Dallas Midtown Developer Says Valley View Area Will Have a Subway. Someday.

Categories: Development

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Dallas Midtown, the mixed-use wonderland that will replace the decrepit Valley View Center, will have everything a modern urbanist could want. If everything lives up to developer Scott Beck's vision, there will be several thousand apartments and condos, hundreds of thousands of feet of office and retail space, artists to give it a SoHo vibe, easy pedestrian and bike access, and multiple grocery stores all centered on a 25-acre park with Klyde Warren-style programming.

There's just one thing missing: decent access to public transportation. Just in case the modern urbanist wants to go somewhere.

Beck's already thought of that. He says there are plans for a subway -- "it literally goes underneath the Valley View Mall area" -- with a stop at Dallas Midtown. The possibility of this east-west rail line was built into the LBJ Express Project, he says.

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Downtown Dallas' Tunnels: Are They Really All That Terrible?

Categories: Development

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Nowadays, Dallas' network of tunnels are pretty widely reviled as an urban planning nightmare that have sucked the life off downtown's streets. They are a "sordid story," Downtown Dallas Inc. CEO John Crawford told the City Council this morning. "Frankly, we're trying to do away with them as quickly as possible."

Philip Kingston has an alternative suggestion: Do nothing.

"It's a waste of time to even talk about, frankly," he said following his colleagues' protracted discussion on the topic this morning that ended with an agreement to have additional protracted discussions in the future.

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Dallas Farmers Market's $64 Million Overhaul Will Begin in February

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Pecan Lodge's recent defection for Deep Ellum seemed to bode ill for the planned renaissance of the Dallas Farmer's Market. Despite that, developer Brian Bergersen says things are actually looking up for the $64 million-plus redo.

Bergesen, who purchased the long-struggling market from the city six months back, told the Dallas City Council that Shed 2, the enclosed pavilion that Pecan Lodge will soon depart, is almost fully leased. Same with Shed 1, the part with the actual farmers.

Some of the farmers are new, recruited by a full-time farm coordinator hired by Bergerson's group. Some are returning after moving to the smaller markets now thriving in Coppell, at White Rock, and elsewhere.

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Bank of America Plaza, Downtown Dallas' Iconic Green Building, Is Back On

Categories: Development

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Corgan Inc.
Last night, developers officially flipped the switch on 9,000 feet of new LED lights on downtown's Bank of America Plaza they've been testing for the past few weeks. What followed was a lively--some might say gaudy--light show, a rapid-fire showcase of some of the fancy new colors (256 million of them) and patterns Dallas' tallest skyscraper is now capable of. See below for The Dallas Morning News' hard-rocking video after the jump.

Dallas skyline traditionalists can put their minds at ease, however. The familiar emerald hue will be the default color, with the more Pink Floyd-esque displays reserved for special events and holidays.

Let's hope so.

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The Opposition to New High-End Apartments in Richardson is the Primal Scream of Suburbia

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A rendering of the planned Palisades development, the stake through Canyon Creek's heart.
In Richardson, along the booming Central Expressway corridor, architecture firm Good Fulton and Farrell and developer JP Partners have teamed up on the Palisades project, a large mixed-use development they plan to put on 58 mostly vacant acres across the freeway from DART's Galatyn Park light rail station.

The folks who live in the adjacent Canyon Creek and Prairie Creek neighborhoods are, for the most part, fine with the 1.5 million square feet of office space and the 200,000 square feet set aside for restaurant and retail. They're even OK with the 65 town homes planned for the site and, to a lesser extent, the 250 condos.

Their beef is with the 750 high-end apartment units, which many are convinced will turn their pleasant neighborhoods into crime-plagued Vickery Meadow and their exemplary elementary schools -- Prairie Creek, Canyon Creek, and Aldridge -- into miniature versions of Lake Highland's Forest Meadow Junior High, "commonly known today as Forest Ghetto," as one man was keen to point out.

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At Bank of America Plaza, the Lights Are No Longer Neon or Green

The official unveiling of the new lights on Bank of America Plaza (aka that green building downtown) isn't for another two weeks. But those fortunate enough to be traversing downtown in the predawn hours Wednesday morning were treated to a brief preview.

The lights, as you see in the picture above, are no longer green, at least not permanently. The old argon tubes have been replaced with modern LEDs as part of a multimillion-dollar renovation of the tower, and the LEDs can be programmed to change color.

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Sorry, Fort Worth, But Your New "Signature" Bridge Is Pathetic

Categories: Development

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TxDOT
This afternoon in Fort Worth, a "parade of dignitaries" will mark the opening of the new West 7th Street, and good for them. It's a fully competent work of civil engineering and a pleasant enough way to get to downtown Fort Worth, if get to downtown Fort Worth you must.

It's just that the level of excitement -- and remember that we say this as a friend and neighbor -- has grown unseemly. People are dropping adjectives like "signature" and "one-of-a-kind" as if no one's ever built a bridge before.

We urge the people of Fort Worth put down their celebratory bottles of Andre, pause for a moment, and cast their gaze eastward. There on the horizon, if their eyes can penetrate 35 miles through the smog, they'll notice a majestic -- nay, heavenly -- glow. Closer inspection will reveal the source as a span that truly deserves superlatives, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

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The Planned Resurrection of Victory Park Will Begin in May

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It's easy enough to make a new development look lively and inviting in computer-generated renderings. Throw in a couple dozen people strolling along a broad, tree-lined sidewalk and dining on restaurant patios, all brightened by a warm evening glow, and voila: You have a thriving, modern commercial and residential hub.

But what happens when you build the thing only to discover that those optimistic sketches glossed over serious design flaws -- poor traffic and pedestrian circulation, a lack of appealing, accessible, and affordable retail and restaurant space, life-sucking expanses of concrete all around?

Victory Park, that's what.

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Reunion Tower's Observation Deck Reopens Tomorrow

Categories: Development, News

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Reunion Tower
Say what you will about the name, with its puzzlingly random capitalization and apparent allusion to mathematical theory. The GeO-Deck, as Reunion Tower's observation deck is now called, is a rite of passage for anyone who spends any serious amount of time in Dallas -- at least it was until six years ago, when it shut down for renovations.

The redo, stalled by the economic downturn, is finally complete. GeO-Deck reopens to the public tomorrow, offering views of downtown typically reserved for corner-office executives and drones.

See also: Six Years Later, Reunion Tower Observation Deck to Reopen With a New Look

The trip isn't exactly cheap. It costs $16 dollars for adults, half that much for kids. But can you really put a price tag on pretending to crush unsuspecting pedestrians between your fingers like tiny scurrying insects?

Probably, and it would probably be considerably less than what they're charging. Still, it's a helluva view.

Getting Fat Texans to Bike Is a Real Challenge, says NYT/Texas Tribune Report

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richard wezensky
Fat Texas residents are slowly realizing that they should bike more, according to a Texas Tribune article co-published in The New York Times this weekend. Sourcing mostly "city officials," the report comes to the conclusion that fat Texans are biking more thanks to the efforts of -- you guessed it -- city officials. We might be dumb, but thankfully, there are intelligent bureaucrats willing to help. Apparently, our local bureaucrats want us to ride bikes because we kept embarrassing them with how fat we were getting: "The unwanted publicity of landing high on various 'fattest cities' lists has heightened interest in doing more to encourage bicycle use, according to some city officials."

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