Many Friends of Unfair Park have questions concerning Re:Vision Dallas -- which we've been mentioning for months, but, sure, the release of the conceptual renderings of three potential downtown buildings has gotten folks' attention. So I called John Greenan -- executive director of Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, which is overseeing whatever development takes place on the block behind City Hall -- for some further details.
At the moment, the property's actually owned by Chavez Properties -- which, yes, is the same real estate company from which the city bought the property upon which it expects to build the convention center hotel. Central Dallas CDC, the affordable-housing arm of Central Dallas Ministries, has the property under contract, Greenan tells Unfair Park, but doesn't expect to close any time soon. "It may be a while yet," he says. "It won't be before fall."
In the meantime, Greenan and Brent Brown of bcWORKSHOP and others will begin meeting with the architects "to see what changes, if any, we need to make to build" one of the three finalists. Matter of fact, Greenan says, there's also a chance you'll see a combination of all three winners constructed upon the property. The Real Estate Council Foundation is also involved in the planning, he says.
And while Greenan doesn't disagree that these finalists are ambitious in scope -- "and then some" -- he insists all are doable. "We had a very distinguished jury, and I was there to observe it, and we had a lot of discussions," Greenan says. "They're all convinced these are buildable -- they're in sight of present-day technology."
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Update at 4:52 p.m.: There's more after the jump, of course, but Greenen posted this note in the comments: "Expect the final architect to be selected by this fall. We're shooting for a 2010 groundbreaking."
Greenan says there were 96 entries in all from all over the world. And, he says, his favorite was Commonwealth, one of the three finalists and a San Diego submission. Of the six entries to make it that far, it's by far the most conventional looking -- which is precisely why Greenan liked it. "I knew it could be built without relying on any experts," he says. But the judges chose to go with considerably more ambitious projects, and Greenan understands why: "These will be, I think, icons." (When I suggested that the "Forwarding Dallas" conceptual rendering looks like "Blade Runner covered in grass," Greenan agrees: "You would not mistake it for anything else. I think it would make a great statement.")
So, no, these ain't happening tomorrow. Or next year. But, Greenan insists, something will take shape on that downtown block that resembles the conceptual renderings made available today. And, just maybe, an ambitious developer will rescue from the discard pile a building or two as well.
"Some of the entries are gorgeous buildings but are too large for that block," Greenan says. "But half a dozen of them someone ought to be building somewhere, because they're that good."