returning space to nature & people (sorry big yellow taxi)
Far North Dallas is a diverse collective of neighborhoods that offer residents a wide variety of housing types, recreational amenities and access to highly sought-after Richardson Public Schools. Vibrant community associations and neighborhood affinity groups established the area as a worthy candidate for community investment and growth.
Hillcrest Village Shopping Center serves far north Dallas and was until recently an underutilized shopping center equi-distant between Richardson and Addison. Located at the northwest corner of Hillcrest and Arapaho, the center was characterized by one and two-story commercial buildings containing an array of retail and office tenants. During 2018, District 12 Representative Sandy Greyson heeded community concerns over the sluggish shopping center and possible multi-family redevelopment on the site and embarked on a quest to create community through a public private partnership (P3).
The underutilization of Hillcrest Village provided an opportunity for both the City of Dallas and SHOP Companies to reframe the shopping center as a community destination. The City of Dallas Department of Parks and Recreation engaged TBG Partners to perform a site analysis and actively engage the neighborhood to identify community priorities. TBG Partners’ design process included public engagement meetings and forums that ensured local citizens were direct contributors to TBG’s newly envisioned Hillcrest Village Shopping Center design. Constituents of District 12 were asked to provide input during the discovery process and vote on program elements and amenity priorities they felt met the needs of their community. Direct community input as the center of TBG’s discovery process was critical to informing the landscape design of the center and establishing Hillcrest Village Park as a community engagement space in and for the community it serves.
Funded by the 2017 Bond issuance and private reinvestment, the 1.5-acre park and retail combination will welcome, engage, and entertain visitors. Additionally, this new park supports The City of Dallas’ objective of establishing park space within a 10-minute walk of adjacent community members. The newly imagined Hillcrest Village Shopping Center supports Dallas City Hall’s Quality of Life Objectives and provides restaurant and retail services and jobs to the community. Activated park promenades will provide activities and opportunities for community interaction. A programmable central lawn will be framed by a community playground, stage area, and public art sculpture. A direct connection between retail outlets and Hillcrest Village Park creates a safe environment for citizens and allows visitors to benefit from activities in and around the park. The park is designed to create a seamless experience for visitors as the park supports active integration of commercial uses with park open space. The park will include public restrooms, passive seating, a reading room, play area, as well as, opportunities for outdoor games and activities. Vehicular circulation is provided on the periphery of the site while strong pedestrian connections within and around the site will encourage community members to actively participate in the fabric of far North Dallas.
Hillcrest Village is a unique example of how the City of Dallas, SHOP and TBG were able re-envision an asphalt parking area into the future civic heart of a Far North Dallas community. It’s been almost 50 years since Joni Mitchell reflected on the growing trend in US development – “to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.” Perhaps the City of Dallas, SHOP Companies and TBG Partners are changing the tune of future shopping center development by valuing “what we got,” an invaluable resource in the voices of the citizens who choose to, instead, tear up the pavement and put the park back in parking lot.