Do you remember the “friendly whale” apartment project now leasing at Aura on Lamar, built atop a uniquely curved (downright whale-shaped) tract of land at the corner of West Koenig Lane and North Lamar Boulevard? The development was made possible by the sale of the property to the developer from the Texas Department of Transportation, a state agency with claims to many oddly-shaped plots of land on the sides of roads around here — and it’s thanks to another strip of vacated TxDOT right-of-way that we’re getting our next funkily-shaped project at the corner of South Lamar and West Ben White Boulevards, an approximately 320-unit five-story apartment building planned atop a 3.8-acre land assembly we’re calling the Chicken Wing:
The site combines a vacated 1.5-acre piece of TxDOT land, comprising the pointy tip of the wing at the north, with the adjacent 2.3-acre tract that’s been the home of Strait Music’s flagship location since 2001 representing the drumette — though another northern location’s still standing, it appears this store isn’t long for this world if the apartments planned here move forward, with the project’s site plan still in review with the city at the moment.
The as-yet-unnamed project appears to involve local real estate firm CSW Development, along with the Fort Worth-based Vaquero Ventures, the latter of which now owns the vacated TxDOT tract at 4215 South Lamar Boulevard. However, Strait Music’s current owner Robert Strait is also connected with the development to some degree, represented along with Vaquero by local land use attorneys at Drenner Group on a successful zoning case earlier this year that granted a commercial vertical mixed-use designation to both tracts. Along with apartments, according to the latest site plan filings the project contains approximately 8,000 square feet of “live-work” office space on the ground floor — but no retail appears in these latest plans.
As you can see above, the renderings from CSW’s site are sort of impressively vague, but the building looks nice enough — what’s really interesting to us here is the reclamation of a difficult piece of land, especially with the fascinating plan to redevelop the Brodie Oaks shopping center just across South Lamar Boulevard into something far denser still presumably moving forward. Despite the current big-box retail character of the general area, such a transformative project across the street could render sites like these unrecognizable in the near future — and even if it means living next to a highway, we’ll take all the chicken wings you’ve got.