A nearly $30 million mixed-use development project approved by City Council Tuesday is expected to bring new shops, bars and restaurants to north Arlington.
Greenway Investment of Dallas plans to build Champions Park on 14 acres on the northeast corner of Collins Street and Interstate 30, a prominent corner of Arlington’s entertainment district.
The first phase is expected to include about 84,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space that would be built around an outdoor festival area intended to be the site of concerts, weekend farmers markets and other community events, the developer said.
“We will think it will be a place people will want to go, not just every once and while, but on a regular basis and hang out for events,” Jay Grogan, Greenway representative, recently told City Council.
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A future second phase would feature either offices and more retail or perhaps a boutique hotel and movie theater with a parking garage and additional restaurants and shops.
Greenway has worked closely with city staff over the past two years to fine tune the development plan, which was unanimously recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission last month.
“In this case, the process is worth mentioning. Too often and in too many cities, the process doesn’t work so well. Oftentimes you spend an awful lot of time, have an awful lot of meetings and you either get a diminished project that gets approved or the project that doesn’t get diminished gets defeated and doesn’t get built,” Grogan said.
“I can honestly say that the process has produced a better project. It’s better than we started.”
The council approved the development plan Tuesday 8-1. District 1 Councilman Charlie Parker, who represents north Arlington, voted against the proposal on both the first and second reading.
“They simply couldn’t tell me any of the businesses that had committed to phase one or phase two, and they couldn’t assure the quality of the project,” Parker said. “I will continue to say no to this project until they can assure me of the quality.’
Although city leaders have pushed for high-quality, high-density projects for the entertainment district, such as a full-service hotel or an office building large enough to attract a corporate headquarters, Grogan said the market isn’t quite there yet. Movie theaters, Class A office space and a hotel are more likely to come after Greenway builds shops and restaurants that would complement and serve them, Grogran said.
“We’ve had discussion with hotels and with theaters, both of which we would love to have. Those discussions break down when it gets down to ‘What is going to be next to me?’ There’s very much a chicken and egg sort of thing,” Grogan said.
“We’ve learned lessons in other parts of the Metroplex. If you build an amenity package, you enhance your ability to go get the kind of high-density users you are going to get.
“That kind of user, large corporate users, they want their people to be able to walk to restaurants and retail. They want you to create a place where they can come,” he said.
This contains material from Star-Telegram archives.
Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639