SPOTLIGHT ON COMMUNITY
Dirt Is Moving
Dirt is finally moving for a project long in the making for the City of Rowlett. The Rockwall MLS Meeting recently invited Developer Kent Donahue of Bayside Land Partners to speak at a recent meeting and he shared some exciting news.
For the benefit of the uniformed, Mr. Donahue summarized the history of the land in question – the peninsula midway across the I-30 bridge at the Dalrock exit and the adjacent land on the north side of I-30.
For many years the patch belonged to the City Dallas on paper and they utilized it as a city park. This outpost of Dallas was surrounded on all sides by other cities like Garland, Rockwall and Rowlett. Of the three cities, the land was most naturally a part of Rowlett and they felt as if the land was being seriously underutilized. Rowlett made a number of overtures to Dallas, but for a while, the voters of Dallas opted to keep their park.
In April of 2016, Rowlett was finally able to woo Dallas into giving up the land – for a nice chunk of change, of course. The local media raved about the plans Rowlett had for a mixed use development to be called Bayside, but the sizzle soon faded. The project wouldn’t be complete for a decade and the area has seen high hopes dashed before.
Nothing Sexy Since
Even for those of us who are intensely interested in the Baywater project, there hasn’t been much to see since that big announcement. The most obvious proof of Baywater has been a collection of infuriating fences all over on the peninsula. What used to be a park filled with people enjoying the weekend has become a maze of chain-link fencing. The boat dock still sees some activity and the sleepy marina continues to serve a collection of recreational skippers. No wonder the sizzle quickly died.
However, just because we couldn’t see anything happening doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot going on. An eight-acre recreational lagoon doesn’t just appear overnight. Conceptual drawings have to be approved. Architects must plan out the space and the engineers flesh out the details. Then you have to figure out how to support and maintain an attraction of such magnitude. It’s a big job.
Perhaps the least sexy thing about this year’s activity is that the developer didn’t begin his work by digging the lagoon. The heavy equipment has all been over on the north side of I-30. While you can understand the developer’s need to generate some income and bring in some population to support the south side, it’s not quite as exciting as an acre of Las Vegas Style show fountains.
As Mr. Donahue shared the plans for Bayside with local real estate agents, local utilities were being installed over at Bayside. Not very exciting for most people, but Mr. Donahue sounded pretty excited. He shared in detail how private access for police and fire had been completed. Apparently an important milestone, but not exactly something the agents in the room could use for current buyers. However, K Hovanian homes started to work as soon as the utilities were through and now more than dirt is moving. Soon those driving by the site will see homes going up. Now that’s something the agents could get excited about. Mr. Donahue had further news about the south side, but look for that on a future post.