Arlington City Council decides not to reconsider rejected student housing project

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Arlington City Council decided Tuesday not to reconsider the proposed four-story apartment complex downtown that it rejected a week earlier.

Greystar Student Living had submitted a development plan for the Arlington Lofts, a 231-unit complex at 815 W. Abram Street that would have served up to 692 University of Texas at Arlington students. The complex, with a six-story parking garage, would have replaced the existing 120-unit Catalina Apartments, which are 45 years old.

Concerned about the size of the new complex, the City Council voted 6-3 last Tuesday to reject the planned development. The property is zoned for 22 apartment units per acre, whereas Arlington Lofts planned 54 per acre — which is allowed under downtown zoning.

Lance Hanna, Greystar’s managing director of development for student living, could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Robert Cluck and council members Lana Wolff and Michael Glaspie voted in favor of the project last Tuesday. At-large council member Jimmy Bennett, who initially voted against Arlington Lofts, asked that the council reconsider giving the developer more time to come back and provide additional facts about the project.

“The development plan we saw the other day for me and the majority of the council was not palatable,” said Bennett. “I felt our process wasn’t complete. It’s a significant project. I think it’s worthy of our due consideration.”

But a majority of council members voted against holding a new public hearing.

The developer has the option to bring the planned development back to the city for consideration if significant changes are made, such as reducing the number of units, Community Development and Planning Director Jim Parajon told council members.

Arlington Lofts would have been significantly larger than two other privately developed student housing projects: the Midtown Urban Student Living and Campus Edge apartments that have opened on UTA Boulevard in recent years. The Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended approval of the project.

Council member Robert Rivera was among those opposed, largely because of the proposed density. Rivera said he would have been able to embrace the project if the developer could guarantee that it would indefinitely remain student housing and not eventually revert to a traditional apartment complex, which could contribute to overcrowding at nearby schools.

“Citizens of Arlington are overwhelmingly not in favor of higher-density units, and the long-term effect of this could have a negative impact on the city in the future,” Rivera said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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