City Hall

When Will They Begin to Re:Vision Dallas? Depends On When City Creates That "Sustainable Design District" Downtown.

It's been an awful long time since last we wrote about John Greenan and Brent Brown's plans to build that green, sustainable building of tomorrow directly behind Dallas City Hall. But a few days ago, a piece written by a former local crossed my screen celebrating Dallas -- and this project in particular -- as "the future of urban design." And, it said, groundbreaking is scheduled for later this year. Which is what Greenan and Brown hoped for when we started talking about this in 2008.

But, no. Put away your shovels. It'll be a while before they Re:Vision Dallas.

"It's funny -- stories about this keep echoing around the Internet," Greenan said when I called this afternoon for a long-needed update. "People find the pictures, I guess, then write about it, because they think it's cool. And that's good. I guess that means there's interest."

But the project, he says, has become entangled -- as in, the Entangled Bank, for those who've forgotten -- in the North Central Texas Council of Government's big-picture project known as the Building Blocks Sustainable Development District. As it turns out, the COG granted the city of Dallas $156,250 to look at creating what Greenan calls a "sustainable design district in the southern part of downtown," more or less between Dallas Farmers Market and the Dallas Convention Center.

The city and COG, he says, want to create an "incentive to encourage this kind of development, which sounds a little oblique, I know, but we have to start somewhere." He says it's more or less "envisioned as an addition to the Downtown Dallas 360 plan," with the hope that the Re:Vision Dallas building will serve as the center piece.

Greenan just turned into the city a draft letter outlining the criteria for the district, and in June or close to, he says, the city start trying to find a consultant who will "examine the capacity for wind energy, solar energy and various kind of urban agriculture and sustainable development across that area and determine what's feasible and how. And then the city will determine how to best develop that area."

So, no. No groundbreaking in 2011. But some day, he promises.