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Monday, April 03, 2017
All in the retail details-Ross Avenue getting revamp that’ll make it ‘a complete street’
All in the retail details
A redevelopment wave is marching up Ross Avenue.
An army of construction workers is descending on the downtown street to transform the longtime office address into a booming boulevard of shops, restaurants, hotel rooms and residences.
For decades one of Dallas’ busiest thoroughfares, Ross Avenue won’t just be about cars and office towers in a couple of years.
Projects on the way are designed to make the street on the north side of downtown into more of a walkable retail destination.
Ross Avenue was already an important traffic connector, said Kourtny Garrett, CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc.
“You think about Ross Avenue and the extent that, as it runs, you connect all the way to Old East Dallas through
the Arts District to the West End and eventually touching the Trinity River,” Garrett said at a recent groundbreaking ceremony.
“What we are seeing with these projects is they open up to the street and they pay attention to pedestrian traffic and ground-floor activation.
“That’s really changing the livability and activity we have downtown,” she said. “Ross is envisioned to be a complete street.”
The biggest development in the works along Ross is the $135 million renovation and addition to the 50-story Trammell Crow Center tower.
The 1980s skyscraper will get ground-floor retail and outdoor plaza areas where tenants and visitors can eat and lounge about.
Across the street, owner JPMorgan Asset Management is building a high-rise that will house retail space, a parking garage and a 200room hotel in the first phase. A 400-unit residential tower also is planned.
The largest addition of retail space along Ross will be in the Crow Center development.
“At full build-out, Trammell Crow Center and its adjacent mixed-use project will include 49,000 square feet of street-level retail space, which will constitute the highest concentration of retail Ross Avenue has ever seen,” said Ramsey March of Stream Realty Partners, which is overseeing the project. “Urban planners will tell you the most successful streetscapes feature retail on both sides of the street with continuous storefront and patio seating.
“Those environments are actually rare in Dallas, and we believe it is sorely needed on Ross Avenue.”
Another Ross Avenue skyscraper, the 60-story Fountain Place tower at Ross and Field Street, is under construction with a parking garage and retail space.
The project, the first major addition to the green glass 1980s tower, is being built between Fountain Place and the Fairmont Hotel.
A couple of blocks away, owners of the Ross Tower office high-rise are ripping out the ground level of the building to add retail, pedestrian areas and new street access.
“We are putting a two-lane drive court with canopy on the front to really give the building a new front door,” said Hunter Lee of building manager HPI Commercial Real Estate. “We’re doing a full-service Starbucks at the ground level with an outdoor patio.
“There will be also be a WiFi lounge at the street level,” Lee said.
All of the Ross Tower upgrades should be finished by the end of next month.
The new owners of the Chase Tower at Ross and Pearl Street are just getting started. Fortis Property Group is revamping the plaza, entry and retail in front of the 55-story tower.
The skyscraper will get a new restaurant space in the domed rotunda building on Ross.
Developer Craig Hall, who’s building the Hall Arts mixed-use project across from Chase Tower, said the street is becoming more peoplefriendly.
“In many ways, it’s the new Main Street of Dallas,” Hall said. “There are a lot of improvements that are going to be made in the next five to 10 years.”
Those projects, including one Hall is working on, should make the area less of a 9-to-5 market.
“I think it will be more residential and become more of a 24-hour city instead of a place people roll up the sidewalk at night,” he said.
Hall is working on plans for a combination hotel and condominium tower next to his KPMG Plaza office highrise on Ross.
“We have been diligently working on it,” he said. “We are hopeful we will be coming out with an announcement in the next few months.”
Longtime Dallas retail real estate broker Jack Gosnell said a critical mass of new retail is coming to Ross.
“There is great need in that area — people don’t have anyplace to walk to for lunch,” he said.
But although restaurants dominate the Ross retail offerings on the way, Gosnell said more shops are needed, too.