Development proposed to rejuvenate Oak Cliff neighborhood

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

Posted on May 14, 2010 at 12:29 AM

Updated Friday, May 14 at 1:15 AM

Lancaster Road

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DALLAS — With DART's Blue Line light rail running right past the massive VA Medical Center complex, the Lancaster Road corridor seems ripe for development.

For now, there is more old blight than new business. But Sherman Roberts is trying to change that.

His City Wide Community Development Corporation has planned a $25 million development looks more West Village than South Oak Cliff, with street level storefronts topped by 197 apartments.

Starting rents are planned for the $600-$700 range, and there will be a huge training center for the Urban League right next door.

“This will bring in new residents, we hope, and employees from the VA as well as others," Roberts said. "We think this will be a magnet to draw others into the area."

Roberts said private banks won't loan enough money to build in south side neighborhoods, so this project depends on federal loans from the Community Development Block Grant Section 108 program.

The city would guarantee the loan, using future federal funds as collateral.

Roberts’ private partner, Catalyst Development, helped plan the successful West Village project in Oak Lawn. Catalyst CEO Paris Rutherford hopes to spur similar growth.

"That's what we are trying to do is create momentum of change," he said. "Then people can see that nice development can occur in this area, just as it does in North Dallas or anywhere else."

The Dallas City Council will review the project comes before the city council next month. If it passes there, construction would start before the end of the year.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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