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Travel to U.S.: West: Downtown Dallas III

Downtown III is the downtown of the last decade. The economy is modestly more diversified than it was in 1980. More importantly, life is returning as people choose to live in renovated office buildings. Call it a central-city display of the New Urbanist ideal: a mixed-use, compact, and even architecturally traditional community. That's the goal, at least, and you can make the "half-full" argument about as well as the "half-empty" one.

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Here is where it began. It's the Harrison and Abramovitz-designed Republic Center of 1954, which replaced Republic Bank's old headquarters--now the Davis Building and also now apartments--on Main Street. Empty for 20 years, developers arrived in 1997 and made The Republic Center into 183 apartments.

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The conversion of such buildings continues, here with the renovation of the Mercantile National Bank Building of 1943. It's been empty for years if not decades, but Forest City Enterprises is converting it to condos.

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The building opened in 2009, along with a new linked companion, here shown on the right.

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Apartments already fill the Wilson Building of 1903. Titche-Goettinger operated a department store in the lower floors until moving to a grander home in 1929. Post Properties converted the building to apartments in 1999 and in 2008 sold it to Forest City.

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Entrance.

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A similar conversion to apartments has taken place here in the Kirby Building, originally the office building built by Adolphus Busch to accompany his grand hotel.

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Downtown attracts mostly young residents.

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Until 1996, the Main Tower, built in 1972, housed federal offices, especially Health, Education and Welfare. In 2005, DTZ Rockwood of New York City began converting the building to condos under the name The Metropolitan.

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Potential buyers were offered this tour in 2007.

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A warehouse gets the same treament. It's the Higginbothan (sometimes spelled Higginbotham)-Bailey Building begun in 1914, expanded at least twice, and converted in 1984 to offices.

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A new downtown residential population needs support of many kinds. One is supplied by new hotels, bringing excited visitors to town. Downtown has half a dozen hotels now, including a couple of boutiques, including the Joule, a Starwood Luxury hotel built in the old Dallas National Bank building. Its rooftop pool can be seen here, cantilevered over the sidewalk.

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A more down-to-earth amenity: a small but good supermarket. The "IB lofts" refers to the apartments in the same building, which once housed the Dallas Interurban Terminal and, later, Trailways.

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Main entrance to the Interurban Building.

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Entrance.

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A park is in order; several, in fact, mostly on all parking lots but in this case on top of a new underground garage. In the distance, the old municipal office building.

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The Woodall Rogers Freeway, an accomplice is the devastation of downtown. Think a pedestrian can get across, or even under with pleasure? That's why a park is planned right here, covering a block-square piece of the freeway and opening a path between downtown on the left and uptown on the right.

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A set of museums has been created, most modern but here shaped handsomely, both in and out, from Old Red, the courthouse of 1893.

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New Urbanist developments are popping up all over the city. Compact, mixed-use, and neo-traditional, they cluster particularly along the tracks of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system but are common also in the general area spreading from downtown's western edge north into the very busy area called Uptown. Here, in conjunction with a DART line, a new apartment building comes up.

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DART tracks, with the same Chipotle sign shown in the previous picture.

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A few blocks away and with Fountain Place rising in the background, another mixed-use development comes along.

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And yet another, the development called West Village. The track here belongs to the sentimental McKinney trolley, restored in 1989 after a hiatus of over 30 years.

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West Village styles vary, but the general formula is shops down, apartments up.

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Several restored streetcars run past.

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Some older homes survive in the face of this growing urban intensity.

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This house, like the previous one, is in the neighborhood called State-Thomas, which at least until the 1940s was a black neighborhood in a very segregated city.

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Another survivor.

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Uptown, which rims downtown on the north, is evolving into a combination of low- and high-rise buildings.

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Uptown's revival began with this building, the Crescent, designed by Philip Johnson and opened as a hotel in 1985.

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Across the street from it is the Robert A. M. Stern-designed Ritz-Carlton, a hotel and condominium project that looks older than The Crescent but opened only in 2007. Five years later, the owner of an 8,000 square foot penthouse on the 21st floor put it on the market for $14 million.

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A few blocks to the west is the W hotel and condominium, part of the much larger project called Victory Park, wedged between Uptown and Interstate 35.

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Another view of the project, which also adjoins the American Airlines Center.

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The Center is itself part of Victory. The airline paid $195 million in 1999 for naming rights.

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Just east of the Central Expressway, Trammell Crow and Winthrop Rockefeller funded in 1965 the creation of the Lincoln Development Company. On a 337-acre site, Lincoln built a 7,300-unit apartment complex which is now being gradually demolished and rebuilt as part of the overhaul of the city's inner and especially its northern fringe. Here's a bit of the older apartments.

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Not half bad.

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Another view.

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Here's the newer stuff, which rises three floors instead of two and so packs more units on an acre.


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