Kick up a fuss if you like, but apartments are a reality (1/28/16)
By Steve Brown
It may be the first time ever that a neighborhood has protested plans to tear down a derelict big-box store.
But the folks in Addison turned out in droves this week to protest replacing a vacant Sam’s Club on Belt Line Road with a combination of apartments, townhouses, restaurants and shops.
Oh, it wasn’t the townhouses and retail that ticked off the neighbors.
But the prospect of constructing apartments on the property was more than a lot of folks in the neighborhood could bear.
Just the mention of the A-word to many homeowners is enough to send them scrambling to City Hall.
Apartments are still an urban anathema to many North Texas residents.
In Plano, citizens disgruntled over plans to add more rental units are threatening to force a recall election for city leaders.
While I understand why some homeowners bristle at the notion of renters moving into the ’hood, I can’t spare much sympathy.
As North Texas’ population balloons to almost 10 million people in the years ahead, the NIMBYs are going to get mowed down by thousands and thousands of young professionals who need a place to live.
Most of them will move into apartments.
The Dallas-Fort Worth population is growing by about 100,000 people a year — roughly half of them migrants coming for jobs. The bulk of those newcomers are 20-somethings who are prime renters.
That’s what is driving the apartment building boom in North Texas. Almost 40,000 apartments are being built in D-FW.
We need every one of them to house the thousands of people moving here to work for the Toyotas, Liberty Mutuals and State Farms that are hiring like crazy.
The share of Americans under age 35 who own a home has dropped to 35 percent, its lowest level in decades. Total homeownership in North Texas has declined in recent years to about 56 percent.
That means more than 40 percent of the people who live in D-FW are renters.
Don’t expect a lot of them to run out and buy houses anytime soon.
Average new-home prices in the area have zoomed to over $300,000 — beyond the means of many young workers.
Even if they could find a house they could afford, it’s probably not where they want to live but out in the ’burbs away from popular restaurants, retail and, most important, jobs.
Of course one of the big arguments against adding apartments is that with all those renters come more cars and traffic congestion.
Sure, I get that. But making people drive miles farther to find apartments will just add to congestion.
New employers relocating to North Texas are practically demanding that apartment builders construct units near job centers so their workers won’t spend all day stuck in their cars trying to get to the office.
D-FW still has one of the hottest economies in the country.
That means more people, more cars, more hassles along with increased jobs and incomes.
It also means more apartments — a lot more. http://www.dallasnews.com/business/columnists/steve-brown/20160128-kick-up-a-fuss-if-you-like-but-apartments-are-a-reality.ece