DFW’s next big idea? Bringing walkable connections to downtown Dallas

October 9, 2017

It's been a year since the Urban Land Institute held‚ its big annual conference in Dallas, and in that time North Texas stakeholders have brought some new ideas to the table for ULI North Texas' third annual Impact Awards gala.

This year, Dallas-based Merriman Anderson/Architects presented a pedestrian-friendly extension of the redevelopment of Commerce Street stretching from Deep Ellum into the Farmers Market with the help of Harwood Street.

The proposal was pitched last week under the generic title 'The Statler Corridor'. It consists of the historic‚ Statler Hilton‚ with the adjacent Old Dallas Public Library and the new Harwood Garage and Residency, which could help connect this part of the city with these two neighborhoods.

"This would link a lot of areas, which is important,"‚ Jerry Merriman, president of Merriman Anderson Architects, told the‚ Dallas Business Journal."There's so much awareness right now on the city center of Dallas and there's so much interest in the Statler building itself."

Construction has begun on the 500- to 600-space parking garage that is being built to support a residential tower atop the garage. The residential tower could have anywhere from 180 to 300 homes.

The residential tower work is slated to begin upon completion of the garage. This project, along with the redevelopment other properties, could make downtown Dallas more walkable, Merriman said.

"Preserving our history is very important," said‚ Mehrdad Moayedi, president and CEO of Farmers Branch-based Centurion American Development Group. "We are honored the Statler was recognized with the Next Big Idea award. We are looking forward to the vitality and energy the Statler and related projects will bring to downtown Dallas."

The Statler Corridor project edged out the Opal J. Smith North Texas Food Bank presented by Dallas-based‚ HKS‚ Inc. for the win in the 'Next Big Idea,' category.

Gensler's proposed Klyde Warren Park Promenade and Pavilion came in third place in the category, which was voted on by attendees of the gala during a live, one-minute period.

Herb Weitzman, commercial real estate broker and founder of Dallas-based Weitzman, was‚ honored at the gala for his visionary focus‚ by the Urban Land Institute.

Weitzman was also honored by the‚ Dallas Business Journal‚ last year with‚ the Best Real Estate Deals' Lifetime Achievement award.

The longtime broker that began his retail real estate career in the early 1960s has helped influence how North Texans shop today, said‚ Pamela Stein, executive director of the Urban Land Institute's North District Council.

The redevelopment of The Statler "” in which there's been‚ an ongoing investigation by federal authoritiesand litigation by minority investors "” was up for an award in the influence category, which ultimately went to the Village of Rowlett for the city's transit-oriented, mixed-use development within its central business district.

The public place category went to the Eagle Family Plaza at The Dallas Museum of Art, with the Fort Worth Botanic Garden's Municipal Rose Garden Restoration and Shake Shack at the‚ Crescent‚ Pavilion coming in as runners up to the Arts District project.

McKinney & Olive by Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate picked up the innovation category award, beating out Walsh and‚ Toyota's‚ North American headquarters.

Want to see some of North Texas' 'Next Big Idea,' projects? Check out the attached slideshow.

DHD Films‚ also gave the‚ Dallas Business Journal‚ this clip of Weitzman reflecting on his life and real estate career in Dallas.

Herb Weitzman Social Teaser from‚ DHD Films‚ on‚ Vimeo. For the full video celebrating Herb Weitzman's award,‚ click here.