An Irving project that's long been considered a game-changer for Las Colinas is opening its doors.
More than a decade in the making, Water Street complex is expected to add more life to one of North Texas' biggest office districts. The Water Street takes its cues from other mixed-use projects including Legacy West, CityLine and Mockingbird Station.
The development on O'Connor Boulevard east of State Highway 114 is bringing more than 60,000 square feet of shops and restaurants and hundreds of apartments to a lakeside site in the Las Colinas Urban Center.
"We already have about 20 residents who've moved in," said Katy Slade, area vice president with developer Gables Residential.
Gables has traditionally built high-end rental communities in Dallas' Uptown district. Just before the recession hit, the developer purchased 14 acres on Lake Carolyn in Las Colinas. After two years of construction, the first apartment building at Water Street is ready for tenants.
"We brought our typical Gables Uptown quality to Las Colinas," Slade said. "About 60 percent of the apartments have water views."
With the smallest studio apartments at less than 700 square feet, rents in the Water Street complex begin near $1,300 a month and go up to about $3,250 for a three-bedroom, two-bath home. The first 140-unit building is finished on the east side of the project.
"We've had an incredible amount of traffic from people coming in and wanting to see it," Slade said. "Where else can you get this in Dallas? It's incredible to be on the water."
With the apartments stretching along the lakeshore, most of the retail space is in a series of small buildings along O'Connor Boulevard. About 65 percent of the retail spaces at Water Street are leased, Slade said.
"Two-thirds of it is restaurant-focused," she said. "We have a wide range of restaurants from sandwich and breakfast locations all the way to fine dining. Our focus is on being a place people can come on a daily and weekly basis."
Almost 1,900 apartments are under construction in the Las Colinas-Irving market, according to Richardson-based RealPage. But Water Street is the only project with such a large amount of retail.
The addition of so much retail space in the same area with millions of square feet of offices has been a draw for relocating companies.
So far this year, Las Colinas has been one of the top business districts in North Texas for company moves from both the area and out of town. Real estate brokers who are pitching the area to businesses have been touting the new retail space at Water Street and the nearby Music Factory development.
"This is definitely something we've been very excited about," said Josh Hedderich, senior vice president with Parmenter Realty Partners, which is just finishing up a multimillion-dollar renovation of three office buildings near the Water Street site.
"Having more walkable amenities out there not only with Water Street but also the Music Factory will create a very dynamic environment," Hedderich said.
Gables Residential's Slade said the first retail storefronts at Water Street will open around Thanksgiving. Two wings of the shopping village will front on a large central park area that leads down to the lakefront.
"We make sure the public areas are very strong and have a great experience for everyone," Slade said.
An elevated transit system station will open in March, connecting Water Street to office buildings in the area and the nearby DART commuter rail station.
Gables has even retained a small building site at the west side of Water Street where the developer could potentially add a high-rise.
"We are evaluating the market — it gives us a lot of options," Slade said.
Presented by Dallas Morning News, November 3, 2017