Wednesday, March 23, 2011

April D Mag Column - How Victory will Win

I've been waiting for this one to come for quite a while since I first drafted it, now here it is. It is about Victory Park development sorta near downtown Dallas, sorta near uptown Dallas. How does one even describe where it is? Along the brutal trip in from the airport? I've been hard on Victory since it was first conceived and planned, well before the birth of this here blog, so along with the editors of D, we felt we would throw out some positives.

Get rich by lowering the price. Sound counterintuitive? It is logical and has proven successful in Newcastle, Australia, and DUMBO (the New York City neighborhood known as Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Drop the rental rate of ground-floor space to near free­—with flexible, short-term micro-leases—to appeal to startups. Manage the tenants to ensure cross-pollination. But, by all means, get people there who will populate Victory Park day and night through cohabitational work-studio spaces. If some fail, so be it. Encourage quick turnover to keep spaces filled. As the new tenants establish a vibe, you can incrementally increase rents.

There is a group called Digital DUMBO that acts as a chamber of commerce for the tech firms there. The same people are behind Digital Dallas. Victory Park could enlist them as a partner for finding creative startups. Being “digital,” Digital Dallas might not know it needs physical proximity to other like-minded firms, but as economist Edward Glaeser points out in his new book, Triumph of the City, experimental groups are far more productive when collaborating in person.
Pick up the April issue at newstands throughout the metroplex.