Three Light Dims a Notch

Another view of the Three Light project from the south. (Rendering by Arnold Imaging)

By Kevin Collison

The Three Light luxury apartment tower has been downsized slightly from its original scope from 321 apartments to 288, and from 32 stories tall to 26, according to new bid documents.

The fresh information on the Bidclerk trade publication website indicates the luxury apartment tower, which had been expected to break ground earlier this summer, also has a lower cost estimate, slipping from $150 million to $120 million.

The project was first proposed by the Cordish Co. in late 2017 and, after a contentious debate, won city approval two years ago for tax incentives.

As part of the final agreement, Cordish agreed to renovate the historic Midland Building into affordable apartments.

Cordish officials could not be reached immediately for comment about why the Three Light project is being downsized or when construction is scheduled to start.

The 507,000 square-foot project, which includes six levels of above-grade parking, had been expected to be completed in Fall 2023. The new bid documents have a late September deadline for interested firms to respond.

Three Light is proposed for the northeast corner of Main and Truman Road in the Power & Light District on a site currently used for surface parking.

The Three Light project is planned for this parking lot at Main and Truman Road. The Two Light apartments are in the background. (Image from Google Maps)

Plans call for the new tower to be linked by an eighth-floor skybridge above Walnut Street to the 296-unit Two Light apartment tower, which opened at Truman Road and Baltimore, in spring 2018.

The first Cordish high-rise apartment project, One Light, opened at 13th and Walnut in November 2015.

The apartment projects are included in the landmark  agreement reached in 2004 between Cordish and the city that covered an approximately eight-block, mostly blighted area of downtown.

It included construction of the Power & Light District which began opening in 2007. A potential ‘Four Light’ apartment tower also is contemplated on a parking lot on the west side of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Cordish has hired J.E. Dunn Construction to build Three Light.

Cordish officials have said previously the new tower is expected to seek monthly rents ranging from $1,400 for a studio up to $7,000 for a penthouse club apartment.

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  1. How does this affect the tax incentives? Since Cordish has reduced the investment from a $150 million project to $120 million. It seems that since the valuation of the improvements is lower, the eventual ad valorum tax receipts will be also, once the abatements/TIF expire. When developers get incentives for a particular project, how much should they be allowed to change the project after the fact?

    • The property tax abatement is based on the taxable value of the improvements aka the project. The property would continue to pay taxes on the original value of the land before the project, and I assume the abatement based on the increased value after the project is completed will be less.

  2. The idea that 3 Light’s original design was 32 floors is a bit misleading. That number includes unoccupied floors and the roof of the crown. If the reduced design were measured the same way it would be 29 floors. The building only lost 3 floors, totaling about 31 feet.

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