Real Estate

Richardson Approves 5,100 Apartments at Sarver’s CityLine East Expansion

Richardson City Council approves 5,100 apartments at CityLine East, a 30% increase to spur retail growth.

By Doug Elli

7/11, 11:53 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Richardson City Council approved a 30% increase in apartments at Robert Sarver's CityLine East, totaling 5,100 units.
  • The development spans 62.5 acres and includes nearly half of its 230,000 square feet of retail space still vacant.
  • The new apartments are expected to be developed over the next eight years, aiming to attract more corporate tenants.

Richardson's Bold Bet on Multifamily Development

In a significant move, the Richardson City Council has approved a 30 percent increase in the number of apartments at the CityLine East development, bringing the total to 5,100 units. This decision underscores the council's belief in the adage that "retail follows roofs," anticipating that the influx of residents will spur retail growth in the fast-growing DFW suburb. The 62.5-acre development, owned by Robert Sarver's 3Edgewood LLC, is part of the larger CityLine campus developed by Dallas-based KDC. This expansion is expected to unfold over the next eight years, marking a substantial commitment to multifamily housing in the area.

The Details of the CityLine East Expansion

The Richardson City Council's unanimous decision to override its planning commission and approve the apartment increase highlights the project's importance. Despite some members' calls for more creative retail or entertainment uses, the council sided with the developers, who argued that retail is essential for maintaining the project's momentum. Currently, nearly half of the 230,000 square feet of retail space remains empty, while 2.5 million square feet of office space is leased to State Farm, and nearly 4,000 residential units are already in place. Richardson City Manager Don Magner emphasized that the plan aligns with market realities and provides a clear path forward.

Multifamily Development Trends in Texas and Beyond

The approval of the CityLine East expansion in Richardson is part of a broader trend of significant multifamily developments across the country. For instance, in South Florida, developers Pablo Castro and Laura Tauber are planning a massive 3,233-unit apartment complex under the Live Local Act, which allows for larger projects in exchange for affordable housing. This trend reflects a growing demand for multifamily housing, driven by urbanization and the need for affordable living spaces. However, developers face challenges such as high construction costs, elevated interest rates, and skyrocketing insurance premiums, which can make new projects financially prohibitive.

Implications for Richardson and the Broader Market

The Richardson City Council's decision to approve the CityLine East expansion has significant implications for the local and broader real estate markets. By increasing the number of apartments, the council aims to attract more residents, which in turn is expected to boost retail and commercial activity. This strategy aligns with broader market trends where mixed-use developments are becoming increasingly popular. However, the success of such projects depends on various factors, including market conditions, financing availability, and the ability to attract and retain tenants. The Richardson case will be closely watched as a potential model for other suburban developments.

Management Quotes

  • Don Magner, Richardson City Manager:

    "What we hear often is the next corporate tenant we recruit there wants more [assurance] around what CityLine will be and that it will be completed. One of the pros of the plan that’s before you tonight is that it creates a path forward that’s based in market reality."