A hot, sweaty Friday groundbreaking seemed the perfect bookend to Dallas Midtown’s four years of sweating through politics and planning. It’s not that the city didn’t want it — heck, the renderings and plans are a wonderful and productive reimagining of what had become another tumbledown mall unable to compete in today’s retail environment. Given the news stories lately about the demise of retail, it surely won’t be the last air-conditioned ghost town to give way to today’s vision of progress.
And as we’ve all read, Dallas needs this. As developer Scott Beck pointed out in his keynote, corporate relocations to the Metroplex have largely passed over Dallas to set up shop in the burbs. Midtown hopes to reverse some of that migration. Having a quality, encompassing plan is the first step to dazzle and entice businesses to stay a little closer to the center of Dallas. And, as of this morning, demolition has begun in earnest.
Of course I wish a similar $4 billion plan was underway in the Dallas core that included an army of mixed-use residential and commercial high-rises to revitalize downtown. But the 450 acres offered by Midtown would be impossible in the center of Dallas, even though seeing three-story townhouses in prime Farmers Market continues to grind.
The resulting development will surely give Legacy West a run for its money, attracting business and residents who want to be a bit closer to the more vibrant, Applebee’s-free, urban neighborhoods Dallas has to offer.
What’s also great about this project is the trade-off that provides $70 million in TIF funding for South Dallas. It’s no $4 billion, but that money will go a long way to moving the needle in the area and shows that northern Dallas can help revitalize its neglected southern sector. After all, while Midtown will have a signature 20 acre park, south Dallas has a couple of hundred acres of parkland called Fair Park that needs to be the epicenter of its revitalization.
Current plans call for a mixed-use environment that will ultimately house tens of thousands of new residents. Those new apartments will be built and managed by A.G. Spanos. The family-run organization runs a real estate empire and owns a national football team. How much more Texan can you get? It’s like Trammel Crow and Jerry Jones got married. And Pink Wallers, stay tuned — you’ll be reading more about Spanos and its local executive vice president Dimitri Economou on Monday.
In addition to the residential components built by Spanos, some of the first structures will include commercial spaces for a 10-screen Cinépolis luxury movie theater and an as yet unnamed 400-ish room luxury hotel. Haven’t heard of Cinépolis? Me either. Originating in Mexico, they’re the fourth largest movie theater, operating 4,917 screens in 13 countries … oh, and they’ve recently become Dallasites.
The hotel is being developed by SPG, otherwise known as Starwood. While they’re not naming which stable brand the hotel will be, given the snippets of information, I’d guess either St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Tribute, or Design brand (they do have too many a lot of brands). Given that it’s a new-build and supposedly a hipper vibe, that points me more towards the Design Hotels brand, but who knows? All I can say is that if it’s a Four Points, I’ll eat my hat.
Hats off to the Becks and Dallas Midtown and the eventual air-conditioned launch parties.
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 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.