Monday, November 23, 2009

Design Team Selected for Re:Vision Dallas

One perk of having our own blog is that we can release any news we make here first. So here’s the early version of our press release on the latest progress on the Re:Vision Dallas project (it may change before it’s released on Monday, November 23, 2009—which is also my 26th Anniversary—Happy Anniversary, Rebecca!). Still, if you are reading this early in the morning, then you will be one of the first to get the news, because we’ve got this scoop!

November 23, 2009

For Immediate Release
Central Dallas Community Development Corporation
Re:Vision Dallas

Central Dallas Community Development Corporation (Central Dallas CDC) announced today that it has selected the architectural firms MOOV and Atelier Data as the design architects for the Re:Vision Dallas project, which will turn a parking lot immediately south of Dallas City Hall into the first truly sustainable city block in the world. MOOV and Atelier Data, both located in Lisbon, Portugal, jointly submitted the Forwarding Dallas proposal that was named one of the three winners of the Re:Vision Dallas international design competition last May.

The initial planning for the competition took place between September and December 2008. The design charrette that was sponsored by The City of Dallas and funded by Enterprise, was held December 5, 2008. The design competition opened January 26, 2009 and closed May 6, 2009.

In May, representatives from Central Dallas CDC and bcWORKSHOP met with a jury of panelists who selected 3 winners and awarded 3 honorable mentions. During the months since, we have worked with a cadre of pro-bono executives provided by The Real Estate Council Foundation who have done extensive work on the proposed designs, including site analysis, creation of trial pro formas, engineering and architectural reviews, and estimates of construction costs for all three of the winning designs. During the first two weeks of November, we hosted each of the 3 winning firms here in Dallas for additional discussion.

John Greenan, Executive Director for Central Dallas CDC said, “All three of the design teams impressed us, both with the quality of their designs and in the interviews. Dallas would be a richer city to have the work of any of these architects represented, but as we went further into our review, we began to see the deep logic of the MOOV-Atelier Data design, Forwarding Dallas. Forwarding Dallas seemed to us to do the best job of incorporating concepts of sustainability into the foundation of the design. When we met Antonio Louro and Filipe Vogt, the principals of MOOV and Atelier Data, their passion for quality design and sustainable principles was unmistakable. Any concerns we had about working with architects based in Lisbon, Portugal were satisfied by Antonio’s and Filipe’s clear desire to work in a collaborative manner in bringing the project to completion. In the end, the choice was difficult only because of the quality of the winners of the Re:Vision Dallas competition.”

When asked about the overall impact of the project, John Greenan, Executive Director for Central Dallas CDC said, “The greatest economic impact will come from rebuilding a long neglected part of downtown. There are probably an additional half dozen underutilized blocks in the area of the project, and once we prove up the viability of rebuilding the south central part of Downtown Dallas, I think all those blocks will also be revitalized. What I would love to see is an entire section of downtown notable for innovative, sustainable design--an attraction in the southern part of downtown balancing the Arts District in the northern part of downtown. There are already some interesting, green projects in The Cedars immediately to the south of downtown. A sustainable district that extends from downtown all the way into The Cedars neighborhood is a very reasonable possibility.”

The Re:Vision Dallas neighborhood is remarkable, primarily for the absence of nongovernmental entities in the immediate neighborhood. The property immediately north and west of the proposed site (1502 Canton) belongs to the City of Dallas (City Hall and the Convention Center, respectively).

Central Dallas CDC has also directly contacted most of the owners of the few occupied properties within 1,000 feet of the redevelopment site, and two of the major land owners, Dan Millett (Millett Printing) and Larry and Ted Hamilton (owners of the Plaza Hotel) are enthusiastic supporters. Leaders and members of the DOWNTOWNDallas organization also attended the charette for the project and are supporters. Central Dallas CDC has also discussed this project with the Downtown Dallas Residents Association, and we believe that the Downtown Dallas Residents Association will support the project. Finally, most of the surrounding area is vacant, and discussions with owners and brokers suggest that the potential increase in land values will attract the support of the owners of those properties.

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