Living development

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Employees of Links Construction break ground on an apartment complex being built near Unicorn Lake on Wednesday in Denton.
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Unicorn Lake continues growth patterns with the addition of a new apartment complex

A new high-end apartment complex, Urban Square, may help boost the traffic and business in the Unicorn Lake development as the south Denton area continues to grow.

The project by The Martino Group and Links Construction aims to bring young professionals into the area and help existing business, said Lee Ramsey, co-owner of The Martino Group and Links Construction.

“Once you get home, everything you need is right there, and we just felt that that was the component that Unicorn Lake was missing — housing,” Ramsey said. “I think once you put that synergy in that area, I think it will really give the meat of what that area needed.”

The addition to the 134-acre mixed-use development will help Unicorn Lake continue to grow, said Erica Sullivan, an economic development analyst for the city. In fact, two new restaurants are expected to open in the development in coming months, a BJ’s Brewhouse and a Rising Sun Café.

“I definitely see it developing,” Sullivan said. “It’s not necessarily developing according to the plans because of the economic downturn, but it’s making it,” she said. “Its location is ideal, and [with] all the medical facilities nearby, it gives the staff more possible housing options.”

Construction on the apartment project began last month, and the framing work is scheduled to begin soon. Builders are working on phase one of the project — one building with 121 units. As soon as that building is completed, construction on the second phase, with 84 units, will begin, he said.

The complex is similar to ones you find in Dallas, with wood floors, granite countertops, high-end appliances and washers and dryers already installed, said Brandon Martino, the other co-owner of the companies.

There are one-, two- and three-bedroom units available, ranging from 650 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Rent will run from $850 to $1,700 a month depending on the size of the unit.

This type of development is in demand in Denton, Ramsey said. The same groups own the apartments at 311 Hickory St., which have a similar feel, and said there is a waiting list to get in the space.

“Our goal is not necessarily to have another student housing project, but to have something for young professionals — that’s the target market we’re going after,” he said.

The building will also have interior corridors that automatically lock, adding an extra level of security, and a gym and pool area for residents.

The two new restaurants are expected to open in the coming months.

David Carles, a property owner who formerly operated Café Du Luxe in the space, said he recently leased out the property to a father and son who plan to open Rising Sun Café in the space.

Currently, the building is undergoing renovations and is expected to open in about three months, Carles said.

Ramsey and Sullivan said there is also a BJ’s Brewhouse restaurant being built in the development, though representatives from the company were not available to confirm the project. The company is still in the permitting process, Sullivan said, and fencing is out around the site.

This is expected to bring more traffic to the area, as did the opening of Chuy’s restaurant in August 2011, Sullivan said.

The development has seen restaurant turnover, however, with a handful of businesses, including Café De Luxe and Café China, having to close their doors when business and traffic to the development was lower than expected.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.

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