Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Urban-style apartments planned for Twin Creeks - Star Community Newspapers

Photo courtesy of city of Allen -- The Ablon at Twin Creeks, pictured here in a design sketch, will boast 647 units and an urban-style design once both phases are finished two to three years from now. The complex will be the latest for the Twin Creeks Urban Center development.

The developer responsible for high-profile urban projects such as the Dallas Design District is bringing its expertise to Allen's Twin Creeks neighborhood with a new, 647-unit urban-style apartment complex.

Dallas-based Pegasus Ablon was selected by Briar Ridge Investments, the owners of the 2,500-acre Twin Creeks development, to construct the apartments, which will be at the northwest corner of West Exchange Parkway and Bray Central Drive.

The 29-acre property, which stands adjacent to the Waterford Parks neighborhood, will be developed in two phases, with completion anticipated within the next two to three years.

Ablon at Twin Creeks, as the complex will be called, is designed to appeal to young professionals, with approximately 65 percent of the units containing only one bedroom and the remainder housing two.

"The targeted market would be the millennial generation -- those who are in their early 20s to early 30s, primarily younger individuals, in many cases single without children," said David Hicks, a representative from Briar Ridge. "Really, that's a market demographic that we're a little concerned with leaving Allen and moving to areas such as Legacy, West Village, Victory Park -- areas that are a little more mixed-use, higher density and that have amenities that are more suited toward the younger folks."

This aspect extends to the design of the facility, which distinguishes itself from the larger-unit, "garden-style" apartments in the area with several urban design elements. The buildings will be situated about 10 feet from the road, with parking on the interior of the development. A boulevard-style road -- complete with sidewalks, trees and on-street parking -- will run north and south through the middle of the complex.

"As you drive by, you are basically looking at very attractive, urban-style buildings and the parking is largely hidden," Hicks said.

Amenities will be along the lines of an "in-town resort," Hicks said, featuring state-of-the-art fitness facilities, outdoor dining areas, free Wi-Fi and electronic packages in each unit, and natural recreational elements.

"It takes advantage of the trails and the greenspace that's a part of the site to connect this development to the hike-and-bike system that's already in Allen, so it can make it easy for the residents there to recreate," he said.

Pegasus Ablon has purchased 15 acres for the first phase of development, and the planning and zoning commission and city council have approved the concept plan and building elevations for the project. The company will also expand Bray Central to a four-lane divided roadway from Exchange Parkway to Hopewell Drive over the course of the two development phases.

While some residents of the nearby Waterford Park neighborhood have expressed concern about visibility into their backyards from the second-story apartments, the developer has offered to provide an additional 40 trees in the floodplain to the northwest of the site to help create a natural screen near the property line, said Lee Battle, assistant director of planning. They have also met with nearby residents to discuss the possibility of providing trees for homeowners to plant in their backyards for additional screening, he said.

"The developer has been very proactive in meeting with the residents, actually meeting with the HOA and the residents before the P&Z meeting to explain the project and express concerns," he said. "Coming into the P&Z meeting, they had already agreed to try to do some additional tree plantings and continue those discussions along with the parks department."

The site, which was acquired in 1992 as part of Briar Ridge's original land purchase, was converted alongside 326 other acres of the property into the new Planned Development 108, or Urban Center, in October 2011. The center extends east from Bray Central to Central Expressway and includes the Twin Creeks Shopping Center, four apartment complexes, Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Allen and The Belmont at Twin Creeks nursing home.

The addition of the new apartments continues to serve Briar Ridge's ultimate goal of turning Twin Creeks into a place where residents can "age in place," Hicks said. This means residents can progress from single-bedroom apartments and single-family homes all the way to active senior living and nursing care throughout the course of their lives, he said.

"It's all in one central place -- it's not spread out all over the city, so if Mom or Dad need to move into a higher level of care, you don't lose them to the community," he said.

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