Oct 7, 2022 - News

Dallas could redevelop abandoned naval air base

A rendering of the plan for redevelopment at Hensley Field

This is what Hensley Field could look like. Rendering by McCann Adams Studio for the City of Dallas

Dallas city leaders want to see a 738-acre former naval base developed into a housing community with retail facilities, parks and office buildings.

Why it matters: Hensley Field is an oft-forgotten part of southwest Dallas — bounded by Grand Prairie and a lake used as a cooling reservoir for a power plant.

  • A development there could add up to 7,000 housing units.

Driving the news: Dallas' planning commission was briefed on potential design concepts this week, and city staff have requested that developers add low-income housing to the proposal to meet new racial equity goals.

State of play: Hensley Field has been a catch-all for Dallas' big (and small) ideas for years, without a clear strategy for its use until a master plan was drafted this spring.

Flashback: The Navy used the airfield from 1949 to 1998.

Details: The master plan says the redevelopment could house as many as 12,000 people, link them to public transit and offer 185 acres of park space and 7.5 miles of trails.

  • The plan also calls for a 40-acre mixed-use development that would capture rainwater and clean and reuse wastewater.

But, but, but: Redeveloping the land to spur economic development in southern Dallas won't be possible until the Navy cleans up the land, which is contaminated with, among other things, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

  • The Navy is expected to complete a study by the end of 2023 on how it plans to remove the toxic waste.

The bottom line: The development might not actually happen, but Dallas loves a master plan — many of which get shelved for decades and pulled out occasionally for a task force to discuss.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Dallas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Dallas stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Dallas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more