Press

May 21 , 2004

Fair Park renewal

Fair Park renewal

May 21st, 2004 - Partnership wants to attract homeowners with discretionary income Cynthia D. Webb A South Dallas partnership plans to build 30 patio homes in the former domain of the deadly Park Row Posse drug gang -- just a stone's throw from Fair Park and the proposed new home of the Dallas Cowboys. If successful, SouthFair Community Development Corp. plans to expand the development's $4.5 million first phase with the additional $20 million development of 200 homes and two, 100,000-square-foot retail centers valued at $15 million. Park Row Estates will target mid-level income homeowners with homes priced from $125,000 to $175,000, said Henry T. "Hank" Lawson, executive director of SouthFair. Construction is slated to begin during the third quarter. All but two model homes will be pre-sold. Since 1990, SouthFair, a nonprofit, has spearheaded $20 million in revitalization efforts throughout an eight-block area bounded by Grand Avenue and Robert B. Cullum, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, Lawson said. SouthFair has partnered with Bank of America Community Development Corp. on Park Row Estates. Together they have invested $475,000 in the project. The funds have been used for land acquisition and site development, Lawson said. The city of Dallas is providing $387,000 for the project's infrastructure. Gene Bynum, senior vice president with Bank of America Community Development Corp., said the project, the fourth venture for SouthFair and BOA, hopes to bring a new dynamic to the economically distressed neighborhood. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the area's average household income is $21,823. "It's our first attempt to bring a more moderate income resident into the neighborhood," Bynum said. BOA's Community Development Corp. is a business unit of Bank of America that develops housing for low-to-moderate and mixed-income communities. The hope is that people with more discretionary income will settle in the area and, in turn, boost retailer interest. The area is served by a new Minyard's, a McDonald's, a Subway and individual retailers. "The Fair Park area is in positive transition," said Steve Lieberman, CEO of Dallas-based The Retail Connection, a brokerage advisory and investment company that focuses on retail development. The key to retail growth is residential growth, he said, noting that Fair Park's progress has been slow but positive. "It's not a traditional suburban market where you can look at the catalyst of homes and jobs for growth," Lieberman said. But the proposed stadium, along with the city of Dallas' commitment to redevelop the area, are cornerstones for additional redevelopment, he said. "We're seeing the challenges dissipate and the opportunities push forward," he said. Lawson said the possible relocation of the Cowboys to Fair Park may impact SouthFair on a short-term basis. That's what happened when land owners believed the 2012 Olympics would come to Fair Park. "Folks here are going to have inflated the value of their land," he said. "By the time we found out about the Cowboys, we already had about 95% of the land we needed," Lawson said. "Now, regardless of what the Cowboys do, we have a presence here just one block from Fair Park."