment in Fair Park will certainly accelerate the trend.
“Fair Park’s time is now — now has just been a long time coming.”
Lill isn’t surprised developers like Larkspur Capital are zeroing in on the blocks of old commercial property just west of Fair Park.
“Many of us have long believed in the natural connection between Deep Ellum and Fair Park, both culturally and physically,” she said. “Artists and creatives were the first to find the area with its affordable lofts and historic buildings.”
Anderson also expects more activity in the area.
“There are definitely people poking around now trying to buy nearby land,” he said. “Everyone is being deterred from crossing I 30 forever.
“But there is so much momentum with Fair Park.”