By John Wright | News Editor

Acquisition of acreage across Cedar Springs is first step in expanding luxury, gay-oriented complex

A NEW BEGINNING | Luke Crosland, chairman and CEO of the Crosland Group, said he hopes to have the 220-unit ilume TOO complex completed within the next two years. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

The developer of ilume plans an expansion of the posh, gay-oriented complex on 4 acres across Cedar Springs Road.

The Crosland Group, which recently completed the five-story, 340-unit ilume, announced this week that it has acquired the property that was once the site of the Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs apartment complexes.

The previous owner of the property, the Lane Co., demolished the complexes last year after they sat vacant for more than 18 months. The Lane Co. was unable to secure financing for a development it planned, and the property went into foreclosure.

Luke Crosland, chairman and CEO of the Crosland Group, said he hopes to complete a 220-unit complex, called ilume TOO, at the site within the next two years.

"It’ll have similar features to ilume, but it’ll have a little different amenity package, so members at both places can go back and forth," Crosland said. "It’s all about socializing and bringing our community together. We’ve built a community here around the GLBT culture."

The Crosland Group is now seeking financing for the new development, which Crosland said is only possible due to the success of ilume, where more than 60 percent of residential units are already leased.

Three businesses have also opened on the ground floor of ilume: Beyond the Box, Dish and Red Mango. Crosland said he expects to announce retail leases next week for a sushi lounge and a Southwestern cantina.

The new complex won’t have any retail, but will include a fitness center, a dog park and a private movie theater, Crosland said. The Crosland Group is "ilume-inating" the Lane Co.’s existing plans, which had already been approved by the city.

Pricing will be comparable to ilume, where units lease for about $1,000 to $1,200 monthly.

Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, said he’ll be glad to see a return of residents to the property that was initially closed down more than two years ago.

The Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs property has been the most visible example of recession-stalled redevelopment in Oak Lawn.

"There’s no question that we’ve felt the impact of all the units not being there anymore," Whittall said. "Those people that we used to see every single day, we’ve said goodbye to so many of them, because where they lived is no longer there."

Whittall said there’s also "no question" that the addition of ilume has benefited the opposite end of the strip, where three new businesses have opened or been announced in recent months.

"After seeing what they’ve done where they are now, and what they’ve brought to the street already, the buzz and the excitement, to double that is pretty darn exciting," Whittall said. "It’s created an awareness of Cedar Springs by a lot of people who in the past have not come to Cedar Springs."

Whittall also said the Crosland Group’s decision to cater to LGBT residents has helped preserve the traditional gay neighborhood.

"It helps us a great deal when you have something as big and important as ilume saying that they’re a gay community," Whittall said.

Crolsand said the new complex will take two years to build, and he hopes to break ground in the next six months. In the meantime, he’s discussing with the Merchants Association the possibility of holding special events on the vacant property.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 16, 2010.lineage-3cms 1с битрикс