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?