Source: Writing for Designers.
You didn't know Richardson even has an "Interurban District?" You're probably not alone. It's the area east of Central Expressway and west of the DART rail line from Greer St north to Rayflex Dr. The current conditions and the future vision for the Interurban District were spelled out in the City of Richardson's "Main Street/Central Expressway Study" of January, 2013.
Vibrant, mixed-use district. Eclectic live/work neighborhood. Loft apartments. Sounds great, doesn't it? Bring it on. After the jump, the first sign of redevelopment of the Interurban District.The Interurban District could become a vibrant, mixed-use district that builds upon the existing block structure and buildings in the area. Today's industrial/commercial district, made up of tilt wall and block masonry buildings dating from the 1960's to the 1980's, could transform into an eclectic live/work neighborhood through reuse of the existing building stock for specialty industrial, commercial, retail/ restaurant and residential uses. Vacant and underutilized parcels could be redeveloped into urban housing in the form of loft apartments and live-work units.
Source: City of Richardson.
Judging from Monday night's Richardson City Council meeting, you'd think the construction crews are ready to turn those aging buildings into "edgy," "repurposed," "live/work units." On Monday night, the council unanimously approved a zoning change to allow the reconstruction of the AutoNation Volkswagen dealership in the heart of the Interurban District.
Source: City of Richardson.
There it is. Gaze on it. Study it. Describe it. Edgy? Eclectic? Mixed-use? How about... Out with the 1960s, in with the 1980s?
Sometimes I wonder why the city even goes through the exercise of conducting a study, soliciting resident inputs, imagining all the greater and best uses that the properties in Richardson could be put to, only to lie down for the first car dealer to come along. Then again, maybe I shouldn't wonder why the city council behaves this way...
I guess we can still hope for better things for the "Main Street District" to the immediate south and the "Chinatown District" to the immediate east. But really, what developer is going to look at this new car dealership and think, yeah, that's just the kind of neighbor I want for the new edgy, eclectic, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development that Richardson's "Interurban District" market is ripe for? No one, I'm afraid. The Interurban District is now where hopes for Richardson redevelopment go to die. If the district were an automobile, you just might have to say the city council bought a lemon.Every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse.
Source: Don Draper, Mad Men.