5 Things That Could Determine Uptown's Future
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The total value of Uptown is more than $5B (take that, Frisco), yet the submarket is younger than many of the Millennials that choose to live in it. As the neighborhood matures, the challenges of attracting a diverse population, meeting transportation needs and staying safe brew in the minds of real estate executives, including the panelists at Bisnow’s first-ever Future of Uptown & Turtle Creek event Tuesday.
Ditch Above-Grade Parking
If you improve the public realm, you must stop building above-grade parking garages, Great Gulf president Christopher Wein said. “The future of Uptown is below-grade parking, and hopefully less parking,” Wein said.
The joint venture between Mockingbird Venture Partners and M&M Venture that will build a 110-unit residential tower on the site of Idle Rich Pub at 2614 McKinney Ave. will have all underground parking. Stoneleigh Cos. development manager Ryan Swingruber looks to projects like that as the future.
Crescent Real Estate’s recent McKinney & Olive office tower has 2.75 parking spaces per 1k SF of office, and managing director John Zogg said they struggle to fill it. Tenants at McKinney & Olive take the trolley, Uber and walk.
The fastest-growing demographic in Uptown is newborns to 4-year-olds, Uptown Dallas Inc. president and executive director Nolan Marshall said. UDI has championed more family alternatives (from day cares to parks to more cohesive Dallas Independent School District feeder patterns), but the perception of Uptown as a young, nightlife-centered hub remains.
Neighborhoods cannot be both dynamic and transitional, Wein said. Uptown cannot be successful if it attracts college-educated Millennials but loses them to Park Cities after they marry. “If they can’t raise kids here, they’re transitioning,” Wein said.
“We as developers, both public and private, need to focus on what we’re going to do to attract families and raise kids here long term,” Wein said. Though earlier in the panel Wein said Great Gulf’s two Turtle Creek properties (on Fairmount and Turtle Creek Boulevard) will be luxury residential, aimed at empty nesters.
With homeownership at historical lows, student loan debt higher than credit card debt and people getting married later, developers must cater to Millennials, including when they will choose to have kids, Swingruber said.
Rezone For Height, But Do It Well
When Cityplace Co. built its apartment building called The Villas, it was four stories and 232 units. Cityplace sold it to Gables Residential in 1995, and Gables recently underwent rezoning to be up to 20 stories on part of the site with 750 units. That example is just the beginning of rezoning for height, Cityplace president Neal Sleeper said.
“How that gets done is going to be extremely important,” Sleeper said. Sleeper and Wein both warned against densifying a project without determining how the development would interact with the street, accommodate parking and encourage mobility.
Watch The Two-Way Conversion
High Street Residential principal Joel Behrens said there is a long way to go before the McKinney-Cole Two-Way Conversion Project that was approved by Dallas City Plan Commission in November comes to fruition. (Behrens and Neal Sleeper sit on the UDI board.) The November bond election will be a test for the $15M project. UDI and stakeholders plan to utilize a combination of resources to fund the project, Behrens said. The potential for three public spaces at the corners of the triangular-shaped conversion excites Sleeper.
Take Responsibility For Your Project's Security
Luxury developers are not leaving safety concerns to the Dallas police department alone. Stoneleigh and Harwood International have taken measures to address security within their own properties.
Harwood employs police to direct traffic and patrol between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. The district has 300 security cameras. You can create an environment that is a little bit safer — and it is not just perception, Harwood executive vice president David Roehm said.
With rents rising, there is a justification for the added expense of amenities such as a 24-hour concierge, security patrol in garages and access control, Swingruber said. As landlords like Stoneleigh make these security-related commitments, they will address safety and, in turn, increase property values and create more of a tax base for the area (taxes that could be used for something like a two-way conversion), Swingruber said.