Monday, April 7, 2014

Raytheon. Mixed-Use? By What Definition?

Source: The Dallas Morning News.

This is what Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka said when Raytheon announced plans to build a 490,000-square-foot office campus near the Bush Turnpike DART station:
We are also excited about this addition to KDC's CityLine project, which is poised to become one of the region's premier mixed-use developments, anchored by outstanding corporate citizens.

After the jump, questioning the mayor.

Take another look at the photo released as part of the announcement. What makes this mixed-use? At least the huge State Farm office buildings next door put the parking in a garage and promise to have at least some retail space in the ground floor of the office buildings.

The Raytheon office building looks to have no retail and is surrounded by acres of concrete for car parking. Despite the fact that the new office will be located less than a mile from a DART station, plans for the Raytheon development look like a typical 1980s corporate campus built with the assumption that employees will arrive by car in the morning and return by car in the evening. If they walk anywhere, morning, noon, or night, it's only to their cars.

Now, it's possible that the photo that accompanied the story on The Dallas Morning News blog isn't exactly what will eventually be built by Raytheon on the site. The plan that accompanied the story doesn't seem to show any place for a building like the one in the photo. OTOH, the plan also doesn't show anything that suggests any of the new construction will be mixed-use, either. It's all either office or multi-family or a separated retail center, but nothing mixed-use.

By the way, the City Plan Commission already approved changes to the master plan for the site "removing minor collector streets between the State Highway 190 Access Road and CityLine [aka Infocom] Dr." It's just such "collector" streets that help make a neighborhood walkable. Without them, car traffic is forced onto the arterials, making them more hostile to pedestrians who are forced there as well. Look at the photo again. Do you think Raytheon is thinking about walkability in this new development at all?

What is it about mixed-use, transit-oriented development that Richardson doesn't get? City leaders may talk a big game, but whenever a big client comes calling, cities fold and we end up with the same-old, same-old.

1 comment:

Sassy Texan said...

Some more detaileddiscussion might be warranted if you read the TIF2 documents. What is declared in them is far from what is happening. Quite out of line with your definition of mixed use. And most definitely inline with Agenda 21 cause they practically tell you so. But that is off topic.

The ability to sweep away millions declared for a portion of the project that does not exist is improper.

Since we only get annual reporting in Richardson where other cities do quarterly and some like Plano monthly, it will be a long wait to get the actual data and what monies are to be swept beyond the over reaching and non-disclosed G&A.

It is a sad day in the origins of a Republic in Texas that a very few can quietly meet and decide and let the voters know later what their actual intentions are going to be. But this is Richardson. Nothing new here.