Archive for the ‘Victory’ Category

DART’s Green Line Signals a New Era of Possibilities

September 13, 2009
While full service will start on Monday, Saturday was the first day that the public could ride the DART Green Line train.  There are four brand new stations, and each one had some sort of party around the station.
Despite the rain, the trains were packed! 
I started at the Baylor stop in Deep Ellum and ran into a few friends at the It’s a Grind coffee shop.  They had a great band, free cookies from Kessler Cookie Company and other fun stuff.  I then hopped on the train and rode to the south end of the line, which is the MLK station.
The Martin Luther King Jr. station is a jewel in itself. There is a lot of history that is detailed in the various art features.  Pictures from famed Dallas photographer R.C. Hickman are featured at the train stop.

The Fair Park station stops right in from of the gate on the Expo Park side.

Then the train moves to Baylor station (in Deep Ellum) where lucky residents of the Ambrose live right at the train stop and onto the Deep Ellum station on Good Latimer where we got a close up of The Traveling Man statue.

The current line will run from the MLK Transit Center to Victory Park, while connecting to the Red and Blue lines at all of the current downtown stops. The rest of the green line stations will be open in December 2010, with the line stretching from Pleasant Grove to Carrollton.
As some have said, access to jobs is an important byproduct of the green line. In a little more than a year people that live in Pleasant Grove, Parkdale, and most of South Dallas will have direct access to jobs from Love Field and to Carrollton.  While there may be bus service to some of these locations, it’s intermittent and it’s a totally different proposition to ride on the train. In terms of time and ease of travel this rail line will put a lot of jobs in reach.
In addition, as events are hosted in Fair Park and downtown the train will ease some of the car traffic that is generated when people are traveling to these destinations.  As I rode the train you could feel the excitement and there was a lot of conversation amongst the passengers about the benefits of having the green line. Once the State Fair hits, it will be a great way to showcase the progress of our city. 
I heard that Victory Station will have a party this coming Saturday. Bring it on!
Video of my trip is below.

Background music: “Car of Love” by Main Ingredient 

Victory Park: They Finally Caught Up

January 28, 2009

I have seen no less than three articles in the last month killing Victory Park. Funny thing, I was writing the same thing two years ago; so were others. Gary Cohen of PegasusNews and I both wrote pieces on this exact subject in March 2007 (although I wasn’t as prescient as Gary to correctly predict the demise of some of the tenants). Cary Darling of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram had a similar piece in April of that year. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the piece I wrote:

Victory would be smarter to put some reasonably priced choices in that area. Then what you would have (along with the occasional high-rollers) is a consistent client base that would bring a family down to Victory, and then the husband and wife could splurge with a night on the town sans kiddos from time to time. That’s a client base.

I could be wrong, and I bet this area continues to flourish in some capacity (read: for someone other than the developers). But it may ensure a quality earnings stream by showing a kind nod to the not-so-rich.

Victory is an easy target, but none of these articles break any new ground compared to what was written in early 2007.

On an up note, there are some good things on the horizon from a City budget standpoint. At the end of 2012, the Sports Arena TIF (the real name for the Victory Park TIF) expires and that tax money will flow into the city’s general coffers instead of recirculating in the Victory area. That’s big.

The current real estate market is tough, so I doubt that we will see much new construction in the near future. The units at Cirque are a little pricey ($1,600 for 700 SF to $2,800 and up for a penthouse) and the Vista starts at $1,100 for 670 SF. Cirque has some of the hottest looking rental units in the city. If you know anything about real estate development, new units with hot views cost money. You can’t live in it for cheap; that’s life.

But wouldn’t it be cool to get some more moderately-priced housing options in that area? Jefferson at the North End always seems to be pretty leased up ($800 for a 1br to $1,500 for a huge 1,700 SF 2-bedroom). I remember almost moving to the North End when I first got to Dallas, but I couldn’t operate a home office and be close to that much ongoing construction (the W was just getting started at the time).

I looked at a unit in the Terrace (the mid-rise, for-sale condo building), and while it had a great view it was pretty straightforward. Still, there’s not many new units in the city that you can get for around $200K. The Terrace has several of them.

I will say once again what I said two years ago: once more companies office in Victory, and as more moderately-priced food and shopping options come online the area will rebound. Oddly enough, the Chili’s at AAC is often packed.

Victory Park is a beautiful district, and the city will need multiple types of districts to thrive in the future. One example is the Design District in which more housing units are being built as we speak on the other side of I-35.

It’s also not just about Victory Park being new and built from scratch, compared to an existing neighborhood like Knox-Henderson. That’s being shortsighted. It’s about creating the events that make people want to hang out when there’s nothing else going on. The Nasher Sculpture Center is also considered to be a great piece of modern architecture like Victory and not “organic,” but whenever they have movie night during the summer or host their “Target First Saturdays” the place is packed with families.

The area will always hold a special place for me because of the fun I had there a few months back, and from being a season ticket holder for a while. Remember back when you could park at a meter a block from AAC and hit the game? Oh the memories!

I want Victory Park to succeed, and I’m sure many others feel the same way. In terms of long-term viability, Victory Park is far from dead. All things in time.

The Randomness-Having Fun in Urban Dallas

March 31, 2008

We decided to hang out a little yesterday.

It started off by looking at a couple of houses and then attempting to go to my favorite chicken place, Brothers on Gaston Ave. We were kindly informed that they were out of mostly everything due to the glowing review that was in the Dallas Morning News last week. They had nothing but wings and peppers, and were out of my beloved fries as well. The cherry limeade did soften the blow, however. So I got my wife some wings and then headed to Chip’s on Cole for more food. We then hit up Cole Park for our mini-picnic. That was just the beginning.

We then rode through Victory Park, circled back to the Angelika and came up on some free tickets to AFI Dallas. We went to a few late-night screenings. I love indie films, and the ones we saw were definitely interesting. We got home way late for a Sunday, but we had a ball.

Life is fun in Big D. Sometimes a whole lot of little unplanned things can add up to a cool date night.

April 22, 2007

Stereotyping Dallas

Cary Darling has a great article in today’s Star Telegram titled, “Dallas’ Victory Park too ambitious?” I was quoted in the article, along with my buddies at PegasusNews and others.

I separate the Dallas Mavericks from Victory. They have always supported community events and done outreach. They also have different promotions and sections of discount tickets so a family can attend a Mavs game. The rest of the development has miles to go. This quote from one of the developers says it all:

“Woods maintains that the goal was to create an “aspirational” neighborhood…”

OK, so I guess I’ll have to save up so I can someday “aspire” to afford some of these places.

Nothing is wrong with high-end development…the only difference is that all taxpayers are footing the bill for a lot of this. Yet the greed doesn’t end, since the developer still finds time to complain about his expensive-to-build parking lot.

There are examples around the country of developments that have high-end shops but also enough moderately-priced fare to attract the average person.

And don’t get it twisted about Woods’ claim that an grocery somehow makes it diverse. Oakville Grocery, set to open at Victory in 2009, is a high-end grocery store with outlets in Palo Alto and the Napa Valley. I like Whole Foods as much as the next guy, just don’t lie to me and call it affordable for the everyman.

March 6, 2007

House of Blues Lives up to its Name

A few days ago, I got a ton of hits on my article, “Victory…How much rich can we do?”
I held out hope that the under-construction House of Blues might balance out the other outrageously priced options in Victory Park.

However, it seems like the de facto price of HOB events is going to be $65. So there goes that theory out the window.

How I’ll miss the Gypsy Tea Room….

March 3, 2007

Victory – How much ‘rich’ can we do?

Gary Cohen, whose down with my buddies over at Pegasus, wrote an interesting piece titled, “Are Victory restaurants headed for trouble?”

Gary talks about the various restaurants at Victory and opines about their long-term viability. I like this paragraph:

But how many of these people are there? And aren’t their tastes too fickle to be counted on for steady traffic? The older generation is not going to stop going to Bob’s or Al Biernat’s for a steak, and quite frankly, I’d rather go to those places too and not have to deal with the oppressive trendiness and parking difficulties at Victory.

I was at a luncheon not too long ago, and all these Victory Park (OK, like the main two) guys were bragging how high-end and exclusive the place is. Literally, the guy drew a vision of how people could jet in by helicopter from DFW and land on the roof of the future Mandarin Oriental and get this 5-star service without having to interact with the regular folks. Everyone ooohed and aaahed, but why?

Such visions may garner a newspaper headline or two, but that’s not going to draw consistent visitors to that area. I would argue that the house of blues may…but most of the places seem to be places you visit once for curiosity’s sake, and that’s the end of it. From what I’ve heard about the W/Ghostbar parking fiascos, it might be service that does them in.

Note to Victory owners: People have been saying that the parking and valet service is awful since July.

Victory would be smarter to put some reasonably priced choices in that area. Then what you would have (along with occasional high-roller) is a consistent client base that would bring a family down to Victory, and then the husband and wife could splurge with a night on the town sans kiddos from time to time. That’s a client base.

I could be wrong, and I bet this area continues to flourish in some capacity (read: for someone other than the developers). But it may ensure a quality earnings stream by showing a kind nod to the not-so-rich.