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Hot 'Hoods: Trinity Groves

Retail follows rooftops, or so the saying goes. But when restaurant entrepreneur Phil Ramano partnered with Stuart Fitts, Butch McGregor and Jim Reynolds to open a restaurant incubator in West Dallas in 2012, there were no new rooftops—and the existing ones in the La Bajada neighborhood just north of the development mostly subscribed to the NIMBY way of thinking.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas

Although their mixed-use development is still in the early stages, it's already been a success.

As ULI said in a case study about Trinity Groves, "the 'intangible' success of the first phase of Trinity Groves has re-energized this area of West Dallas, eliminated decades of neglect and blight, and reduced crime in the immediate area to almost zero."

But it wasn't easy from the get-go. The men started buying up cheap land as West Dallas Investments along Singleton Avenue in 2005, long before the Trinity River Project and Santiago Calatrava erected the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge connecting the CBD to West Dallas.

At build-out, Trinity Groves will be a vibrant 100-acre development outlined by Pueblo and Toronto streets to the north, the Trinity River on the east, Bataan Street to the west and La Bajada to the south.

Phil, Stuart, Butch and Jim started with the restaurant incubator, erecting it on 10 acres. By the time Marge opened in spring 2012, Trinity Groves was on the cusp of opening industrial buildings converted into multi-functional retail space with more than a dozen restaurants, a brewery and event space.

Trinity Groves

Now Phase 2 is underway, consisting of 40 acres of mixed-use north of the railroad tracks perpendicular to the Trinity. Four acres will be for a hotel, 14 for residential and another four for green space. Retail, office and streets take up the remainder.

A Class-A multifamily complex broke ground in October 2015, and residents can move into Cypress at Trinity Groves in early January.

And while the restaurant aspect of the development has received national recognition, the potential success of the second phase will determine the future of the area as a mixed-use neighborhood. If all goes well, West Dallas Investments has another 50 acres to develop south of the tracks for Phase 3.