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With urban flair, pedestrian amenities and style to spare,
Victory Park is a slam dunk
World-class modern architecture, inviting public spaces and dramatic streetscapes – it all seemed improbable a few short years ago when a defunct power plant sat abandoned on the brownfield site just north of downtown Dallas' West End. Today, that site is Victory Park – the epicenter of the real estate boom at Victory Station on DART's forthcoming Green Line.
Even in "can-do" Dallas, the scope of Victory Park is making jaws drop while it's still taking shape. Representing a total investment of more than $3 billion – and comprising a staggering 12 million square feet – the development by Hillwood Capital marks a striking change of pace for the city: a 21st-century urban neighborhood designed with pedestrians, rather than cars, in mind.
"Pedestrian activity and access to the rail station have been part of our thinking from the beginning," says Howard Elkus of Elkus-Manfredi Architects, urban planners for the project. "There's no doubt that transit-oriented development is exactly what everybody wants these days – and, because the DART station was there, we were able to think in those terms. By the time the daily trains start rolling, there will be a tremendous amount of product in place at Victory Park."
While the official opening of the Green Line is three years away, both DART Rail and the Trinity Railway Express currently serve Victory Station on a special-events basis, and DART serves Victory Park daily with scheduled bus service on three routes.
The W's splashy opening event was just the latest of many milestones for Victory Park. The first was the 2001 opening of American Airlines Center, home to the Dallas Stars and the Dallas Mavericks, followed by the opening of DART's Victory Station in 2004.
Now, Dallasites can get the first inkling of the "city within a city" that Victory will soon become. The twin five-story Victory Plaza buildings framing the development's main plaza between the W and the American Airlines Center open this fall, ushering in a new hotspot for destination shopping. These two buildings contain about 200,000 square feet of retail and office space, and their facades are festooned with the world's largest LED screens, displaying sports, entertainment and cultural programs. A bevy of upscale tenants is already lined up – including chic restaurants, boutiques, specialty food merchants, a spa and the Dallas incarnation of The House of Blues.
By year's end, two more residential mid-rise towers will take their place alongside the W. The Terrace will be located directly adjacent to a brand-new urban park. At seven stories, it will feature 95 for-sale residential units and nearly 25,000 square feet of retail space. The Vista will be of similar dimensions, but will feature 125 rental units.
"Once those two properties open, it will really mark the beginning of Victory as a true neighborhood," says Melissa Wyszynski, Hillwood's director of marketing. Hot on the heels of these two projects is the 28-story Cirque, a rental high-rise set to open in spring 2007, followed in 2008 by The House, largely the creation of Paris' it-designer Philippe Starck. The House will have 250 residences and 30,000 square feet of retail.
Several other projects are on the way, notably Victory Tower. When completed in 2009, it will soar 43 stories in the air, and its highest-profile tenant will be the luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel, occupying the first 11 floors. The rest of the tower will comprise retail and office space.
By that time, according to Elkus, "Victory Park will have matured, and it will be a very viable place to 'live, work and play' – a beautiful 24/7 destination with an element of celebration to it."
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