Archive for the ‘W Hotel’ Category

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.

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.