South Dallas Tyler Station is about renewal, not real estate
Visitors to Dallas quickly hear about the Bishop Arts District, an espresso retail area and hip boutiques located in the rough (but bourgeois) Oak Cliff neighborhood. What they usually don’t expect to find when visiting the neighborhood is a building called Tyler Station, a 100,000-square-foot remake of the former Dixie Wax Paper factory. The site is home to some 70 small businesses in what Monte Anderson, developer and human connector in southern Dallas County, calls “a collaborative village.” This is a great example of what is called progressive development.
Artists, creators and entrepreneurs âcollideâ here productively – as Anderson likes to say – in a dizzying variety: a co-working space; a martial arts studio; a brewery ; hairdresser ; tattoo studios; and an event space. âWe also had a hippie Baptist church for a while,â he notes, âand now we have an African American’s studio. [woman] author of what she calls “gangster romance” novels – over 100 of them.
Inside is a sprawling, high-ceilinged honeycomb of retail spaces built with reused wood and metal cattle panels for visitors to watch or chat with a business owner . It is a large and welcoming space. Many colorful events were organized including a Juneteenth festival, diaper party, inaugurations, Origami Saturday, a Color of Ideas lecture series, community meetings and much more.
“It’s not about real estate”
Another thing you notice: many of the tenants Anderson signs on are small, often minority-owned businesses started by people in the immediate area – and on tight budgets. As he describes the popular vibe of Tyler Station, he stops to add, “You get that it’s not about real estate, right?”
A native of southern Dallas County itself, Anderson is the founder and former chairman of the North Texas Chapter of Congress for New Urbanism, and co-founder of the Incremental Development Alliance, a nonprofit aimed at A small-scale coach, “missing link” real estate developers and an advocate for resident-focused neighborhood development. He is also a former motocross racer who has barely graduated from high school, as well as an outstanding social entrepreneur. many real estate developments include a boutique hotel that was key to triggering the Oak Cliff comeback story.
Make it affordable for low income renters
Anderson explains, âTyler Station is exactly like what we are currently experiencing nationwide with the conversion of all big box locations to office centers. We need to find a way to bring the rent down to a low enough level for the area, while still being high enough per square foot to make the project sustainable. Which for Anderson means without subsidies and without all the usual conditions.
âWe bought Tyler Station in 2016 on a low cost – nobody wanted it. There was environmental contamination, it needed a $ 750,000 roof, it was full of chimney equipment and dead raccoons.
Around this time, he decided to partner with Stash Design, a successful studio specializing in finding and salvaging items for clients wanting a green yet stylish look. Taking 20,000 square feet, Stash Design has become the main tenant and minority partner of the project.
An emerging marketing plan
However, the partners did not embark on the project with a clear marketing plan. âI thought we were going to bring in a bunch of industrial users, a bunch of manufacturers. But he wasn’t the one who showed up, âsays Anderson. âIt’s like when you clean the building for the first time, and then the more you see, the more your ideas change. We just wanted to let the building tell us what it wanted to be.
He takes his practical approach a step further. âI want to teach people to fish, as they say, but for that you have to spend time with them. I mainly work with people who are trying to make $ 250 per month. I let my staff handle the regular business conversations in the office. Where I am needed is in the trenches, to smell it, to taste it. For me, success is seeing others learn to do things, to make them their own. “
“Close where you are”
To achieve this goal, Anderson is known to provide low-interest or no-interest personal loans to entrepreneurs and for entering into rental agreements. âHere’s an important thing – the majority of our tenants are near here and south of Dallas, which has some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. This is exactly what we wanted to see. We first wanted to have an impact on the immediate area, to give them opportunities. “
Translating this goal of localism into one sentence, Anderson simply advises. âClose where you are.
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