Nov 10, 2022 - News

Dallas' deck parks become inspiration for Atlanta

A 2020 shot of what the view from Klyde Warren looked like. Photo: Rebecca Smeyne/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Klyde Warren Park appears to have spurred more office and residential development in Dallas than other Sun Belt cities experienced since 2012, per an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Driving the news: Atlanta has three proposed "lidding" projects over highways similar to Dallas' burgeoning deck park system, prompting the Fed to analyze whether constructing the 10-year-old downtown park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway sparked economic growth.

Why it matters: Dallas has a second deck park nearing completion over Interstate 35E south of downtown and plans for another over Interstate 30 to join the city's center to the Cedars neighborhood as part of the massive redevelopment of the convention center.

  • Voters just approved a measure to increase the hotel tax to pay for over $1 billion in bonds to pay for a new Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and renovations at Fair Park.

Details: The Atlanta Fed compared the six years before and after construction of Klyde Warren Park to see if the pace of other development grew.

  • The researcher used six other Sunbelt Cities — Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, Nashville and San Antonio — as a control group.

By the numbers: Dallas added 50% more square feet of office space in the six years after the park was built compared to the six years before and two times as many multifamily units.

  • Compared to other Texas cities, Dallas' multifamily construction grew 42% faster.
  • Dallas did even better when compared to all the other six cities, with 51% faster multifamily construction.

The intrigue: Many highways actually tore neighborhoods apart when they were constructed, a problem the federal infrastructure bill plans to fix through its Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program.

  • The program is funded with $1 billion over five years for updating or removing any transit routes, including highways and railways, that act as barriers in communities.

Zoom in: Dallas leaders say Southern Gateway Park over I-35E will reconnect Oak Cliff, including the remnants of a remaining Freedman's Town.

  • Construction has been finished on the deck structure that will serve as the foundation for the 5-acre park, which is slated to open in 2024.

Yes, but: These projects are expensive and have been paid for in Dallas through public-private partnerships.

The bottom line: Though constructing deck parks and burying highways is expensive, the projects appear to draw new residents and businesses to the area without detracting from growth in other neighborhoods in the city.

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