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Dallas Cowboys Implode for Smart Growth

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By Kaid Benfield

OK, so it wasn’t the whole Cowpokes’ organization that imploded (that only happens in the playoffs, heh), just Texas Stadium, where the team played for decades.  Allow me a bit of poetic license, will you?  This 40-year resident of Washington, DC and passionate sports fan takes a bit of pleasure at noting the implosion of anything Cowboys-related.   (And, yes, as a former season-ticketholder, I am only too aware of the various implosions DC’s own once-great, now-forlorn NFL team has suffered.)

 Greg Lindsay writes in Fast Company:

“With 2,715 pounds of dynamite Sunday, 40-year-old Texas Stadium -- the one with the hole in its roof, ‘so God can watch his favorite team play’ -- was reduced to 2 million pounds of steel scrap and 4 million pounds of (recyclable) concrete rubble. Thousands of die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans and former players showed up to tailgate once last time and cheer the early morning implosion.”

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That would be cause enough for celebration, but even better is that the stadium site is being converted to a walkable, transit-accessible neighborhood in an ambitious retrofit of suburbia:

“Once the last traces of Texas Stadium are cleared away this summer, Irving [the Dallas suburb where the stadium was located] intends to dust off plans drafted 10 years ago to transform the Cowboys’ former home and the surrounding acreage into the densest, most walkable neighborhood in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex outside of downtown Dallas. An extension of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange line is slated to run through the stadium footprint on its way from downtown to Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) International Airport. The city is already building a $130 million convention center and $255 million entertainment center along its path, and expects another $4 billion in private investment to follow. The stadium site is the next piece in its urban puzzle.“

Lindsay reports that the development is being guided by a three-way partnership comprising the city of Irving, the neighboring University of Dallas, and Southwest Premier Properties, a private developer.   The plans call for four- and five-story apartment blocks with ground floor retail.  Maura Gast, executive director of Irving’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, told Lindsay, “Everywhere the DART is going is driving more density. The market will support it; developers have started jockeying along that path.” She is even hoping for something like Chicago’s acclaimed Millennium Park as part of the development.  (Piecing together information from two articles, the stadium site per se appears to comprise 84 acres, but the partners hold 468 acres altogether in the area.)

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Lindsay continues:

“What’s most interesting about Irving’s plans to added density in its last undeveloped corner is the tacit admission that Las Colinas’s gold-plated office parks and single-family homes are no longer enough. ‘The piece that has always been missing from Las Colinas is the human density that’s missing on weekends and at nights,’ says Gast. The reason for adding that piece is an eminently practical one -- it’s what those corporate tenants, their workers and developers all want. Irving is embracing transit-oriented development because it thinks it can make money doing it.”

All the optimism notwithstanding, there remain flies in the ointment:  DART, like other transit providers, is experiencing budget shortfalls.  Moreover, there is a convergence of three major freeways at the site that will enormously complicate retrofitting.  And, ominously, the Texas Department of Transportation is currently holding a ten-year lease on property in the area to accommodate freeway expansion.

Go here for the full story.  But, in the meantime, some 600 videos of the stadium’s implosion have apparently been posted on YouTube. .  Here’s one of them.   Once the countdown reached zero, the whole thing came down in less than a minute.  Enjoy (I certainly did):

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.


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