A wall of trees encase the RV park on the hill. The park overlooks Lewisville Lake east of I-35. To the west of the automotive homes, a red-rust watch tower juts out over the trees.
The historic steel observation fixture is the namesake of the Tower Bay area at the lake. The RV park along with the tower will be cleared away next year to make room for Tower Bay Lofts.
“It will kind of be the northern gateway to Lewisville, the first piece of property going south from Corinth and Denton,” said project developer Al Crozier, who has been developing real estate across the nation for 39 years.
There will be 280,000 square feet of leasable property, including 16 penthouse units. Rent will average to $1.68 per square foot.
The RV Park
The site is currently occupied by Tower Bay Mobile Home & RV Park. The residents have expressed disappointment in losing their home.
“We’re all having to go our separate ways. They broke up our family,” said Denise Taylor, one of the property managers and a former resident of 17 years. “It’s a shame but life goes on. We have to move on.”
Empty lots dot the land. Before the announcement of the new developments, there were between 55 and 60 RVs in the rental spaces here, said John Deuchler, resident of over three years. There are probably 30 RVs left today.
A now-empty concrete plot used to have picnic tables and seats and would be where the community gathered for cookouts and horseshoe. Andrea Anderson, resident of nearly four years, said they have spent holidays together there.
“Nobody was left out at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July. Nobody’s gone hungry out here, whether they had money or not,” she said.
A woman who spent approximately $8,000 on a carport left it behind when she relocated to an assisted living facility. Able–bodied residents loaded one neighbor’s patio deck into a trailer to haul away on Wednesday.
Kip Weiss, who lives with Anderson, said he and others built a deck and ramp for one neighbor who had hip surgery to help him get into his RV. Now he said they’re helping the elderly move out.
“We’ve spent at least two months on weekends, no days off during the week, helping people load up their stuff and move,” he said.
Anderson said it’s been costly for everyone to find new places to live and that most of the community is made up of veterans and senior citizens. None of the residents who spoke to The Lewisville Texan Journal and know where they’re going will be staying in Lewisville.
Deuchler, who works for the City of Lewisville, said he looked around the city and could not find a place he could afford to live. He is going to try to find an old home to rent somewhere in Little Elm, Corinth or Lake Dallas so he can be close to work until he retires in two and a half years.
Robin McLeroy, resident of five years, said she wished they would fix up the park instead of having lofts installed. She said everybody was willing to pay more to stay.
“I’ve gone broke having to move,” McLeroy said.
Weiss said most RV parks won’t allow vehicles older than 10 years old to move in. Anderson said a lot of parks are closing. Many RV parks in the area have a wait list to get in.
“We’re having to move almost an hour away,” Weiss said. “I’m going to have to change jobs because it’s a two–hour commute now to Dallas where I work, so it’s interrupting a lot of people’s lives.”
Another concern the residents have is the lack of light in the park since the security lights have been taken out a couple of months ago. McLeroy said she has dug her gun out of her trunk because she fears for her safety with strangers wandering from the marina area into the pitch-dark RV park.
Taylor said the lights went out before Sunridge Management took over and confirmed it is not the company’s doing. Sunridge Management will also be managing the new lofts, according to Crozier.
Resident Jeff Miller said he understands progress but he’s been there 15 years.
“It’s very stressful. You don’t know what’s going on, you have no idea. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Miller said. Some of his neighbors share the sentiment.
The Tower Bay Lofts will have many amenities, including balconies that enhance lake views, climate-controlled corridors, enclosed garage parking, and an outdoor television wall.
“We tried to emulate that tower concept in our architecture,” Crozier said regarding the rusted landmark that will be torn down at the northwestern corner of the park.
The sky lounge will include indoor and outdoor kitchens and space, divided by an accordion wall that can be opened weather permitting. There will be a bar inside and a grilling area outside.
“We didn’t skimp on any architectural features,” Crozier said. “It’s such a unique piece of property.”
The lounge will have a dog park with astroturf and fake hydrants. Dog grooming will be available. The exercise facility will have 23 exercise stations.
The developer will build bike racks and a connection to the DCTA hike–and–bike trail, which connects to Lewisville’s trail system. Residents will be able to bike to the Highland Village / Lewisville Lake A-Train Station or the marina.
“We felt it very important that we participated in that trail system,” Crozier said.
He said the city is excited and will enjoy the improved use of the property. Lewisville’s Economic Development Director Nika Reineke commented at the city council meeting.
“I think it’s a great project for the site, as we’ve always wanted a residential on the lakefront,” she said.
Construction will begin in late spring or early summer of 2017 and will take about two years to complete.