"North of Ross is the New Downtown."

Categories: Development
artstower.jpg
Craig Hall's Arts District tower, which remains nothing more than a parking garage.
Wuh-oh. Hang on. Looks like you can forget that Downtown Dallas 360 plan. Why? Well, says right here: "North of Ross is the new downtown. South of Ross is a problem." At least, that's what Billinglsey Co. President and Chief Operating Officer Michael O'Hanlon says today in a National Real Estate Investor piece about the race to build, baby, build more, more, more office space in and around the Arts District. Then again, O'Hanlon would say that: After all, Lucy Billingsley put One Arts Plaza on the market earlier this year to finance the building of Two Arts Plaza, which, if all goes according to plan, will be followed by Three Arts Plaza.

Which is but one bit of development planned for that part of town: The piece mentions that Craig Hall -- remember him? -- still plans on building his long-stalled Arts District tower ... at some point. Possibly. More than likely. Maybe.
"Right now we think the timing is pretty good to do a building. We have some advantages over other people," emphasizes Hall, referring to the parking garage, performing arts venues and the overall location. "But even with our advantages, it's still a tough market to get financing."

The general consensus among local real estate brokers is that the Billingsley and Hall buildings have the best chances of getting built in the next wave of construction, if they can achieve at least 50% pre-leasing from the downtown tenants now in the market. But waiting in the paddock are two other strong contenders.
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Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The interaction with those structures will be the Xe security contractor telling you to MOVE ALONG.

Larry
Larry

If they don't do something about the ground floor interaction, this will be the largest, contiguous *boring* arts district in the world! We've already achieved unparalleled boredom, and if these few remaining tracts of land get it wrong, then it's a cinch we'll be boring for years and years to come! I didn't realize a few years ago that we were really trying to create a suburban office park.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

That was a really informative article. The next 12-24 months should be really interesting with the number of leases expiring and the number of office towers awaiting their first pre-lease tenants (hopefully more from the suburbs than from older downtown buildings).

If Billingsley and Spire already have their financing in place, one those will be the first tower built. Hall, once again, sounds like my drunk uncle telling the same story over and over and over, although I have to admit that his tower is a little more exciting than Two Arts Plaza.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Also, it's not surprising that the "center" of downtown is moving north. The park, Perot Museum and Museum Tower are already blurring the line between downtown and Uptown.

Noah Jeppson
Noah Jeppson

Hasn't the "center" of downtown been moving north for decades? The "City Center District" is a long way from the early commercial buildings on Main Street.

G_David
G_David

I count 3 Halls and 1 Hill. The Halls win.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Indeed. I've been enjoying the Spring Cocktails of Dallas. Or at least, the slide show.

please
please

PLEASE...Address the ground floor! Do not create another drive-by monolith that pedestrians cannot connect with. You can create big buildings like this, but do not create large glass or concrete walls. This is an opportunity to fill the ground floor with small retail opporunities...look at any street in Manhattan for a reference point. We already messed up big with the hotel by creating a giant blank wall. Even West Village is a good example of something to create at the ground floor. Or the Magnolia Building. Otherwise, it will be one of 30 other buildings downtown that has no interaction with people. You can make the top as grandiose and epic as you want, but people don't interact with the tops of buildings. They interact with the bottom!

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

.......You can create big buildings like this, but do not create large glass or concrete walls........

Yes they can and the reason is Maybe as discerning individuals They don't want YOUR KIND in or around their building .

Pulling your leg a bit but.....

Fences make good neighbors but walls tend to keep undesirable people away..

Montemalone
Montemalone

Those West Village storefronts and turning empty by the day.

G_David
G_David

Had lunch at Taco Diner 2 weeks ago (don't laugh, had a gift card) and walked around the perimeter with the female. If there were dozens of empty storefronts, I didn't see them.

Blerg
Blerg

Bars and restaraunts are doing just fine in the West Village. In fact, there are quite a few bars/restaurants that already have plans to move into some of the places off CityPlace West (right across from the old driving range.) It's the local startup retail that is getting killed. One of the reasons has already been listed: the people that hang out in the west village don't really care about shopping the local retail there. They order everything they need on Amazon or go buy clothes at Northpark. Another major issue is the rent: they are outrageous. Somebody correct me if I am wrong here, but I was recently told that the rent on the Borders space was $32,000 per month. I am going to guess that the Borders probably only did about an average of $2000 in sales per day. Food, booze, day spas, and salons, and medical practices are the only businesses that have a high enough margin to support a business in that area. If you haven't noticed, most of the retail in that area are big international brands. The stores they have in the West Village mostly lose money; they are their for marketing, sort of like billboards, so that when people eat at Taco Diner and then walk by a Banana Republic, they wlll hopefully remember seeing it in the "cool West Village" and make a brand association. If they sell merchandise, even better. Another reason why downtown has trouble attracting retail: not enough foot traffic by potential store fronts, so there is very little chance to sell merchandise, and you are also not going to get much brand exposure. Most of the retail stores going out of business in the West Village are small time retail that need to make every store profitable. If you look at the stores that have shut down, its places like Gardens, Orange Cup, the numerous pet stores that have occupied the space at the corner of Cole and Blackburn and others. Borders shut down because the whole Borders corporation went bankrupt. They need to settle their obligations, and can no longer spend on stores that do not make money. It has little to do with that particular location.

Other issues are that the west village directors have strict rules on what businesses can be in the West Village. Rumor has it Social House was shut down because they were doing almost 90% of their sales in liquor, when they were supposed to be a retaurant (I think that I heard the agreement was at least 60% of their revenue had to come from food.)

The concept of the West Village and it's layout are great. It is very condusive to street level interaction. It is a model that should be emulated by the Ross ave developement. The problem is with high rents. Unlike Victory park, which is very inaccesible and difficult for pedestrians to navigate, I am guessing that once store fronts sit empty long enough, West Village rents will drop enough to lure in startup retail.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dallas doesn't really "want" to go to those places. The builders (commercial AND residential) in Frisco are just taking advantage of the low costs that government subsidy provides for them, and retailers are piling on.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Didn't say dozens, and I'm not being snarky. Polo just up and outed, And there's two more storefronts vacant along McKinney. Not to mention Borders. Another one on the interior just emptied out.I'm betting it won't be long before more close. If you want a hamburger or a taco, great. The retail there is dead. It'll end up being a restaurant and bar center. I'm all for community retail, but it seems Dallasites want to go to Northpark or Frisco to shop.

please
please

It doesn't matter...you can still put a business in them at any given point. It's better to have the option to install a business at any moment rather than to create a massive gray wall that has no potential for human interaction at all. The spaces directly next to Neiman's downtown were vacant for a decade, but now businesses are starting to fill them...same with the Bishop Arts District, Deep Ellum, et cetera.

please
please

Also reference the Mercantile. It sat vacant for 25 years. With the renovation and East addition, they allowed for small ground floor retail. It now has a coffee shop which provides more pedestrian interaction which in turns makes the surrounding area more lively. It's also increased the safety of the area because people are now in an area that was once stark and desolate. You can be as snarky as you want, but if we get it wrong at the beginning, we're stuck with the mistake for 50+ years.

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