District 13

Ramrock - Preston Center Questions and Answers 

The City Plan Commission (CPC) meets on May 2nd at 12:30pm in Council Chambers (6th Floor), and will consider Z223-141 (Ramrock development proposal). The meeting starts at 12:30pm,  however Z223-141 (item #15) does not have a defined time to be discussed. 

Preston Center Q&A

The questions below were compiled from those asked at the April 10, 2024 public meeting at the Christ the King Parish Center.

Q: What are the height restrictions on this property and what will they be changed to? Will the new buildings be below the residential proximity slope? How many stories is the office? From the ground level- how many stories does each building have? For the office space, is it 14 stories on top of the parking?

A: The existing office building is 125 feet in height. The proposed application will increase height to 225 feet, subject to the limitations of the residential proximity slope. Office is 14 stories total and the residential tower is 16 stories total. The ground floor level will include some retail and restaurant spaces, along with lobbies at each tower.

Q: How does 225 feet equate to 16 stories - 12 ft per story?

A: Floor-to-floor heights in Class A developments like this are often greater than 12 feet in height. There are several floors of this development that will feature story heights that are taller than 12 feet, such as ground floor retail areas, and lobby and amenity areas, and mechanical areas.

Q: How many square feet of green space since no parking at the center?

A: The proposed development will feature approximately 20,000 square feet of ground-level amenity space, which will include green space, planters, tree plantings, art, seating areas, and outdoor dining patios, among other pedestrian amenities.

Q: How much of the building is reflective glass? Will they create a problem similar to the museum tower, which increased heat in the area?

A: The buildings will be comprised of various materials, including highly-energy efficient glass, metal panels, precast concrete, natural stone and/or brick. While the proposed development will feature glass panels and will reflect some light, the development will also feature light colored roofing materials to reduce heat and energy loads on the building.

Q: What is the price range (low/high price)? What is the range of units?

A: Units will range from one bedroom ($4000) to three bedrooms ($8,000).

Q: What is the square footage of the restaurant/retail?

A: The property owner has committed to 40,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and personal service uses on the property.

Q: Is the square footage of the office space increasing? What is office square footage? What is residential square footage? What is the total square footage of this project? How many units? 

A: Existing on-site today is approximately 125,000 square feet of office, but the property is permitted, by-right, to construct approximately 400,000 square feet of office space only (no mix of uses required).

The proposed development will include a maximum 350,000 square feet of office (replacing the 125,000 square feet of existing office), and approximately 280,000 square feet of residential (~ 180 units). The proposed total square footage of the development will be approximately 650,000 square feet.

Q: Will the garage also serve Preston Center?

A: The on-site garage will serve the proposed development's office and residential uses, along with valet parking for the ground floor retail and restaurant uses. The office parking will be available for public parking on evenings and weekends.

Q: I know some of the renters will have children, what is the expected number?

A: According to local statistics, approximately 1.6% of high-rise apartment units in the area contain children. The property owner expects that less than 5% of the units will contain children.

Q: Does it have to be affordable housing? Can you better explain and better define what affordable housing means in this definition? Is the residential portion of the development going to include low-income housing? What is "mixed-income" housing? We don't want low income here.

A: The City of Dallas encourages mixed-income housing with new residential development, as a method for increasing the City's housing stock needs. The property owner has proposed that 5% of the residential units (~ 9 units) would be reserved for those earning 81% - 100% of the Area Median Family Income. For 2023, this means that a single person would be earning an annual salary of approximately $60,000 - $74,000, or a couple earning an annual salary of approximately $68,000 - $84,000 (please note that these salary ranges increase with the number of people in a household).

Q: Why can they not be owned units and not rented?

A: This is a financial consideration that the developer has made. Moreover, the City cannot regulate whether this type of residential use is for-rent or for-sale.

Q: What current retail will be displaced with development? Salata, Office Max, Hollywood Nails, Wang's Chinese? What will happen to the retail space on the south side of Luther Lane- Hop Doddy to Ballet Studio? All development south of Target/CVS? Anything North to NW Hwy on mom-and-pop block?

A: The retail on the south side of Westchester Drive to Luther Lane will be impacted (Office Depot, Yolk, Hollywood Nails, Salata, AT Bistro, Roti, and Wang's), though the developer has robust relocation options in-place for tenants that wish to remain in Preston Center.

The south side of Luther Lane is owned by a different property owner and not by Ramrock. The present development does not include the mom-and-pop block.

Q: Can you tell us about Ramrock, who are the key principles? What is the intended post-construction plan, do you intend to keep the property or flip it to another investor?

A: Ramrock Real Estate is a local, privately-owned real estate investment firm, founded in 2017, with over $2 billion in Assets Under Management. The founder and key principal is Robert Dozier. Ramrock's most recent project is Weir's Plaza.

Ramrock Real Estate is a long-term real estate owner and intends on keeping the property in its portfolio.

Q: There was mention of public financing available for the project, what will public funds finance of the project?

A: There will be no public funding to finance this project.

Q: Where are the entrances and exits to the parking garage on this project?

A: The main entrance and exit to the parking garage will be on Luther Lane. There will also be a service entrance on Westchester Drive, which will allow for all loading to occur internal to the development, with a service exit on Douglas Avenue.

Q: How would underground parking accommodate all parking needed? 3 levels aren't adequate currently.

A: There will be a total of 4-5 levels of parking, of which 2-3 levels will be below-grade parking for the office use and 2 levels of above grade parking for the residential use. Any above-grade parking will be screened by retail uses or architectural features that complement the building's architecture. There will also be valet at the ground level to service the restaurants and retail.

Q: Where are your workmen going to park during construction?

A: Construction crews will utilize remote parking during demolition and workers will be shuttled to the site. Once demolition has concluded and the garage facilities have been constructed, the construction crews will park on-site.

Q: On parking for the retail, will they be parking on the residential streets? What roads will be affected? 

A: Parking for retail uses will utilize surface parking in front of the property on Westchester Drive (approximately 38 spaces), the center garage, and valet. The property owner does not anticipate any permanent road closures as part of this development.

Q: Would the developer be willing to agree to pay the fee-in-lieu for "affordable" or "mixed-income" units?

A: The property owner would like to reserve its ability to pay the fee in lieu of having on-site units but may also elect to have on-site units.

Q: Does the project comply with the Northwest Highway Area Plan?

A: Yes, the proposed development complies with the Northwest Highway Area Plan in many areas, including but not limited to:

·         Maintenance of the residential proximity slope;

·         New high-rise residential and mixed-use development abutting the center parking garage;

·         Enhanced and activated sidewalks and street-facing landscaping that are pedestrian friendly;

·         Ground floor, street-activating uses (retail, restaurant, personal service);

·         Enhancements to the neighborhood by improving existing office and retail/restaurant uses on the ground floor

·         Underground parking; and

·         Dedicated loading/service areas.

Q: Why has the Northwest Highway/Preston Center Area Plan, which is now adopted city policy since 2017, not guided this proposal?

A: The Northwest Highway Area Plan was the #1 guiding factor for this proposed development and the project complies with the Plan.

Q: What zoning is being requested?

A: A new PD Subdistrict within PD 314: Tract III, Subarea A.

Q: What is the plan for security? Currently, there is zero security to the west of the parking garage.

A: There will be 24-hour security as part of the proposed development?

Q: How safe can the parking garage be?

A: There will be 24-hour on-site security as part of the proposed development. Also, the center garage is currently undergoing safety improvements.

Q: Anticipated finish date/timeframe? What is the timeframe from demolition to fruition of the project?

A: Construction is anticipated to begin by Q4 2025. The anticipated construction period is approximately 24 months.

Q: Will this be LEED certified?

A: Yes, the proposed development will be LEED certified.

Q: If you give the property owners what they want (zoning change) without solving the garage, why would they ever compromise with the city?

A: The proposed project will be self-contained and self-parked which will inherently decrease the usage of the garage an encourage the parties to compromise with the City.  In addition, the significant investment will encourage redevelopment of the garage and surrounding properties.

Q: Is it true that the walkability and underground retail parking will take pressure off the garage?

A: The intent of having the office and multifamily housing parking be self-contained is to reduce the need for the public garage parking. Adding more multifamily housing density, the goal is to have foot traffic to support the ground floor retail and restaurants. The developer has also agreed to allow access to the office parking garage, which will have more than the required number of spaces, after 5pm and on weekends. 

Q: Why was the Shelton not included in the notification process - that building is directly impacted by the traffic?

A: The Shelton is not in the required notification zone, however a meeting was held with residents at The Shelton.

Q: What can be done about traffic since it's already impossible to exit The Shelton at rush hour? This building will exacerbate the issue.

A: There are several proposals being evaluated by the City of Dallas, TXDOT, North Texas Tollway Authority, and the North Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) such as the Texas U-Turn, and a southbound exit being added at

Walnut Hill along the Dallas North Tollway that will take pressure off the Northwest Highway-Tollway intersection. Douglas Avenue will also be redesigned with regard to turn lanes, traffic signals, upgraded crosswalks, etc.

Q: Why was there only one notification sign posted on a sleepy side street on a vacant empty office building when the City of Dallas' ordinance clearly states that signs must be posted at a prominent location?

A: There were at least three signs posted around Preston Center by the developer. It is very common for signs to blow away, to become damaged, and therefore have to be replaced. 

Q: Why were neighbors not informed by our city council member of the March 21 zoning meeting until 3 days prior?

A: All city meetings are required to be posted within a legally mandated timeframe, which this Plan Commission meeting fulfilled. Additional notification was provided by the City Council member in order to reach a wider audience.

Q: Why then when on March 21 community meeting was decided upon when there was no individual notification and only after multiple emails to our council member was the response sent to neighborhood association presidents, a list which I requested still has not been received?

A: The date of the public meeting on the Ramrock Preston Center project was announced on March 21, almost three weeks in advance of the meeting so all who were interested could hold the date on their calendar and notify neighbors while the meeting location and other arrangements were made. When the location (Christ the King Parish Center) was secured, a flyer was created. Neighborhood Association leadership is a commonly used distribution method since they can advise large groups of residents through their e-blasts. The meeting flyer was also posted for all of the Area Plan Zones represented on NextDoor and in the D13 e-blast.

Q: I was told by PHSNA President that she received notice the same day I did, which was one week prior to the community meeting.

A: The meeting was announced 20 days in advance, allowing residents to save the date on their calendars. The meeting had over 70 in attendance.

Q: Have you as a council representative talked to UP city manager or neighbors? Has the Dallas road study plan been communicated with University Park? Has UP been consulted in this plan?

A: The City Councilmember has met with the City Manager, Mayor and City Attorney of University Park to be briefed on the Ramrock project, Douglas Avenue design project as well as other initiatives that affect the two municipalities.

Q: Why was HPISD not notified about rezoning since it will be directly affected? Are you not answering questions about school districts? HP High/middle School are already maxed out in my opinion, are they aware of the increased expectation? What impact will the MF have on Highland Park ISD?

A: The City Councilmember has met with the City Manager, Mayor and City Attorney of University Park to be briefed on the Ramrock project, Douglas Avenue design project as well as other initiatives that affect the two municipalities.