What's Happening


Building is getting a boost in the tollway corridor near the Galleria

Drivers cutting through the neighborhood just east of Dallas’ Galleria complex are doing a double take at a new building.

And eye-popping modern building is a big change from the aging apartment communities and car dealerships that have set the tone for the area just north of LBJ Freeway.

The new AC Hotel, which opens next month, is part of a wave of development on the way surrounding the Galleria. Builders are planning new apartments, office space and more retail in the Dallas North Tollway corridor.

“The tollway and Alpha Road is actually the new corner of Main Street and Main Street for that market,” said developer Michael Ablon. “The age of that area lends itself to gentrification.

“It was natural to think you would see a densification and higher end product coming into the area after finish of construction on LBJ Freeway,” he said. “Now, bam, there it is.”

The building boost around the Galleria is coming as the city and developers struggle to come up with a plan for the nearby Valley View Mall and properties surrounding the mostly abandoned shopping center.

 While the Valley View project drags on, just to the west near the tollway developers are pushing ahead.

The hole in the doughnut

“I don’t think what’s happening was ever about Valley View,” said Ablon, whose firm is working on plans for a new apartment tower on Noel Road north of Alpha. “It was always about the Galleria.

“That area has been the hole in the doughnut,” he said. “You are going to see a lot more happening.”

Irving-based apartment builder JPI is making the biggest investment in the Galleria area, with three new rental communities in the works along the west side of the tollway. The developer is already building one apartment project just north of Spring Valley Road and has two more on the way.

JPI senior vice president Matt Brendel said his company’s focus on the Galleria area is all because of its location.

“It’s pretty much smack dab in the middle of the Metroplex,” Brendel said. “You are about equal drive time from Frisco and Plano and all the relocations there and downtown Dallas.

“And the DFW Airport is to the west,” he said. “That area has always been a great job center — one of the top markets as far as office leasing.”

To provide housing for office and retail workers in the Galleria area, JPI plans to build almost 1,500 apartments.

The first 324-unit project — Jefferson Landmark — will open late this summer south of Quorum Drive.

JPI's Jefferson Landmark apartments under construction just west of the tollway is one of three new rental communities the developer plans near the Galleria.(JPI)
JPI’s Jefferson Landmark apartments under construction just west of the tollway is one of three new rental communities the developer plans near the Galleria.

 JPI plans to break ground next month on another 409 apartments at the northwest corner of Alpha and the tollway. The rental community will be part of a larger mixed-use development called Alpha West.

“We like that one because of its location as well as the mixed-use with a hotel in the works, an office component and a retail component,” Brendel said.

Just north of Alpha Road, JPI has purchased one of the last vacant tracts on the tollway where it plans a 750-unit apartment project.

“Most of the residential up there is on the east side of the Tollway until you get north of Belt Line Road,” Brendel said. “We like the resurgence on the west side of the tollroad.”

Apartment builder Mill Creek Residential recently received building permits for a 344-unit project at the corner of LBJ and Noel Road across from the Galleria. The Dallas-based developer built a 321-unit apartment project next door starting in 2015. This will be a second phase.

Office building landlords have taken notice of the activity around the tollway and LBJ and are revamping old buildings.

Owners of the 24-story former Occidental Tower at the northwest corner of the highways have finished a $9 million renovation. Investment firm GuideStone has moved from Uptown to the building.

And owners of the 4851 LBJ office building next door are giving that property a makeover, too.

“Anything in that area that was built in the 1980s or 1990s is definitely getting some play,” said Jack Crews, managing director with commercial property firm JLL. “People are buying buildings and fixing them up.”

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