Saturday, February 6, 2016

Arlington Commons Groundbreaking

Yesterday at 4:00 people gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Arlington Commons.  Now the removal of apartments and the improvement of the neighborhood was one of my campaign resolutions.  I promised that I would do something about the apartment problem in and around the Collins/Lamar Overlay.  This is my answer. 

I have worked closely with Bob Kembel, the Viridian developer, to insure that this project is a success, and that a quality product would be assured.  At one point the project was in severe jeopardy, and during and Executive Session of Council, the former Mayor and I had some words that were not pleasant.  The result of that exchange resulted in a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.  Another controversy of this project dealt with the narrowing of Lamar by one lane going west.  The picture below  is one of the original pictures that was shown to the citizens at the at the Apartment Town Hall Meeting at the Convention Center.  You can plainly see that the traffic going west on Lamar is depicted as one lane.  There is a linear park and also parking in front of the complex.  This lane reduction was also depicted in the original 380 agreement that was approved by Council unanimously.  At some point in the process the Thoroughfare Plan had to be amended to coincide with the 380 agreement.  That amendment occurred about two months ago. 

We have said all along that this investment in our community would spur other investment.  The mini center across the street from the complex has been purchased and redeveloped already.  The renovation is estimated at around $1 million, and new businesses are already opening their doors.  AISD will spend $7 million in redeveloping Roquemore Elementary School, into the Jimmy and Laura Jones Fine Arts Academy.  Parkway Central’s park will get a facelift, and a linear park will run down the middle of Lamar.  It is hard to believe that the metamorphosis is here.  But when you think back to the slums that were there just a year ago and what is about to happen, you have to be excited for North Arlington.


  1. Constricting WB Lamar to one lane was NEVER in the original plans, and implying that this 'artist's rendering' should be interpreted as 'proof' of this factual fiction is a poor attempt to provide cover.

    Since when does a preliminary illustration of something which does not yet exist create a binding, actual fact?

    You appear to be drifting farther away from truth and reality with each passing day.

  2. 1. The name of the project is Arlington Commons. It is based on the concept of Boston Commons which has a linear park. This project also has a linear park as depicted in the artist's picture that was shown at the Apartment Town Hall that I held at the Convention Center. Depicted in the picture is a linear park and one lane going west on Lamar.
    2. The traffic study had to be accomplished before the thoroughfare plan could be changed. Once that study was complete, then and only then could the plan be changed from 6 lanes down to three.
    3. Another Town Hall Meeting was held by the developer at Shack Jr. High. An estimated 200 citizens attended that meeting. At the end of the meeting a vote was taken and approximately 75% of the North Arlington residents voted to go ahead and implement the plan.
    4. The next evening at the Council meeting an estimated 60 citizens that were in attendance were in support of the issue and 3 were against.
    5. I have listened to the will of the people on this subject. I am sorry that you were not on the winning side.

  3. I attended the 'Town Hall Meeting', and witnessed you emphatically stating that Lamar would be returned to equal distribution of eastbound vs. westbound lanes if 'it is proven that this plan is a mistake... the developer (Mr. Kimbel) will incur the costs of realignment. When Mr. Kimbel sells his interest in Arlington Commons, who will be responsible? I ask this question because it has been rumored that he no longer has a position in Viridian. Developers make money selling their investments. WHO will be responsible for repairing OUR public street when Kimbel is gone?

    An artist's rendering of a non-existent building or project does NOT qualify has a 'fact'.

    And a street median, by any other name, is just a median. Planting a few shrubs it in does not suddenly transform it into a 'park'.

    Again, straying from reality.

  4. This is an easy question to answer. The project has a tax abatement for the next 30 yrs.. The city is deferring a lot of taxes. If they don't comply with the 380 agreement then the city doesn't defer the taxes. Now where did you get the idea that Kembel is selling the project. Where do you come up with this type of stuff.
    In the original 380 agreement signed in 2013. The last couple of pages depict a linear park. The traffic studies were not accomplished so until that was done Kimbel could not request a change in the thoroughfare plan even if it was depicted from the beginning. You say that I'm straying from reality yet you think Kimbel is leaving and you can't see the park depicted in the original drawings. If it is drawn in the original drawings how is it not planned from the beginning.


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