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Government O.K. Carter: Mixed-use complex in downtown Arlington is already causing buzz and...

O.K. Carter: Mixed-use complex in downtown Arlington is already causing buzz and anticipation.

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Park 7 Group

http://park7group.com/

Even though it’ll be close to next summer before the five-story mixed-use Park Place Arlington complex in downtown Arlington begins leasing, the growing structure has already accomplished at least three goals:

– It’s changed the less-than-towering downtown skyline.

– It’s piqued the growing interest of potential future residents.

– It’s attracted the attention of both old and new downtown businesses salivating at the prospect of hundreds of new customers living practically next door to their enterprises.

“I’m hoping those new residents include a lot of beer and Irish nacho fans,” jokes J. Gilligan’s Bar and Grill owner Randy Ford, whose front door will be only 150 yards away. “The impact as soon as it opens will be immediate. And beneficial.”

The builder and building manager is New York-based Park 7 Group.

Though downtown has seen considerable apartment construction in the last five years – almost all of it college-student oriented – Park Place will be somewhat different in terms of amenities. So much so that future residents (the apartments will be home for more than 700 people) are already in a queue.

Within the north building of the two-building complex, tenants will pick from a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments geared for professionals, young families and empty-nesters. The south building, which is closer to the University of Texas at Arlington’s 50,000-student campus, incorporates student apartment floorplans.

Each building will have a secured parking garage wrapped inside the living spaces. Residents will share a top-floor, two-story fitness center and vacation-like amenities including a club room, pool, hammock garden, and half-court basketball and sand volleyball courts.

The project is bounded by Mesquite and Elm streets on the east and west sides. The south building is bounded by Border, Elm, Mesquite and South streets. The north building is bounded by Abram (200 east block), Elm, Mesquite and South streets. The two buildings will also offer a connecting feature new to Arlington – a linking sky bridge over South Street.

That mixed use?

The ground floors of both north and south buildings will include space for commercial development: 15,000 square feet for restaurants and retailers in the north building facing Abram Street and 10,000 square feet of office space in the south building facing Mesquite and Elm streets.

Park 7 Group Vice President of Development Chris Kritzman says the design of Park Place Arlington is a result of a lengthy collaboration between the city, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, First Baptist Church-Arlington and downtown Arlington stakeholders.

“We’ve worked closely with the city to build relationships, to understand and respond to the needs of the downtown district as a whole,” Kritzman said. “We really value our partnerships.”

New downtown residential development like Park Place Arlington also seems to be incentivizing other downtown businesses, like that of Brandon Hurtado, who this fall will be opening his Austin-style, Tex-Mex infused Hurtado’s Barbecue in Urban Union – two short blocks from future customers at Park Place.

“I saw Park Place and Urban Union going up and knew right away I wanted to be as close as possible,” Hurtado said.

Tony Rutigliano’s new wine and coffee restaurant, Urban Alchemy, is only a block away. He drives by the construction site daily, his vision being that Park Place will help make downtown “a 24/7 kind of place.”

He adds, “It’s pretty exciting to see downtown Arlington take shape and come into its own. Arlington is a cool place, and it’s great that more people are taking notice.”

Rutigliano’s sentiments reflect those of 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge co-owner Chris Powell, who made the decision to open his business a year ago based in part on a growing downtown residency.

“My mom, Elaine, has even signed a lease this week to move her Wild West Comics & Games into Urban Union downtown, as there is now the necessary family and student foot traffic to make it succeed,” Powell said. “The carefully planned mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment has made the area someplace where people want to live, even if they’re not most interested in proximity to UTA.”

Union Worx Coworking owner Lauren Brewer – her business is two blocks away – figures some of her future clients will also live in Park Place, since at least part of the complex will be for professionals rather than students.

“The people we’re looking to serve at Union Worx are the people that can see downtown Arlington as a destination for their life,” she said. “A neighborhood where they can live and work and be a short walk, bike ride or Via ride away from diverse restaurants, great coffee shops, nightlife and culture.”

And finally, Downtown Arlington Management President Maggie Campbell sees the new development and a reconstruction of Abram Street to be completed about the same time that Park Place Arlington opens as critical steps in making the area what she calls a “walkable business corridor.”

“This is the very kind of environment that millennials, their employers and start-up companies want as a location,” she said.

O.K. Carter is a former editor and publisher of the Arlington Citizen-Journal and was also Arlington publisher and columnist for the Star-Telegram and founding editor of Arlington Today Magazine. He’s the author of the definitive book on Arlington’s colorful history, Caddos, Cotton and Cowboys: Essays on Arlington.

okcarter@bizpress.net


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