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ARLINGTON, TX-Huffines Communities Inc. has retreated on a plan to include stand-alone multifamily buildings in its 2,000-acre Viridian, a mixed-use development planned for the largest undeveloped tract in the city limits. The concession came last night at a special presentation before city council, which was poised to reject the plan because it called for 900 rental units.

Huffines’ president Robert Kembel told reporters after the meeting that “I didn’t want 30 acres to overshadow what this development should be.” Although stand-alone buildings are gone from the plan, the Dallas-based developer will put loft apartments above shops in the Viridian Town Center.

The Viridan development at full build-out is projected to add $1.5 billion to the city’s tax base. Ground could break in the summer, but there are several hurdles to clear before work can begin, including a final decision on the extension of Ballpark Way. The road extension has been adamantly opposed by Viridian’s neighbors. Council is expected to vote on the project’s zoning at its April 22 meeting.

The New Urbanism development’s design also calls for 400,000 of retail, 500,000 sf of office, hotels and restaurants, 4,100 single-family homes and live-work-play spaces, lofts and brownstones. The Trinity River Express is planning a rail stop on the property. The developer has earmarked more than 1,100 acres as protected wetlands and open spaces and incorporated a 20-mile trail system and 450 acres of lakes into its plan. Designed by renowned urban planner Calthorpe Associates of Berkeley, CA, Viridian is being touted as the only Audubon International gold-certified community in the state.

Huffines bought the 2,000-acre tract in 2007 in an off-market deal with developer Sam Ware of Lazarus Property Co. in Dallas. From the onset, the land was earmarked for mixed-use development, including a train station.

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