Real estate developer Mill Creek Residential had its first neighborhood meeting Tuesday in pursuit of the rezone for The Lot and Local Traveler sites near the 3G intersection of Gaston-Grand-Garland.

Lakewood Hills, comprising 545 homes that border Gaston and Grand, is the neighborhood closest to the site. The neighborhood association hosted the Zoom meeting for its residents to hear Rob Baldwin of Baldwin Associates and Michael Blackwell of Mill Creek share more details about plans to develop the restaurant sites into a mixed-use development called The Trailhead.

As previously reported in the Advocate, Mill Creek will be seeking a Planned Development District for a mixed-use project of 320+/- apartments and 10-20,000 square feet of commercial use. New project details emerged from Tuesday’s virtual meeting.

  • The project will be oriented toward the Santa Fe Trail rather than the 3G intersection. Blackwell calls the trail “the great street that surrounds the site.”
  • The City will require an affordable housing component. Details were not discussed.
  • The target resident profiles are empty-nesters, Lakewood families with homes being remodeled, young professionals and young marrieds. Rents for a typical unit would be in the $2,000-$2,500 per month range.
  • The dangerous U-turn that Local Traveler customers endured heading south from the 3G intersection would be eliminated. The site plan shows a left-turn lane from Grand into a new entrance on the project’s far western boundary.
  • In response to a question about the project’s proposed eight-story height, Blackwell shared a Zoom graphic showing how the topography of the site makes the eight-story building appear to be lower than other nearby structures, such as The Drake, the YMCA and CC Young.

As neighborhood Zoom meetings go, this one drew a big crowd.

At its peak, 53 lines called in. Baldwin, an East Dallas resident who does plenty of land-use work in this part of town, called it the largest such meeting in which he has participated. Outside of neighborhood-specific meetings such as this one, Blackwell also committed to four community-wide virtual meetings in February.

“I am very pleased that they reached out to our neighborhood association early on in the process, and we’re looking forward to digging into further details they plan to provide about the project,“ says Alex Fergus, president of Lakewood Hills Neighborhood Association. “Increased traffic on Garland Road is a concern to Lakewood Hills residents, as it is likely to contribute to more cut-through traffic on our residential streets full of children. Safety is our primary concern, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with Mill Creek to make sure our concerns are taken into account.”

As of yet, the City’s Planning Department has not made a staff recommendation about the project, and The Trailhead has not been scheduled as an agenda item for a Plan Commission meeting — both precursors to the City Council deciding on Mill Creek’s request.