Apartments To Use Nature To Advantage

As seen in Tyler Courier-Times-Telegraph, Sunday, March 21, 2004 – Creek Crossing article

Kennis Ketchum cushioned her comments carefully. “I personally believe it’s going to be the nicest thing in Tyler by a step or two, but I don’t want to insult any of our friendly competitors,” she said, referring to The Bridges on Kinsey apartment community, on which ground was officially broken last week.

Ms. Ketchum, owner of Portfolio Development of Dallas, established Kinsey Bridges as the development entity for the apartments.

Malone Mortgage of Dallas supplied financing for the multi-million complex. Ms. Ketchum declined to give an exact project valuation, but said, “you can rest assured it is not being done inexpensively. It’s a true luxury complex in every sense of the word.”

The 14-acre gated community will be accessed from Kinsey Drive. It will be located west of Kinsey and south of Loop 323. Its 232 units will range in size from a 680-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to a 1,302-square-foot, three-bedroom unit.

All floor plans have garden oval tubs, washer-dryer connections, crown molding in the living areas, ceiling fans and patios or balconies with extra storage. Some have island kitchens and built-in computer desks and built-in bookshelves.

Ms. Ketchum said the complex will have garages, carports and extra storage units for rent. The complex will include a swimming pool with a fountain, a business center and a fitness center.

The clubhouse is scheduled to open in about eight months, and units will begin to become available about every two weeks thereafter.

“It will take 14 or 15 months to complete the project,” Ms. Ketchum said. Rental rates have not been set.

The complex obtained its name from two water crossings that will be built over a small creek that runs through the development.

“It’s a small waterway, but it’s very scenic, and so we wanted to use it, and we’re going to build these very beautiful stone bridges that will be a feature of the complex,” Ms. Ketchum said.

The complex will also have a large picnic court among the trees, she said. Great pains were taken to make the façade compatible with other buildings in the area.

“We had a design that everybody loved, and it was kind of a white Austin stone,” Ms. Ketchum said. “But we came out here and said, “This is not a white Austin stone area. This is more earth tone.”

Ms. Ketchum and Andy Bergfeld, broker with Burns & Noble Commercial Real Estate Services, said the idea was not to mow down trees and clear a spot for apartments, but to keep as much nature in the complex as possible.

“We are leaving a whole greenbelt area through the creek and we’re not disturbing it,” Ms. Ketchum said. “There are the two crossing areas, but that doesn’t mean they will disturb the flow of water underneath.”

Ms. Ketchum, whose development company has a complex in Dallas, two in Forth Worth, two in Waxahachie and one in Temple, said she chose the Tyler site with Bergfeld’s help.

“I came to town and I really believed that Tyler was a very good market,” Ms. Ketchum said. “We came to the community and we looked at how thriving and upscale it was. It’s a very dynamic area. We felt like it was very, very beautiful and had a high quality of life.”

She and Bergfeld said the idea for the apartments was born a year or more ago. “We had to go through quite a few rezoning (requests) on a few tracts, and then once we realized how things were going to lay out, the way the greenbelts were going to go and the easements, we had to add some more land, and I had to get that under contract,” Bergfeld said. “It was a good process, it worked out.”

The complex will extend west to probably 100 feet of the back of the Brookshire’s Distribution Center, Ms. Ketchum said. “You can’t see the (distribution center) because there’s a huge tree area between us and Brookshire’s,” she said.

In the past several years, some rent-restricted multi-family properties have been built in Tyler, but this is not the case with The Bridges On Kinsey. “It is not a rent-restricted property; it’s a market rate property 100 percent,” Ms. Ketchum said.