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Head for the HighlandsNew Lake Highlands Station spans the
community's heritage and future
Lake Highlands Town Center introduces upscale retail and residential development with transit accessibility.
What was an imaginary point on DART's planning map becomes a reality with the new Lake Highlands Station opening December 6 on the Blue Line, at the northwest corner of Walnut Hill Lane and White Rock Trail.
Initially approved in 1995 as part of the expansion toward Garland, the station was deferred until new development warranted its construction. So in 2006, in expectation of an expansive mixed-use town center complex, the DART Board gave its blessing to move ahead with the project.
Taking a New Approach
The $10 million Lake Highlands Station is DART's first infill station built on an active rail line, providing unique challenges and opportunities to rethink construction methods.
Faced with the charge of not disrupting service along the Blue Line, construction crews utilized the evening hours when trains pass by less frequently, occasionally even closing rail service down to a single track.
"The approach we took to building the Lake Highlands Station on an existing rail line can definitely be transferred to any other deferred stations we may build," says DART Project Manager Reza Shirmanesh.
Center of Attention
Adjacent to station will be the Lake Highlands Town Center, an ambitious, 70-acre, mixed-use, transit-oriented development currently under construction. As planned, the center will allow residents to do most, if not all, of their shopping in the neighborhood.
"This project breathes new life into the Lake Highlands community, taking transit-oriented development to a new level, offering what will be the convenience of transportation, shopping, public parks and a broad range of housing options in one premier destination," says District 10 Dallas City Councilmember Jerry Allen, who was instrumental in securing funding for the station during his tenure as a DART board member.
According to Stephanie Colovas, senior managing director at Prescott Realty, infrastructure work throughout the 70-acre site will be complete by year's end, including site grading, utilities, retaining walls, street/sidewalk construction, lighting and landscaping. Prescott will also finish a new bridge north of Walnut Hill and a 20-acre park with a lake, amphitheatre, water features and a hike and bike trail connecting to Lake Highlands Station. The hike and bike trail will eventually connect south to White Rock Trail.
"Phase I of vertical construction is anticipated to start by the end of First Quarter 2011 and will include 200 luxury multi-family units and approximately 100,000 square feet of retail," says Colovas.
Nature Takes its Course
The design of the Lake Highlands Station reflects the natural charm of the area, which straddles the banks of White Rock Creek. The intent, according to station artist Jennifer Sereno, is to segue from the ultra-modern environs of Lake Highlands Town Center to the wellestablished, tree-lined neighborhoods to the east.
Accordingly, there is a heavy emphasis on landscaping, including colorful seasonal perennials and plenty of local stone. The modular aspect of the station construction shaped the art and design, as well.
In a nod to the Lake Highlands High School mascot, a series of "wildcat" paw prints appear in the concrete platform.
Sidewalks, trails and streets in the Lake Highlands Town Center are planned to provide linkages to and from the station. Among those, a long walkway twists and turns from the development up to the platform, making a subtle reference to the meandering creek nearby.
Station construction took place without disrupting Blue Line service.
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