OPERA IN ARTS DISTRICT?

Here is good news for Arts District fans who might have been worried that Lucy Bill-ingsley would open a cement-batching plant on her 10 acres of land at the district’s eastern end.

Mayor Jack Evans, who has been talking with Mrs. Billingsley and her father, Trammell Crow, says the city and the Crows have come a long way toward agreeing on how Billingsley’s property would be affected by the district and on how Billingsley would be involved in the overall planning process.

Billingsley’s position has been that the district – which she supports – does not need her land. She resisted efforts to have her property included in any “Arts District” zoning, noting that her holdings are several blocks from the nearest cultural facility and that she was being asked to submit to possible land-use restrictions before even knowing what they might be.

She declined to comment on the talks with the city, but a friend says he would not be surprised to see all or part of her property developed specifically to complement the district-perhaps even as a site for a still-far-in-the-fu-ture opera house.

One official involved with the discussions says something “concrete” may be announced after 30 days or so. Evans isn’t so sure about the timing and doesn’t want to discuss specifics. “I really think, though, that everyone will be happy with how it comes out,” he says.

Since the mayor was the chief architect of the deal that gave the Dallas Symphony Association its new Arts District site, we probably can take him at his word.

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