The Dallas Plan Commission last week approved a remarkably unique plan for a new northern Lake Highlands neighborhood.
The development — brought to us by Diane Cheatham, the woman responsible for nationally renowned Urban Reserve — could prove transformative for the area, with its “low maintenance, low velocity, low impact, low stress, low pressure, low fumes, high design” living for a relatively affordable investment.
Constructed amid a thick of trees with a thin creek trickling through, just a skip from the picturesque Richland College campus, the Urban Commons neighborhood, inspired by the Dutch Woonerf concept, will include 75-80 single family homes ranging from 600 to 2,800 square feet.
It takes a certain level of ballsiness to promise “minimal modern homes that exist in harmony with our environment” (as the website introduction does) at a location across the street from a low-budget, extended stay motel and one of the region’s busiest highways.
But that is essentially what Cheatham accomplished almost a decade ago with Urban Reserve. Where most people, if they noticed at all, saw a densely overgrown patch of uninhabitable earth separating Lake Highlands from Central Expressway, she saw 14 acres of opportunity to build a vanguard village of modern and sustainable homes. She lives there in this masterpiece featured on several a home tour.
The commission approval clears the way to begin building Urban Commons on its nine-acre home along the I-635 service road near Forest Lane, notes publicist Rita Cox, adding that a groundbreaking ceremony will take place in the next couple of months.
Since the Dallas City Council approved the plan in January, the grounds have been cleared of overgrowth and trash — there used to be quite the makeshift dump on the site.
Now for the vertical construction. As the architects and builders progress, we will be able to keep track.
“We’re in early construction phases now. Soon, the site plan you see [on our website] will interact to show available lots, home designs, architects and builders. You’ll browse homes as small as 600 feet and as large as 2,800—all modern by design, all sustainably built, all crafted to blend beautifully into the harmonious setting,” the promotional text reads.
Some sneak peeks from the Urban Commons Facebook page:
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