Was Oak Lawn Committee Being Catfished for an Uber Vertiport by Hillwood?

Source: Uber/Handout

Source: Uber/Handout

I read yesterday about Uber’s Elevate conference (flying taxis) and admit that while Dallas was mentioned, complete lack of interest didn’t get me to read very far.  But a CandysDirt.com reader forwarded me the story and mentioned Hillwood, so I read more.

What was announced was a plan to have electric air taxis in Dubai and Dallas by 2020. The Dallas connection is being supported by Ross Perot Jr. and his Hillwood development.  Not two weeks ago, Hillwood representatives were in front of the Oak Lawn Committee with an update on their plans for 3001 Turtle Creek (corner of Cedar Springs and Turtle Creek).  Included was what seemed to be an embarrassing afterthought of a helipad.  It was a giant eye-roll for the room.

Proposed 3001 Turtle Creek

Proposed 3001 Turtle Creek

That eye-roll has undoubtedly become an eye-pop as Hillwood was announced as Uber’s Dallas partner. Interestingly, when the Hillwood representative was asked about the timetable for 3001 Turtle Creek’s construction, the reply was, “when we get a tenant.”  Is Uber that anchor tenant? Or is Uber Elevate the carrot to get others to sign up?

I suspect the next Oak Lawn Committee meeting will be quite interesting.

Like most tech companies with cash to burn, Uber’s seemingly thought of everything in this 98-page marketing whitepaper on the subject published in October 2016. In the paper, all sorts of barriers are listed including becoming certified, reliability, air traffic control, batteries, charging and of course noise.  Oh, and developing the aircraft.

Is that glass box on the roof a waiting room?

Is that glass box on the roof a waiting room?

Uber’s goal is to partner with real estate developers who can offer roof access as well as, I assume, dedicated elevators to get passengers up to the vertipad without traipsing through an office building.  Also, depending on popularity and where their “riders” go, those buildings would have to set aside extra parking for traveler’s cars.  I can’t imagine city zoning has an equation for additional parking if there’s a taxi stand on the roof.

Fast Company is reporting that Mayor Rawlings has been briefed and is open to exploring the potential, but admits there is still much to be worked out.

So what was presented as a rich boy’s toy seems to have morphed into a possible site for an Uber heli-taxi stand 16 stories off the ground.  It would also be in a residential area that might actually see it as an asset, along with the rest of Uber’s services they call up on their smartphones today.

I can’t help but wonder if the real reason Hillwood didn’t ask for this on their own building across the creek was because it would require public access.

Rendering of one potential design

Rendering of one potential design

And here you all thought I was being showy mentioning VTOL aircraft (Vertical Take-off and Landing) in that last Oak Lawn Committee report. Turns out I’m psychic.

 

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Candysdirt.com Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com.

6 Comment

  • Don’t hold your breath…

    “No one has built a craft of the sort Uber envisions, much less one that flies three or four people quietly on batteries powering multiple propulsive rotors. Battery technology has years of advances to go in order to become smaller and lighter, two attributes critical for an efficient VTOL.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-27/why-you-won-t-be-flying-in-a-taxi-anytime-soon

    • mm

      I read that too, but I also know what happens when massive amounts of money are spent to solve a problem. And manufacturers will race for this prize because of the lucrative contracts they hope to land as a result. One writer called it the SpaceX of air taxis.

      • There are problems with “flying cars” technology can’t solve. This will, at the minimum, limit the application. If automated cars arrive first, that could free up a lot of roadway real estate and limit the need for flying cars. Why aren’t helicopters commuting people between office buildings now?

        • mm

          Helicopters are expensive, noisy and within the core of Dallas, pointless as the distances are short. Oh, and the D-bag factor. 🙂

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