Monday, November 10, 2014

Klyde Warren Park is at the center of a development boom


A project in the works on the edge of downtown Dallas will shift the focus of the central business district even farther north.
Sixty years ago the center of downtown was at the corner of Akard and Main streets in the heart of Dallas’ old financial district.
Things have been heading north since then.
Construction of the 42-story Southland Center complex on Pearl Street in 1955 moved the compass and started a migration of development and businesses away from Main Street.
By the late 1980s, Ross Avenue was the place to be.
And now with office-building activity in Uptown, the center of attention for commercial building is lining up along Woodall Rodgers Freeway.
All four of the office projects under construction in the downtown-Uptown area are north of Ross Avenue.
And a huge development in the works on the north side of Klyde Warren Park will bring more attention to the area.
Since work was finished two years ago on the deck park over Woodall Rodgers, developers have sought to take advantage of the new public amenity.
One office building overlooking the park on Harwood Street at McKinney Avenue is already under construction.
Setting a standard
But it’s the two-tower complex Trammell Crow Co. and Metropolitan Life Insurance plan to build at Pearl Street and the park that will bring the biggest shift to the neighborhood.
Crow and MetLife intend to build a 20-story office tower and an apartment tower with almost 30 floors on the one-block tract now occupied by the Chase Bank drive through.
The complex will include about 21,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space facing Klyde Warren Park.
Crow has pushed both of the proposed high-rises away from the park, with the office tower along Pearl and the apartment tower at the back of the 3.5-acre site.
The building that will be right up against the park will be low-rise so as not to totally overshadow the green space, according to plans by architect HKS Inc.
“Trammell Crow Co. is committed to integrating the project into the fabric of Klyde Warren Park,” said Crow senior managing director Scott Krikorian. “We have partnered with The Office of James Burnett, the award winning landscape architecture firm that designed Klyde Warren Park, to design the ground level pedestrian level and plaza in a manner that respects and complements the neighborhood.
As the biggest new development fronting on the park, Crow’s project seeks to take advantage of the front-row location and hopefully sets a standard for other construction that follows along the green.
More projects
Expect more major projects along Woodall Rodgers and the park.
Businessman Ross Perot Jr. has hired architect HOK to design a tower for the southeast corner of the freeway and Griffin Street, just west of the park.
Perot last year bought the almost 2-acre development site now occupied by a Bank of America drive-through.
The property at the gateway to downtown is zoned for more than 1 million square feet of construction. And Perot is expected to build a mixed-use project that would rival anything in the surrounding area.
While development sites near Klyde Warren Park are limited, the scale of what’s built on the remaining prime properties will grow even larger as land prices soar.
The park was planned as a way to glue downtown and Uptown together. Now it’s becoming the centerpiece of the combined neighborhood and a driver of new development deals.
Projects under construction or planned near the Woodall Rodgers Freeway deck park will continue the development tilt north of Dallas’ old financial district.