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Deep Ellum Redevelopment Project to Launch in Dallas

Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange

by Adolfo Pesquera

Dallas (Dallas Co.) – A seven-lot redevelopment project in the Dallas Deep Ellum TIF District promises to be a major improvement for a rundown neighborhood known for its live music.

Dallas City Council recently approved a $1.6 million in tax increment financing to go with another $7 million being financed by developer Westdale Properties America I Ltd. The Westdale project executive is Jeff Allen.

Westdale owns several adjacent lots and has been working the the Economic Development office to redevelop six buildings located on the north and side sides of the 2800 block of Main Street and Elm Street, as well as a corner parking lot at 2825 Main St.

The streets surrounding the block also include South Malcom X Boulevard and South Crowdus Street. On April 22, City Council approved assistance in the way of TIF reimbursements for paving, streetscape and lighting, open spaces and trails, and facade restorations of 2821-2823 Main Street, 2810, 2816-2818 and 2826 Elm Street, and the corner parking lot.

The buildings are masony block buildings erected in the 1930s and 1940s. They were used for retail, office and service businesses, but most have been vacant for some time and all of them need repairs.

Conditions of the TIF reimbursement are that Westdale invest a minimum of $250,000 in paving, streetscape and lighting; $75,000 in open spaces and trails; and $300,000 in facade restoration, environmental, remediation and demolition. Westdale must also redevelop a minimum of 32,500 square feet, of the 25,000 square feet would be retail/restaurant space, 7,500 square feet would be common space (including a public plaza spaces), obtain a building and/or demolition permit and start construction by Dec. 31, and obtain a Certificate of Occupance by Dec. 31, 2016.

A minimum of 25 percent of the total net leaseable commercial area, with a minimum of at least 50 percent of ground floor space must be occupied prior to TIF payment.

According to the Westdale project summary, there will be 23,000 square feet of street-level commercial and 10,000 square feet of pedestrian walkways and seating, and 5,500 square feet of roof patio seating.

Public areas will also have new utilities, raised planters and tree wells, landscaping, new sidewalk along Malcolm X and Main, shoring of roof structure and new roofing, new storefronts, a new building shell at 2819 Main, and canopy shading.

“The vision for the properties is to stitch them together with a network of public pedestrian corridors meandering through the center of the block,” the summary states. “This is accomplished by taking advantage of existing alleys repressed between the building and expanding them to make the passageways accessible from all bordering streets. All corridors lead to the centerpiece of the block, an open–air public courtyard that is surrounded by an eclectic mix of historic and new architecture. The mid-block courtyard will be accessible by all six buildings on site, allowing for varied paths into the courtyard.”

The four named corridors are Main (1,800 sq. ft.), Elm (1,060 sq. ft.), Malcolm X (1,700 sq. ft.) and Crowdus (2,500 sq. ft.).

A lean-to structure at 2819-2821 Main will be demolished and a single-story structure built in its place, but “behind the existing brick facade.”

Elm Corridor will be carved into the 2618 Elm space and connect out to Elm Street, across from Cafe Brazil and Serious Pizza, and a block away from many of Deep ellum’s music venues, such as Trees, Club Dada and Three Links, the Westdale summary elaborated.

The planned central courtyard will be 1,300 square feet and be ringed by shops, restaurants, bars and cafes via back-door connections.

“A characteristic of the overall site is the drop in elevation of approximately 4 feet between Main and Elm streets. This difference in grade is made up by a set of widened stairs and an accessible concrete ramp near the central courtyard. The elevation changes naturally makes the courtyard feel like a raised plaza, but can also double as a stage for concerts and events,” Westdale said.

Westdale project elevations Deep Ellum

Westdale project elevations Deep Ellum

Building Materials

“The environment of Deep Ellum is largely dependent on the design of storefronts,” the project scope explains. Considerations here focus on maximum visibility and pedestrian scale, “through the use of components like seating, planters, awnings, and lighting.”

Storefront design criteria include:

  • Provide an individual look while implementing the overall design intent of the neighborhood
  • Respect and incorporate existing building elements (brick facades, original stone details)
  • use high quality, durable materials
  • Emphasize entries and window display at a pedestrian scale
  • Enhance the experience of living, working, shopping, eating, and playing in an urban environment
Materials considerations:
  • Ground and polished concrete floor slabs
  • Permeabe paving in walkways/courtyard
  • Variation in storefront design from traditional to contemporary wood to steel, fixed to operable
  • Storefront base protects storefront from urban abuse and water infiltration
  • Sidewalk furniture, seating and plantings extend life of the store out to the street
  • Grow screen on brick facade
  • Steel stair inspiration for potential courtyard stairs to roof patio
  • Board-formed concrete
  • Reclaimed brick from demoed walls
  • Exposed roof decking
  • Murals and street art for black alley walls

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By |2018-04-09T21:13:59-05:00May 1st, 2015|Construction Preview|

About the Author:

Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.