[IMGCAP(1)]ADDISON, TX-UDR Inc. tomorrow will break ground on the $1-billion Vitruvian Park, a mixed-use development with 5,500 residential units and up to one million sf of retail and office space. The build-out will be phased in through 2017.

The Highlands Ranch, CO-based REIT is beginning with 667 apartments, a 12-acre park, 36,000 sf of retail and 15,000 sf to 18,000 sf of office along Brookhaven Club Drive, where 21.5 acres are being scraped of the 382-unit Green Haven Apartments along with part of a 24-acre tract of the 360-unit Addison at Brookhaven at 4010 Brookhaven Club Dr. UDR has invested two years into amassing the 100-acre tract, containing nine multifamily complexes, and planning the project with Addison officials. It is the developer’s largest project in its 30-year history and the city’s largest sustainable green development.

Mark Culwell Jr., senior vice president of development for UDR Inc., says the second phase to the six-stage project is slated to start in 2009. Memphis-based Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc.’ Dallas team is designing a 500-unit expansion with about 40,000 sf of retail and an as-yet undetermined amount of office. Phase one was designed by WDG Architecture Inc. of Dallas. The general contractor is Andes Construction Co., also from Dallas.

[IMGCAP(2)]“We intend to build a variety of product that will appeal to several price points. We aren’t trying to recreate Uptown,” Culwell tells GlobeSt.com. “We have a 100-acre canvas. It’s a great opportunity to effect the landscape of a first-ring suburban city.” The first phase will be ready to occupy in early 2010.

Addison Town Council approved a $39.9-million abatement for Vitruvian Park. Culwell credits city officials with embracing UDR’s vision from the project’s inception while making recommendations about the end result during weekly work sessions with the developer. “Their fingerprints are all over this final design. As we encountered some hurdles, we sat down at the table. There really were no dark moments here,” he stresses. “I’m not sure if anywhere else in the country that we’ve enjoyed this kind of collaborative spirit.”

UDR’s collaboration hasn’t gone unrecognized by the city either. “We deeply appreciate UDR working with our town to give us the opportunity to have our visions come to fruition of a greener Addison with a sustainable, world-class community,” says Addison Mayor Joe Chow, who will be on hand for the groundbreaking as will a bevy of local officials. “UDR is helping us to create a community that will not only be the envy of this region, but of every city in America.”

Vitruvian Park is named after Rome’s renowned architect, Vitruvius. The project will include three parks with trails, amphitheater and athletic fields, surrounded by lush landscaping, bridges and water features in a pedestrian-friendly design. Kevin Sloan Studios of Dallas is the landscape architect.

The buildings will be a hybrid of Energy Star and LEED standards, with UDR committed to recycling as much of the demolished materials as possible. The rebuilding will include recyclable materials.

Vitruvian Park will replace 2,499 apartments along Brookhaven Club Drive and Spring Valley Road near Brookhaven College. Due to the project’s scope and construction schedule, Culwell says UDR will continue to operate some complexes during the phased-in work for the new mid-rise residential buildings, which could include for-sale units and senior housing as the development takes shape.

UDR’s plan is flexible although the dirt is entitled for 500,000 sf of retail and 500,000 sf of office space. “We’re not totally prepared to commit to any numbers. We’re going to respond to the market,” Culwell says. “It’s flexible in uses and it allows us to be opportunistic.”

With the groundbreaking at hand and the heavy lifting of planning now done, Culwell says UDR is poised “to embark” on courting institutional circles for a partner. “We’re going to see the interest that’s there,” he says, “and we think it will attract institutional-quality interest.”

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