City plans to revitalize south Irving with new development

Photo: While celebrating the official groundbreaking of a new housing development, Councilman John Danish describes the revilalization of the Heritage District. /Photo by Courtney Ouellette

Hoping to bring a new type of buyer to south Irving’s Heritage District, a single-family homes development broke ground on April 14. The 20.64-acre tract of land along Delaware Creek was previously home to multifamily apartments.

The project will be completed in phases led by K. Hovnanian Homes and Hines, a developer with a longstanding history in Irving. Hines’ developments include La Villita, the Lakes of Las Colinas and Riverside Village. Forty homes are planned in phase 1 with an estimated 60 additional homes to follow.

“This is a great day for me. It’s kind of like a walk down memory lane,” Councilman John Danish said. “Down the street, here on 6th Street, at the corner of Nursery and 6th, my dad started as a minister and he was there for 52 years. When he first came to Irving it was 1,500 people. Today we’re now at 230,000. We’re a city that’s going to produce more jobs than we ever have.”

The construction of the new homes will help support the city’s mission to breathe new life into south Irving, according to Danish.

“What’s spectacular about this development is that it’s the beginning of a revitalization of the oldest part of our city. Planners have a fancy word called gentrification. Every planner that has looked at Heritage District has always concluded that if we could get 100 more families with the buying power that comes with their pockets, you will then trigger the retail that you need in the Heritage District. This is the beginning of a momentous step,” he said.

The councilman compared the quality and amenities to that of La Villita.

“The homes are going to be built with the latest constructions,” Danish said. “They’re going to have all of the amenities and quality of the homes in a neighborhood up north called La Villita. These homes will rival [La Villita], everything they have, will be every bit as comfortable.”

The biggest difference, however, will be in price.

“The price tag up there is $450,000. For $200,000 less, you can come out your front door and walk right down to the lake. This lake is what I call the crown jewel of the Heritage District. Basically we have Centennial Lake, Millennium Fountain, which is across from the brand new library, and the Irving Veterans Memorial Park,” Danish said.

Initially, the prices for the homes were to be set starting closer to the $200,000 range. David Vanderslice, Area President for K. Hovnanian Homes, explained that the homes will still be a great value despite the higher cost.

“We started this about three years ago, and it started in the 250s though it may be a little bit higher than that though since the costs have gone up,” Vanderslice said. “We will be in the 200s for a 1,900 to 2,500 square foot product. I think the views of the Delaware creek are going to be awesome.

“Jimmy Brownlee [DFW Region President at K. Hovnanian Homes] and I really appreciate being a part of the team here with the City of Irving. We’ve worked on this for a long, long time. To see it come to this point is very exciting.

“This will be the third time that we’ve built the patio home product that we’re going to build here, and it’s been very successful in the other two communities. We’ve really seen these communities revitalized. We really look forward to doing that,” he said.

Danny Opitz, Vice President of Construction at Hines attributed the project’s successful establishment to the teamwork happening behind the scenes.

“There’s a lot of other players involved in this,” Opitz said. “A lot of it started with some of you sitting out there, who attended the meetings we had. We had public meetings that were arranged by the City of Irving. You came, you gave us your input, we listened and we tried to incorporate as many of those changes in to our plan.”

Opitz explained what residents can expect as the project breaks ground and construction begins.

“We’ve got a lot of dirt work to do here,” Opitz said. “We’re going to be taking four to seven feet of dirt out and putting it back in place and putting another three to four feet back on top of it to build the paths and everything else, and get the homes up where we need them with respect to the floodplain.

“I would anticipate that you will see the possibility of a model home coming up here towards the end of this year. By this time next year I’m hoping you’re seeing some finished homes, and the possibility of some people moving in,” he said.

About the Author

Courtney Ouellette
Courtney Ouellette is a proud army brat, sports fan and dog lover. She studied journalism and public relations with a sports concentration at Baylor University, where she graduated in December of 2014. During college she enjoyed interning with ESPN Central Texas radio and Smoaky’s Academic All-Stars scholarship foundation. Following graduation, she worked in marketing for a short time before deciding she wanted a position that would allow her to do more writing. Courtney began reporting for the Rambler in March of 2015 and was a junior editor.