What do we know? Except for Mavericks games and Stars games and touring concerts or events, “nobody” goes to Victory Park. The project is generally seen as a failure for Ross Perot Jr. and his Hillwood development company. Why hasn’t it become Dallas’ version of Times Square (except for during Big D NYE)? There are a lot of theories:
1. A couple years ago, Wick wrote that the project hadn’t been constructed at a human scale:
Consider the activity: there are some 25 restaurants and bars on Henderson and Knox streets; maybe 10 within a block or two of Jake’s on McKinney; at least seven in the West Village. All these places vary in size and look, but they have one thing in common. They are human. They are humble. They want you to come in.
Now consider Victory, all glass and steel, cool and angular. The architects did their best work here. Professionally, they wouldn’t glance at the Jake’s building or at Fireside Pies. Some of them even sneered to me about West Village. I wonder, though, where they go to eat.
2. Patrick Kennedy blames our damn cars:
Real places don’t have hard edges. Rather, they blend from one to another. Unfortunately, every road between Victory Park and its neighboring hoods was built for uninterrupted, high-speed traffic flow. You can’t ring a place with a noose-like strand of cars and expect it to survive. Just ask downtown Dallas. Joe the venture capitalist doesn’t want to play live-action Frogger. Instead, he drives to the arena, parks his car there, then leaves at the buzzer. Or he just goes home and watches the game on TV.
3. Mitchell Schnurman opined that it was all just too much for the market and too expensive:
Development that may have worked on a smaller scale, at more modest price points, ended up overwhelming the marketplace.
From 2006 to 2008, Victory Park added almost 400 condos, 380 apartments, 250 hotel rooms, half a million square feet of office space, and more than 200,000 square feet of retail. Many Victory condos were listed at $500 a square foot, twice the going rate for residential space in Turtle Creek when the building boom started.
So what’s the plan to fix it? Building more apartments, adding density. (I’m guessing these will be pricy rentals?) Â But first allowing $33 million in taxes to reimburse the cost of building a 1,200-car parking garage for the American Airlines Center.
Don’t know about you, but I get nervous when I hear claims that (in the heart of a high-end residential/retail project in the center of Dallas), “Market conditions do not support construction of a new garage in the district without public subsidy.” That’s what the city council’s economic development committee was told today. Â Bunch of socialists running this place, I guess.
Anyway, I like the way the Morning News‘ Rudolph Bush put it this morning:
The plan has drawn criticism as a boost for a very wealthy developer whose play in Victory Park has been anything but a success.
But from City Hall’s perspective, doubling down (or tripling down) on Victory is the only option to spur it forward and hope that the population density needed to sustain it is forthcoming.
“Doubling down.” That’s about right. Feels like a gamble.
UPDATE: The council committee voted to make that gamble, though Mark Cuban’s company raised some concerns. The full council votes on it next week.