How Dallas's West Village Became a Model Shopping Center (in Denver, At Least)

Categories: Development
westvillage.jpg
This morning's Denver Post details the relationship between our West Village and Denver's Larimer Square, its sister shopping center -- a love affair that began 12 years ago, turns out, when Denver developers came to Dallas and hired Urban Partners' David Levine (Director of Vision and Vibe, best title ever) to help revive the "ailing historic district" near downtown. (Before he went to UP, Levine was at Hillwood, where he was responsible for the initial retail leasing at Victory Park.) Which is how both strips came to house the Samba Room, Cru Wine Bar and the since-shuttered Octane.

Denver has a long history of borrowing Dallas-born restaurants and retailers, says the piece, which ends with a look at how much space Texas devotes to shopping centers -- and a shot at Texas, courtesy Mary Beth Jenkins, president of a Denver-based retail brokerage firm.
Nearly a quarter of the 257 million square feet of retail space in the nation's 525 major shopping centers is in Texas, according to Esri, a company that tracks the leasable area of major U.S. shopping centers bigger than 225,000 square feet.

"Texas is the heart and soul of U.S. retail," Jenkins said. "It's a sport down there, and people revere their shopping centers because there's not much else to do."
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34 comments
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Well this is really great and interesting to read. No doubt Texas is the center of U.S trade.

Aceplace
Aceplace

Yes, it does seem that Denver has a very tender and exposed nerve in comparing itself to Dallas. And I wouldn't go so far as saying that it has more things to do "outside". That's too much of a generalization. I'd agree that it has mountain scenery nearby, but there's a lot more to the outdoors than mountains. Dallas' set of massive lakes is just as outdoorsy as Denver's hills. And when we look at city life, the things that only an urban area can offer, Dallas has much more to offer.

That's why the Dallas metro is 3 times the size of the Denver metro... it has more to offer.

BKing2010
BKing2010

Coloradans resent Texans and Californians because of the tourism industry, and Texans especially based on perceived differences (red state, blue state). They hate the notion that their beautiful state would be poorer without us.

The comments on the Denver Post article have a sort of knee-jerk tone of glee to them. It's painfully obvious that typical Denverites spends a lot of their time thinking about Texas.

If mountains were the be all end all of great cities, then every great city would be next to a mountain. Most of them aren't. Denver is a mountain getaway that got big thanks to modern civilization. It has an exceptional list of things to do outdoors, but the key word there is exceptional. If you compare your city's outdoor potential to Denver's, you lose. There's nothing wrong with that. Not everybody gets to live in Hawaii, either.

There are many many many places that are more important than Denver, but none of those places make Denverites feel inferior like Dallas does. I mean, at least Austin has SOMETHING going for it, but why are we less important than DALLAS?

Aceplace
Aceplace

What is especially pitiful about the Denverites' sense of pride is that it depends on the existence of nearby mountains.

Seems silly to me. The people of Denver didn't create those mountains, they had nothing to do with their existence.

By contrast, the people of DFW did create their lakes. And they have a legitimate stake in their pride of ownership.

More than that, however, the cities of Denver and Dallas were created by their people. And Dallas people did a better job, seeing as how DFW is 3 times as populous as Denver. 3 times as many people want to live in Dallas as want to live in Denver.

Aceplace
Aceplace

Would you compare Dallas to New York? Sounds absurd, doesn't it. NY metro has about 20 million people, whereas DFW has between 6 and 7. And the activity in a city is roughly proportional to its population. DFW is about one third the size of NY.

Well, trying to put Denver in the same class as Dallas is equally absurd. Metro Denver has about 2 millions which is just a fraction of the 6-7 millions in DFW.

Aceplace
Aceplace

I just looked at a Google map of the countryside around Denver. And then I saw it... where are the lakes? Doesn't Denver have any lakes?

Nope. No water sports, no jetskis, no swimming off a sand island. No lakes.

Aceplace
Aceplace

According to the TheaterMania guide, the DFW area has listings for 105 shows. The entire state of Colorado, including Denver, can come up with a big, whopping list of --- 34 --- theatrical performances.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

One final thought on this. Look, I've hiked in the Rockies. I love them. They are majestic and beautiful. Cities in Colorado have much more natural beauty and more opportunities for hiking and camping. So does Austin, where I spent the weekend.

But, here we are. We live in Dallas. There is actually quite a bit to do here for the outdoor enthusiast. Not just the KATY trail and white rock, but several local nature centers. Do I wish we had more? Absolutely. The people involved in building trails in the Trinity River Forest are doing something about that.

It just gets tiresome to hear that there's NOTHING to do here for people that are finding lots of interesting ways to spend their time, including the out of doors.

Clark
Clark

The funny part is that Larimer actually looks and feels like part of a real, historical city. West Village feels like some shit that a real estate company came up with, and it is. Cities like Dallas shit all over their history and then try to build "historical" looking buildings, whereas cities like Denver restore historical buildings. Sure, they might still house douchey businesses, but at least they try to make it look real.

Coleman
Coleman

Look, I'm just saying there IS indeed shit to do outside in Dallas...those examples were off the top of my head, and I don't even really do much outdoors. Yes, Denver is nice and all, but those nice pretty mountains? 30 minutes away from downtown. People who live in Dallas and bitch constantly about how there's nothing to do are just being lazy.

*edit* discuss is a dick about names. This is Coleman responding.

elbueno
elbueno

One word: D.O.R.B.A.

http://dorba.org/

Hear are things to do for the next 30+ weekends...unless, of course, its raining.

Jacob
Jacob

Ugh...anyone that says there is nothing to do in Dallas is virtually the laziest person on the planet. Sure it's no New York but seriously? Anybody that is bored in this town on a regular basis is either broke or lazy.

Guest
Guest

So sad for Denver, Dallas copies from Chicago and the East Coast then Denver copies us, how long does that take ?

I think the WV phenonom is far reaching and gives every RE Developer a big boner because of its success, but really how many Gap stores can a given disposable income base soak up ?

James
James

I hate when people say there's nothing to do here... Are you freaking kidding me? I can find a million things to do in this town. That's such a bulsh answer!

Justin
Justin

"things to do" is a pretty relative yardstick.

dallasShopsTooMuch
dallasShopsTooMuch

Hmmm...I don't think that "not much else to do" is really true for the entire state.For Dallas, yes.

G_David
G_David

Denver IS Dallas, with a much better view. And things to do.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Pretty tame by Colorado standards. Luckily they hate Californians more for driving up real estate prices. Too bad Dallas didn't copy Denver when it came to things like, oh, stadiums downtown. Coors Field jump-started a major resurgence of their entire city center.

Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

Doesn't Jenkins have a bike trail to chart or a mountain to climb? Call us when you crack the Top 20, Denver.

Aceplace
Aceplace

Cities in Colorado do not have any natural beauty, since a city is an artificial construct. And I haven't seen any figures for the number of camping and hiking opportunities in either place.

Mountains? Yup, their city is close to mountains. No lakes, though. Denver has nothing to do on the water.

More to the point, I don't live in the countryside, I live in a city. And I enjoy the activities created by people in a city. Since DFW has a metro population between 6 and 7 millions, whereas Denver has a metro pop of about 2 million, DFW can provide things to do that a midsized burg like Denver simply cannot support.

G_David
G_David

And what is the average daytime high temperature in Dallas versus Denver?

G_David
G_David

I'm a member. But you're right, just when the temperature gets perfect for riding, the trails seem to get flooded for the next 2 months!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Or just doesn't enjoy the very specific activities provided in Dallas. Meanwhile, many of the fat people in Dallas and environs would not enjoy the activities in Denver. Some people live here despite its lack of quality outdoor activity within reasonable driving distance. That doesn't make it wrong to point it out.

ihavequestions
ihavequestions

Dallas would like to think they copy from Chicago. It'll never happen.

G_David
G_David

Okay, I'll clarify. Denver is Dallas with things to do OUTSIDE.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

I don't hang out with anyone who likes to shop. I get so darn tired of this Dallas Stereotype. Does it define a certain group of people here? Sure.

I guess hanging out with Jeff Liles last night, talking about all the shows coming up at the Kessler, while listening to the Ramones, and having a Fireman's 4, colors my perception though.

Coleman
Coleman

if you're going to complain about temperatures, I think you're in the wrong state. of course it's warmer in texas, but it's colder in Denver longer.

Jacob
Jacob

Yes there are some things about this city that are specific to Dallas, namely the vast amount of shopping and dining options. You can't just stop there though, there are tons of things to do here that can be found in any other major city in the US.

As far as outdoor activities, yes, the weather is pretty insane, with the sporadic frigid cold winters and the boiling hot summers, it can be hard to find a lot of outdoor activities but they are there. Not near as many as Denver, sure, but it's not close to impossible to have a good time outside. White Rock Lake, the Arboretum, soon to be finished Woodall Rodgers Park, the tons of city parks, the trails and much more than that outside of Dallas proper.

Look, I'm not saying Dallas is perfect or even close to it but it's a fun city with lots to do. Also, I don't think it's wrong to point out the bad stuff, or the things that are lacking but it's just lazy to go "Meh...nothing to do here but shop and eat!"

G_David
G_David

Edited by original poster.

Coleman
Coleman

White Rock Lake, Katy Trail, state parks not 30 minutes in two directions....

G_David
G_David

I'll give you the awesomeness of White Rock Lake - I'm there 3 times a week cycling when the weather is good. But if the Katy Trail and either of the 2 state parks within 30 minutes make your top 3, you've proven my point!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

And what do you do the following weekend...?

I've lived in both. Denver wins in a first round KO.

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