By Kevin Thornton
Las Colinas is growing. Soon there will be a new urban center built along Lake Carolyn. Starting in late 2014, a series of apartment complexes and restaurants will be constructed alongside the lake. Water Street, as it has been named, will span six acres and include a plaza overlooking the famed sculpture, “Mustangs of Las Colinas.”
Water Street will feature locations of Olivella’s Neo Pizza Napoletana, Twisted Root Burger Co. and The Londoner Pub. The DART Orange Line will also run directly to Water Street.
The proposal for the creation of a new urban center was unanimously approved by a 9-0 vote in September 2012.
“We needed a home run on this one and we got one,” said John Bazan, then-director of Irving Civic Affairs, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.
Water Street will contain over 341 brand new apartments, and 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, according to the Irving Chamber of Commerce.
“We are excited to bring forward projects that will revitalize, and spark urban life,” said Doug Janeway, business affairs director for the city of Irving.
“The folks in this area have been wanting this project for a long time, especially the business leaders,” he said.
The project will cost the city approximately $125 million.
“The developer, Gables Residential, will build Water Street and then Irving will use tax incremental financing to reimburse them,” explained Janeway.
Yet Las Colinas residents were originally anticipating quite a different urban development center. Initially, plans included a boutique hotel, office space and a movie theater.
Janeway does not feel that the new plans are a step back from the original ones.
“We would prefer to have a very dense project, but you have to face market realities,” Janeway said. “Long-term success depends on the right project. While we would like to have bigger and better, this project is certainly worthwhile for us.”
Water Street may draw attention because of its location. “Mustangs of Las Colinas” is the largest equestrian sculpture in the world. Created by Robert Glen, the sculpture has gained fame through its artistic depiction of the horses as a representation of Texans’ drive and freedom.
Another draw to the area is Lake Carolyn. This popular lake has gondolas, stand up paddleboarding and paddle boats.
The Water Street project is just one of many ongoing development projects that are aimed at turning Irving into a hub of both corporate businesses and exciting places to go. UD students may play a central role in the area’s popularity as Irving begins to enhance the corporate business districts near campus.