Could converting an extended-stay property be one way to tamp down criminal activity? Photo by Christina Hughes Babb

A hotel property that police say has been a hotbed of criminal activity could become an apartment complex, but first the City Council would have to approve the owner’s rezoning request.

And the more neighbors learn about the New York City-based landlords, the angrier and less supportive of that application they become.

The Extended Stay America on Vantage Point near Greenville Avenue, owned by New York-based hospitality equity group Three Wall Capital, has a recent past marked by drug trafficking, sex crimes and murder, police told Lake Highlands residents at a mid-October meeting to discuss the rezoning case. In fact, two of the hotel’s former staffers are in federal prison after a DEA bust that garnered some 44 arrests, said Dallas Police Lt. Brian Payne, who oversees the Northeast Division’s Project Safe Neighborhood team.

“This property has a torrid history,” he said.

For the past year the address has been an official Habitual Crime Property, which makes it subject to regular inspections from Dallas’ community prosecutor’s office.

“People staying on the property weren’t the best clientele for the area,” District 10 community prosecutor Ariya Villegas told attendees. But since the City stepped in, improvements — security gates, cameras and towing enforcement — have been made.

But it is a hotel, so inhabitants do not undergo background checks or sign leases, she said.

The addition of those processes would be one potential benefit of the proposed zoning change that would allow conversion of the property from hotel to multifamily, said D10 council member Adam McGough.

“In theory, if you turn this into multifamily, and you manage it appropriately, get the proper security measures in place, it’s better than it is now,” McGough said.
He added, “But I don’t get a great feeling that they are going to do the right thing.”

Attendees also expressed little confidence that the property owners will do more than the bare minimum in the interest of public safety.

Lt. Payne said the landlords were unaware, misinformed by their management and therefore not culpable in the previously mentioned crimes. But McGough said he thinks they should have known what was going on, and several neighbors, including Richardson ISD school board representative Rachel McGowen, said they blamed the owners for turning a blind eye.

Zoning consultant Rob Baldwin explained that the subject site is approximately 2.881 acres. The hotel has 136 rooms in 70,828 square feet of floor area. Villegas added that the occupancy rate to date is only about 20%.

The site is zoned an MC-4 Multiple Commercial District. The proposed MU-3(A) Mixed Use District would allow for the adaptive reuse of the existing hotel building into a multifamily complex

Baldwin says the apartments would be rented at market rate — he guesses about $800 to $1,100 for what he says are mostly tiny units, some smaller than your typical hotel room, but with a kitchen and accommodations for longer term tenancy.

This is what those in the housing world call naturally occurring affordable housing.

The City of Dallas, like most of America, is facing a shortage of housing for all income levels. According to an article in, turning extended stay hotels into apartments is the latest solution to the housing supply problem.

Related: Cover Story: Housing 

“The biggest reason for this trend is the confluence of strong demand for apartment units, which is caused by numerous issues that have been percolating for years across the country, and reduced demand for hotel units, mostly due to the pandemic,” David Reina, a partner in Morris, Manning & Martin Hospitality Practice, told Globest.

The application from Three Wall to rezone the extended stay has been recommended for approval by the City Plan Commission and has been delayed once at City Council.

McGough says before the case appears again on the council agenda December 14, he wants to ensure all community stakeholders are engaged and have the opportunity to provide feedback. 

The most popular suggestion at the October town hall: Delay the rezoning approval and make the owners of Extended Stay America prove that they can fix their crime problem.

The zoning application is available here. The council member invites neighbors to reach out to his office with questions. Check back here to see what happens at the December council meeting.