Gawker Hip AmericaGawker asks, “What is your city’s Williamsburg? What’s its hippest—or formerly hippest—or sometimes just youngest—neighborhood, the one with the art galleries and the boutiques and the lines for brunch? (And what, for that matter, is its Bushwick, or “Next Williamsburg”?) If you don’t know off the top of your head, don’t worry. We do, thanks to the collective knowledge of Gawker readers.”

Williamsburg is a cool Brooklyn neighborhood connected to the lower East Side of Manhattan by the Williamsburg Bridge that has moved from tenements to townhomes. The ‘hood has seen tremendous growth in the last ten years, far surpassing the image bestowed upon it from a book most of us read as children,  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, about a young girl growing up in the tenements of Williamsburg. Recall the movie Serpico, starring Al Pacino? This, too, happened in Williamsburg. The area then became a hip mixture of Hispanics, gays, bikers, hippies and pot dealers — poor arty kids — until the last few years when the rich arty kids moved in.

But hey, urban gentrification happens.

So using their mapping etc. prowess, the Gawker folks asked and mapped out the next Williamsburgs in other U.S. cities. Oak Cliff is the current Williamsburg, Deep Ellum the Bushwick i.e. “poor arty kids” hood.

Oak Cliff 4 Deep Ellum 1
Deep Ellum 3 West Dallas 1
East Dallas 3
Bishop Arts 1
Denton 1
Expo Park

Oak Cliff, East Dallas, Bishop Arts, Denton and Expo Park, yes. Glad to see West Dallas in there, too! Great lines for brunch, great restaurants. But where is the Dallas Design District? I think it’s our Bushwick. It has a gritty past — I recall real estate developer Jim Lake showing me the bullets he found in the walls of buildings he bought and cleaned up.

Lake is a developer who first began investing in DD props in the 1990’s – his father helped pioneer Design District development, and Allan Knight was his first tenant. He found the bullets when he bought a dilapidated building off Irving Boulevard that had once housed young Korean girls in prostitution servitude AND their luggage.

In 2006 he told me the area was changing before our eyes. And guess what, it has. Jim Lake Companies helped rezone the district back in 2005 to allow residential use, and shortly after built Trinity Loft, which was up and almost fully leased by 2007. You can see the case study on the Lofts here:

Even the New York Times has taken notice of The Design District — see anything about Deep Ellum? 

Five years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a cocktail-craving 30-something headed to a haute bar in Dallas’s design district, a once-industrial enclave centrally situated close to the Main Street district, near downtown. But now the design district is attracting new retailers, deep-pocketed developers and plenty of shoppers, thanks to a slew of buzz-worthy restaurants, chic stores and daring art galleries opening alongside brand-new apartments and lofts.

Agree or disagree?

 

 

 

Andy Keye + Whitney Photography

Update, 5:02 p.m.: I am delighted to report that the New York Times was completely wrong!  The Alta Lofts were NOT the first residential development in the district. Jim Lake Companies helped rezone the district back in 2005 to allow residential use, and shortly after built Trinity Loft, which was up and almost fully leased by 2007 — while PegasusAblon was still wet behind the ears, 2 years before the development. You can see the case study on the Lofts here: http://www.jimlakeco.com/services/case-studies.asp. Like I said, Jim Lake rules the DD. Thought this sounded weird, but then I am in an allergy/sinus/icky something fog today.

I covered the Design District for years at D Home, and it got me into trouble. Why? Because I was buying way too much for my home: art, furniture, gorgeous objects. It’s grittiness and wide warehouses fascinate me. But when it comes to furnishing or finish-out, the Design District spoiled me, and I still go down there when I need to shop for anything for my home.

But would I go down there to LIVE?

Maybe. According to the New York Times, there are more reasons now than finding home furnishings to go into the Dallas Design District. With the influx of seriously great restaurants and bars, the 30-something crowd is going south on Oak Lawn for both cocktails and a place to call home:

Five years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a cocktail-craving 30-something headed to a haute bar in Dallas’s design district, a once-industrial enclave centrally situated close to the Main Street district, near downtown. But now the design district is attracting new retailers, deep-pocketed developers and plenty of shoppers, thanks to a slew of buzz-worthy restaurants, chic stores and daring art galleries opening alongside brand-new apartments and lofts.

The article quoted Michael Ablon, whose real estate development firm, PegasusAblon, snapped up 42 of the warehouses, showrooms and galleries in 2007. Prices were not exactly cheap then, and the bust had not yet settled on Dallas. In 2009, he opened the area’s first main residential complex, and the article says one-bedroom lofts (at Alta 1900, 1400 Hi Line is under construction) now go for up to $1,500 a month. Who’d have thunk it?

“It’s always had a great ethos,” said Ablon. “We thought, let’s keep that authenticity and supplement it, not replace it,” Mr. Ablon said.

Of course, the REAL real estate expert down there is Jim Lake, whose father saw the vision of the DD years ago. Jim built The Trinity Lofts (and has another residential project in the works, stay tuned) and owns about 900,000 to a million square feet down there. I’ve been to Meddlesome Moth (1621 Oak Lawn Avenue), what the article referred as the DD’s version of the Cheers bar in Boston. It was packed. I love Oak (1628 Oak Lawn Avenue), run by chef Jason Maddy, formerly of the Mansion on Turtle Creek. I had lunch with the gals from SMINK and we ooo’d and ahhhed over Plan B’s upscale design spin including fixtures from arched floor lamps to modern chandeliers, and a large media screen against the back wall with an oak tree rustling in the wind. And wait ’till I tell you about some cool new million dollar listings down in the DD…