By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer
Arlington, Texas–Areas of suburban Dallas are booming in a big way, and such is the case in Arlington, Texas, where Huffines Communities just broke ground on Viridian, a 2,300-acre master-planned community in Tarrant County. The gargantuan, green mixed-use development endeavor will ultimately reach full completion at an estimated cost of $2 billion.
Huffines describes the site that will become home to Viridian as one of the largest urban infill properties in the country. The lakefront land, flanked by such major thoroughfares as State Highway 360 and Highway 183, is located near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and within a 20-minute drive of a host of leading employers, accounting for a job base of 600,000.
A veritable city within a city, Viridian will encompass 400,000 square feet of retail space, 400,000 square feet of office and medical space and an 18-hole golf course in a lush environment of protected wetlands, lakes, trails and open spaces totaling 1,100 acres. Viridian will hold the distinction of being the only Audubon International Gold Certified community in the Lone Star State.
Urban planner Calthorpe and Associates is spearheading the design and planning of the new urbanism community, the main component of which will be a variety of residences. Viridian will ultimately feature 3,600 single-family homes and an undetermined number of loft-style condominiums and high-end rental apartments in mixed-use buildings. Even if the multifamily component reached completion today, there would be a market for it.
“We did see an increase in the multifamily market because people were moving out of homes, couldn’t qualify for loans or just were not ready to buy,” Brian Cramer, assistant director of Tarrant County’s community development division, tells MHN. “There was a gamut of issues that came together to help multifamily.” Current housing climate aside, Viridian’s location is a natural magnet for those seeking apartments and condominiums. “There’s always been a pretty high demand along the 360 Corridor. There’s a large component of multifamily homes there because a lot of people work at the airport. There are a lot of service people who are going to rent in that area. It may even attract students from the University of Texas.”
It also may attract teaching staff from the University of Texas at Arlington, as the school’s paleontologists have already been given the green light by Huffines to excavate a site at Viridian, where the team has uncovered a plethora of 95 million-year-old dinosaur fossils. And the unearthing and research continues.
But with a location in the heart of the DFW region, Viridian’s multifamily offerings will likely find its largest audience among the general workforce. “Looking at it from the perspective of firefighters, secretaries, school teachers, single-parent homes, well, every county has to address the fact that not everybody is going to be able to buy,” Cramer says.
Huffines has joined forces with CrossHarbor Capital Partners to provide equity financing for the development of Viridian, and the company has secured debt financing from Plains Capital Bank. A host of other sources are backing the public-private endeavor. Site work is presently underway. Viridian will be developed over a 10- to 15-year period.