Property sales mount pressure on booming North Oak Cliff development market

When Cienda Partners made its first purchase in Oak Cliff and West Dallas in 2006, the area was still not on most developers’ radar.

But after the investor sold his 8-acre trailer park site on West Commerce Street to one of the nation’s leading apartment builders, the real estate market took notice.

“The dam broke and everyone started crossing the river,” said Barry Hancock, co-founder of Cienda Partners. “We had a good race at Oak Cliff, and we are committed to it.”

Cienda Partners has just completed its largest transaction to date in the neighborhood, after more than a decade of buying and selling real estate in Oak Cliff.

A developer known as Miami’s “condo king” has just snapped up 8 acres from Cienda Partners at the Oak Cliff end of the Jefferson Street Bridge.

The company – Related Group – plans to build more than 400 luxury apartments on the prestigious site that Cienda Partners acquired in 2015.

The builder of some of Florida’s most successful residential skyscrapers, Related Group is now scouring the country for development sites. His first purchase in Texas is at North Oak Cliff.

“Sometimes it takes someone from out of town who doesn’t have any preconceptions to see the obvious,” Hancock said. “Once word about Related got out, everyone saw the obvious.”

The purchase of Related Group has ratcheted up the pressure on what is already one of the hottest apartment building markets in the city of Dallas.

Developers are installing thousands of new rental units in the area that stretches from Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas to Interstate 35E.

Apartment builders Banyan Residential, Columbus Realty, Stonelake Capital Partners and Kairoi Residential are just a few of the major builders working on new rental communities across the river from downtown.

Local builder Mintwood Real Estate has just purchased a nearly 2-acre site from Cienda Partners near the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Jefferson. The land was part of the property acquired by Cienda Partners around the former Oak Farms dairy in North Oak Cliff.

“We invest in sites that are close to established neighborhood amenities, such as parks and retail, and employment centers,” said Katy Slade of Mintwood. “Our property is minutes from downtown Dallas, Bishop Arts and Jefferson Boulevard, three of Dallas’ premier mixed-use pedestrian neighborhoods.

“It also benefits from continued public investment in infrastructure such as the Bridge Park, Light Rail, Trinity River trails and new freeway exit.”

Mintwood is finalizing plans for approximately 200 rental units in its Colorado project.

Cienda Partners purchased the former Oak Farms dairy site in 2014 near the Jefferson Street and Colorado Bridge. (Allison Slomowitz / Special Contributor)

After the sales to Related Group and Mintwood, Cienda Partners still has approximately 22 acres in North Oak Cliff.

“The entire site is zoned pedestrian mixed-use with 20-story, high-density zoning,” Hancock said.

Cienda Partners is working with Harold Ginsburg of Southern Asset Service Corp. to market additional construction sites on its property.

Hancock said that along with apartment builders, the company is reaching out to hotel and office developers.

“We kind of have the last big, good properties on the outskirts of downtown,” he said.

Cienda Partners bought the Oak Farms Dairy in 2014 and were in no rush to develop the land, waiting for the right deal. “We’re glad we waited,” Hancock said.

Oak Farms was one of the Dallas properties that was introduced to Amazon when the major e-commerce retailer was scouting the country for potential sites for a second headquarters.

“I think over the next 18 to 24 months we will be sold off of the property,” Hancock said.

Cienda Partners has built a business around buying cutting-edge real estate outside of the mainstream. He acquired and sold real estate near the Design District, in Oak Lawn and throughout West Dallas and Oak Cliff.

“Not everyone wants to be in Uptown,” Hancock said. “We have a pretty good track record of finding sites that other people overlook.

“We will continue to search at North Oak Cliff and push further south.”

Developer Alamo Manhattan Corp. is about to launch its second apartment community in North Oak Cliff – 210 units on Zang Boulevard. The apartment and retail building sits next to a similar project completed by Alamo Manhattan in 2018.

“What we thought would happen there has happened – it’s become one of the great neighborhoods in Dallas,” said Alamo Manhattan President Matt Segrest. “We plan to innovate this summer.

“Dallas is a dynamic city, and nothing shows it better than North Oak Cliff.”

Cienda Partners developed master plans for its North Oak Cliff locations as Amazon sought...
Cienda Partners drew up master plans for its North Oak Cliff locations when Amazon was looking for a campus in 2017.(Cienda Partners)

Sallie R. Loera