A Win for the Knox Neighborhood

This is an update to our report in April about changes coming to Knox.

knox conversion new

Some exciting news for the Knox neighborhood: Knox Street will be going on a diet within a year!  Despite some resistance from businesses interests, Knox Street will soon be a safer, less aggressive, more pedestrian friendly place.  With the influx of people who live in the neighborhood and visitors alike, the sidewalks will now be expanded to meet the growing needs of our thriving neighborhood.  Parking will be reconfigured at an angle and crosswalks will become larger.  It’s wonderful to see some of the 2012 bond money being spent in an area that is growing the tax base.  As the desire for more walkable neighborhoods in creases, Phillip Kingston is leading the way to rich and vibrant urban neighborhoods.

Some are slower to depart from the car culture, but I hope that the investment in the vitality of our local neighborhood will show these businesses that better walk scores equal more local shoppers and attract more visitors alike.  For some, it’s hard to understand why shoppers would travel to an area without large surface parking lots or multi lane roads, but to millennials, the attraction is clear.  Neighborhoods with character, charm, personality, and reduced traffic/parking are where its at.  I was disappointed to hear Sonny Williams, owner of the Highland Park Soda Fountain say this is “a feel-good proposal in my opinion for a group that does not care about Dallas’ past or history.”  Most of us moved to the Knox neighborhood for its unique historic character and charm.  We enjoy living in a walkable, urban neighborhood, and we do care deeply about Knox.  Many of us have lived here for longer than he’s owned the Soda Fountain, and it’s precisely because of the neighborhood’s historic character.  Others in opposition were Blake Weir (Weirs furniture) and Diane Nabholtz (Chuys & Mattress Firm).  Blake called the turning lane a “suicide lane”…I’m not sure that a designated turning lane will be quite that perilous.  I think it will make turning safer and will alleviate the need for cars to suddenly, without warning, dart out and around a turning vehicle.  I think everyone is in agreement that the angled parking will be an improvement.  As councilwoman Gates said, no more “close your eyes and start backing up slowly and hope no one backs into you.”  I believe this reduction of lanes will discourage those who use Knox as a shortcut, which should make room for residents as well as those visiting our neighborhood to shop and dine.

It has been interesting year and I’ve enjoyed seeing our younger council members like Griggs, Kingston and Gates embrace progressive ideas of less auto centric culture and promote rich urban neighborhoods.  Maybe we can teach some of these old dogs a few new tricks and lead the way for Dallas neighborhoods.  Neighborhoods first my friends.

A link to the Dallas Morning News article: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160824-knox-street-to-go-from-four-lanes-to-three-to-the-chagrin-of-some-mainstays1.ece

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Upcoming development at McKinney and Monticello

The north end of the Knox neighborhood is getting a lot of love these days.  With the complete transformation of Corner Bar to Chelsea Corner, the success of Henry’s Majestic, and the expected influx of residents over the next 24 months this should become a vibrant retail corner.

Chelsea Corner update:  The Chelsea Corner concept being executed by Kent Rathbun and Len Critcher has gained momentum.  This now looks like it will be a complete rebuild of the building.  The exterior is being saved which should preserve the character of a space which holds a special place for many people over several decades.  Most people who spent any of their 20’s in Dallas have memories of this location.  From our understanding, Chelsea Corner will be a food and bar concept with more emphasis on food that when it was Corner Bar.  The completely reconfigured space will allow for a more functional kitchen while retaining the character of this vintage building.

Henry’s Majestic:  I think it’s safe to say that Henry’s Majestic and Atwater Alley have locked up the northeast retail corner.  Previous tenants were unable to establish an identity with staying power.  Since making its debut in the fall of 2014, Henry’s Majestic has attracted a following of young Dallasites from the Knox-Henderson area and has established itself as a go-to spot for locals.  We especially like the large, dog-friendly patio.  In a neighborhood with (what seems like) one dog for every two residents, dog-friendly establishments are warmly embraced.

Brian’s Wine:  This place has been around for a while, but it has quietly become a neighborhood favorite catering to those with an affinity for fine wines and a desire to relax in a low-key environment.  This is the place to head if you appreciate wine, good conversation with neighbors, and a refuge from the masses of people who have over-run lower Mckinney Ave bars.

Hola? :  So this one has been closed for years and to be honest, I had to reach out within my office to find someone who remembered it.  It was a Spanish themed tapas bar that has  been closed for at least the last decade.  However, the space is prime for a new development.  The building has character and the potential for an amazing patio.  This is the southwest corner of the intersection.  Once the nearby residential developments and Chelsea Corner are complete, I expect there will be a full scale renovation in this space.  I’m not aware of an players eyeing this space, but the space will be a prime location within the next 12 months.  (There may also be other factors including the development in the pipeline just south of this location.)

The Chateau:  This condo complex (4805 McKinney) has been in play for a couple of years.  A development company may have bought out all 32 units and may be planning multifamily in this space.  A zoning change sign has recently appeared on this property.  This property houses a mix of renters and owner occupied.  Some of the renters are junk collecting and have a history with visits from DPD for all types of complaints including drug possession, domestic disputes, code violations, etc..  The size of this lot could make for a very large development of multifamily or mixed use which would also contribute to the revitalization of this corner of the Knox neighborhood.

The McKenzie: This luxury building will be 22 stories tall and contain 183 luxury units.  It is already well under construction and is located just north of the McKinney and Monticello intersection.  This building looks to be very high end with larger units that will likely rent for $3.50-$4.25 per foot.  This demonstrates the confidence of developers that this area is transitioning to dense, high end residential and retail.  I expect that we will be seeing more of this type of development in the Knox neighborhood as land costs and demand continue to rise over the next few years.  The developer has a few renderings available here The McKenzie by Streetlights Residential, and from the looks of it, we’re quite excited.

These developments, as well as others nearby, are changing this part of the Knox neighborhood for the better.  The increased density of quality multifamily is attracting high quality tenants for both residential and retail to create a rich, organic neighborhood experience for the residents of the Knox area.