Phil Romano on Plans Along Singleton: "We Want it to Be an Evolution, Not a Revolution."

Categories: Development, Dish
parkinglot2.JPG
Some of the buildings along Singleton that will become Trinity Groves, along with the trees being planted around parking lots that will be done in two weeks
Spent a few hours today with Phil Romano, Stuart Fitts and Larry "Butch" MacGregor at their Singleton Boulevard HQ at the foot of the Calatrava bridge. It's the brick building painted red -- one of three on that side of the bridge now decorated with Shepard Fairey's handiwork. When I pulled up a little after 12:30, there were a handful of folks taking photos of the new murals; when Fitts and I took a walk around a couple of hours later, there were still more tourists from the east side of the Trinity.

Ostensibly our chat was about their Trinity Groves restaurant-incubator concept; come summer they hope to begin opening eateries, one by one by one, in the brightly painted structures the trio have amassed on the west side of the Trinity. When we took our walk around Fitts could point to each building and say who was going where. But before that happens, as you can see from the photos above and below, there are trees to be planted and parking lots to be graveled; these will be the sites for several of the opening-weekend bridge-bash events scheduled one month from today.

Among those slated to move in to the sprawling development planned along Singleton: Luna's Tortillas, Mike Babb's barbecue (with a live-blues component), Sharon Van Meter's Milestone Culinary Arts Center, in addition to, oh, rooftop bars, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, fishmongers -- a little bit of everything, it would seem.

It's a complicated business model, the way they explain it: investors paired with chefs (Stephan Pyles, Kent Rathbun, Nick Badovinus, Dean Fearing ... for starters) to create sellable, spreadable concepts. Some will be temporary eateries; others, permanent. "If I were younger, I'd do this all myself," says Romano, the man behind eatZi's, Fuddruckers, Nick & Sam's, Macaroni Grill and on and on. "I'd get the investor group and put people in each space. But we're gonna get real owners, a guy who's gonna be here bustin' his ass, not some absentee owner. ... We'll have Chinese, Italian, soul food, Indian, barbecue. And what comes with that are the people who do it, a diversity in cultures."

"Food is a great resource," says Fitts. "It brings culture."

parkinglot1.JPG
We'll get into this more tomorrow; there's a lot to transcribe here, including what the trio initially considered doing with the land at the base of the bridge -- and what's yet to come. But I did want to know when the residential's coming. Because, surely ...

"It'll expand when the timing's right," says Fitts.

"We have apartment developers talking to us now," adds MacGregor, who was the first one to begin buying property on Singleton. He says: There's no rush.

"We want it to be an evolution, not a revolution," says Romano. "We want it to evolve."

parkinglot3.JPG


obey1.JPG
Trinity Groves Rendering 2.jpg
If you make this bigger you'll get a slightly better idea for how much space the first phase of Trinity Groves will take up along Singleton, which runs thorugh the middle of this rendering
My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Where's the rendering that shows it with a Subway, a nail salon, and empty storefronts 5 years later? 

Rangers100
Rangers100

What's amazing is that even in the perfect world rendering they think it really kickass to have tons and tons of strip-mall style seas of parking.

Yikes.

Rantanamo
Rantanamo

I know its the nature of this fine, fine periodical, but wow, we sound like some real bitches.  Someone tries to do something and they just get put down to high heaven.  

Ellum08
Ellum08

Well, if it hasn't been done in Austin first, or if you can't find it in downtown Ft. Worth, then it sucks. Didn't you know that already?

Rod
Rod

How long will it take for the newcomers to try to put out of business the Gifford Hill Concrete plant nearby?  Surely we can't have this near our wine and cheese crowd.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Too much parking space.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 I thought of that too .That is a tremendous amount of cars rendered though they were .

David Walker
David Walker

Meanwhile, on the east end of town, a plan is already active to obliterate an already alive cultural nexus that HAD the potential to grow, EVOLVE, and entertain the Dallasites and visitors.  That however, competes with these grand ideas and must be stopped! Power to the OC and the esteemed involved.  Dont you know it's at the expense of less well-funded yet extermely passionate indivuals?  That KNOW the power of 'Think Global, ActLlocal'? I wish the best, but the shoes are dropping fast now.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Phil, et al....

Any chance you all would consider building a few nice restaurants along I-30 in EAST Dallas? We in Buckner Terrace like to go out for more than fast food.......

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

Check out Marc Cassel's new place on Garland and Peavy in the shopping center across from Monopoly Place.  :-)

pleasedon'tshockmymonkey
pleasedon'tshockmymonkey

I don't know??? Is there anywhere over that way that needs a fancy, high dollar bridge erected? If so, maybe we can talk.

                                               $incerely,                                               Dallas Citizens Council

Larry
Larry

Dear Dallas Citizens Council, maybe there's an opportunity to flip some real estate for a tidy profit in East Dallas! All we need is a toll road, cheap land, and away we go!

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

yeah, no kidding. That's be nice.  Not to have to be driven across a bridge to nowhe - oh! wait, now there's a somewhere on the side.

pleasedon'tshockmymonkey
pleasedon'tshockmymonkey

Wake me up when we're dense enough to make all these new developments work. I guess the mantra for Dallas developments is "if you build it, they might come???"....

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

So A Giant Food court ?

"Food is a great resource," says Fitts. "It brings culture."

So after we eat then what ?

GOT MOVIES ?

claytonauger
claytonauger

I understand there was an attempt to perhaps persuade Phil to use that large warehouse space for a "green center" of companies, non-profits and academia, all mixed in together with meeting spaces and an auditorium. Too bad they couldn't find room for that somewhere, if only to provide customers for all the theoretical restaurants.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I did ask MacGregor why they didn't use local artists for the murals. He says the Dallas Contemporary, which brought in Fairey for this week's event, asked if he could decorate those buildings, among others he's painting while in town. There will be, the three men say, locally done sculptures and murals going up in the coming month, before the Calatrava officially opens.

Buzzboi
Buzzboi

but he wants local artist to use their money to rebuild his trashy interiors of his buildings and to get their friends to move down there and to get their clients to shop there but he wants to get some plagiarist to paint the walls with propaganda he has stolen from archives..Boy butch and Phil you screwed this one up..... 

Okay the Revolution
Okay the Revolution

To put some finer points on earlier comments, the partnership with the Dallas Contemporary is to be commended and encouraged. Sure, the Fairey murals are conservative measured against others, but he has a highly organized crew that executes stylistically consistent and professionally rendered images. 

These development guys can only benefit by continuing the alliance with the Dallas Contemporary. If you've ever seen any of their schemes for future sculpture and the like, you know what I'm talking about. That's not to rule out local talent, but think there's a need for a unifying vision that experienced, edgy curators can bring to the table. 

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

 We'll see...I don't have much faith in that idea, but assuming there is some local muralist work done by the official opening of the bridge in that area, then we may be headed in the right direction.  Otherwise it will be status quo for Dallas.

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

 Robert..can you ask the Deck Park overlords how they plan to enagage the local art community?  I've emailed and Facebooked them asking, but never got any response. 

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

I see how the local taggers have been decorating the new off ramp for the bridge parallel to I35.Dallas wanted to be urban....be careful what you wish for....

Yoda
Yoda

Hate to break it you Phil but local artists w/ street cred like Sour Grapes, Campagna or members of the Dallas crew Rise Above or the Infinity Crew would stand a much better chance of not getting tagged. If you're going to the trouble of rounding up the best in local chefs why not art?

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

 I understand that local guys were supposed to do murals in that area, but it didn't happen, because the director of Dallas Contemporary knew Fairey personally.  The hope is that having Fairey do work here will mean  property owners will be more receptive to our local muralists and pave the way for new works created by our own.  One hopes this comes about and it isn't just another Dallas snub of our local artists, which is a sentiment that has been expressed by many.

OBEYTHERIPOFF
OBEYTHERIPOFF

boy robert spoken like a true pocket monkey..you had a chance to wrap you hands around a good pencil and write a decent story about how local artist are getting screwed ...well I guess you would rather wrap your lips around...... the money that just might buy an ad in the future... Dallas needs writers that aren't afraid to speak out instead of writers looking for  a set of kneepads. 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

How can we ever be World Class using Local Talent ?

Bloody Hipster Runoff
Bloody Hipster Runoff

Just run to nordies and buy your obey hoodie, you'll feel different, they're so soft, must be 1000 threat count.

the paint bomber
the paint bomber

because butch and phil lied and said this was an area for local art and artist..how is an LA artist representative of Dallas ? Phil couldn't care less...

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

He had a Job he hired his friend that is the way it seems to me Nothing really sinister Cronyism yes..

Which is ironic in view of the artists  "Alleged" anti establishment  front he has made a tidy sum from over the years

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

In the rendering, there are no power lines and the streets are made of glass. I love renderings.

pleasedon'tshockmymonkey
pleasedon'tshockmymonkey

The streets are actually canals, not glass...solar powered water taxis will transport you to your next gastronomical haven....no need to buckle up, but a life vest may come in handy.

Raymond
Raymond

City Hall lives in a rendering. It's soooo "world class".

Raymond
Raymond

RW: I'd like you to contact Phil Erwin, Dallas City Hall arborist to see if he gave his blessings to planting all these trees directly under the power lines for Oncor to come along in about two years and chop up. Better yet, call Steve Houser and ask what he thinks is going on with the Dallas Tree Ordinance rewrite.This is another tree disaster in the making and it's going to be newsworthy.

Obey the Revolution
Obey the Revolution

Translation: "We don't want no trouble like in Boston with Shepard and his murals." Lordy, how much more tepid does Fairey's murals have to become for people to get the message? I guess some street artist could go down there and stencil a pink ribbon under the "OBEY" part. Or leave a bunch of pink shoes by the wall.

Remember, "R" proceeds evolution. Revolution is the path to true evolution. If you boys want the art, you have to assume some of the risk--the risk that people will think as a result of being agitated by something interesting. 

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

 This is all very good for the hood...

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

This should become the new Dallas Farmer's Market (with City of Dallas officials banned for life).

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

No, the city should make the downtown farmer's market a business enterprise zone for food producers. The infrastructure is already there. Let private money do with theirs what they want. In the end, they get a piece of ownership of anyone who is successfull in this new developement. THAT's the Vig.

Jeeze Louise
Jeeze Louise

"...rooftop bars, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, fishmongers -- a little bit of everything, it would seem."...... and the bar/restaurants that will lose their spaces in Deep Ellum or, more importantly, those that won't even be able to consider moving to Elm Street with that school going in.....

FIFY

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...