Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Latest Happenings - Midtown Park

Recently, I had a chance to walk around the construction zone at a development called Midtown Park. The project is in Dallas and it can be found just East of 75, bound by Royal Lane, Royal Oaks Country Club and Walnut Hill Lane, but bisected by Manderville Lane, the DART Red Line (N-S) and Meadow Road (E-W). While the real estate climate has temporarily slowed vertical development to a halt throughout much of the metroplex including here, earthwork and sorely needed public infrastructure improvements have continued unabated. While I didn't have a camera on me at the time, I have since had the following pictures emailed to me updating the progress.

One thing that inspires the most confidence is that the its continuation is showing a commitment by developers in the potential East of North Central Expressway, long considered a Maginot line for investment. Fortunately, like the Maginot Line, its purposes as demarcating boundary were clearly overstated, again and again and again. I say this with the proud French-German heritage of the Alsace-Lorraine-WeDon'tKnowWhichCountryWeBelongToAnymore region.

Below is an aerial taken in Dec. '09 where you can see the realigned Manderville and faintly make out the staked off areas of new parks and some new streetscape improvements.

Along with some new public streets, parks are being built so that each development block has a neighborhood park to address from, as well as these new monuments marking the primary entries into the emerging area. The inner lights, up-lights, and stone bases are still remaining to be added.

One of the driving design principles of the overall neighborhood plan (and hopefully conveyed in these monuments) is a successful merger of mature, refined and earthen timelessness with an elegant, contemporary, almost antiseptic modernism in a way that doesn't look like a clumsy postmodern amalgam.

These two characteristics are intended to represent the merger of what has unfortunately and unnecessarily become odd bedfellows: resilient residential neighborhoods successfully coexisting with hospital/medical districts. There is clearly a mutual demand for the other in an integrated walkable urban environment and this development will represent a step in the right direction.

Note: all buildings in background are existing structures.