Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dallas's freeway park is paying dividends

Klyde Warren Park is a $110 million deck park built over the trench of the Woodall Rodgers freeway on the north side of downtown Dallas. It opened three years ago and has become a popular local attraction. It is also generating economic benefits:
The biggest surprise, though, has been the velocity and magnitude of the park’s impact on commercial real estate. Since late 2012, triple-net lease rates at Trammell Crow Center in the Arts District have climbed from $19 per square foot to $25 per square foot—a 32 percent jump. Rents at 2100 Ross have gone from $13 to $19—a 46 percent increase. On the north side of the park, lease rates at 2000 McKinney have climbed 56 percent, from $25 to $37 per square foot. And rents at 2100 McKinney have appreciated an incredible 64 percent, from $22 to $36 per square foot.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted the impact this 5-acre park would have,” says Phil Puckett, executive vice president of CBRE, who pulled the lease-rate data together. “Having worked in the downtown and Uptown markets for 25 years, I have never seen anything like it. Klyde Warren Park has become the epicenter.”

Its impact is especially impressive when the size of the park is considered. At 5.4 acres, Klyde Warren pales in comparison to Chicago’s Millennium Park (24.5 acres) or New York City’s massive Central Park (843 acres). “Dallas didn’t realize how much it needed this park,” says Randy Cooper, vice chairman of DTZ. “It replaced concrete with green space, created a better pedestrian environment, and achieved its goal of creating a bridge between Uptown and downtown. People making investments want to be as close to the park as possible.”
Building a park over a freeway trench is not cheap, but the benefits of replacing a noisy concrete canyon with an attractive green space are obvious. Not only do these types of parks bridge neighborhoods and improve an area's quality of life, but as Klyde Warren Park shows, they also provide tangible economic advantages.

Just something to keep in mind as we here in Houston consider the costs and benefits of potential reconstruction - and capping - of I-45 in and around downtown.

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