Two Texas Master-Planned Communities Evolve Beyond Office Uses at Las Colinas and Cypress Waters

Attendees of ULI’s 2022 Fall Meeting in Dallas will have the chance to visit two master-planned communities northwest of the city’s downtown: Las Colinas and Cypress Waters. Both began life with unusually large office components as part of their mix and have evolved to encompass a wider range of uses.

“A lot of mixed-use master-planned communities have a strip center or a grocery-anchored retail center on the corner, and maybe a couple of office buildings, but most of the land is dedicated to single-family housing and amenities,” says Tim Glass, director of strategic planning for the Las Colinas Association. “Both Las Colinas and Cypress Waters are very heavily weighted towards corporate development. The residential side is very important, but it’s almost a complementary use.”

Both communities also involved substantial public private partnerships. Las Colinas was planned in the early 1970s on 12,000 acres (4,860 ha) of land. “A lot of Las Colinas is built on a reclaimed floodplain, so a tremendous amount of work had to be done, sculpting the land to make it buildable,” Glass says. “It’s an amazing civil engineering project that required a tax increment finance district to help finance the work.”

The Dallas City Council created a tax increment finance district for the 1,000-acre (400 ha) Cypress Waters in 2010. “The city brought a multijurisdictional approach to connecting this area, the site of a decommissioned power plant and cooling lake, which was not really connected to the rest of the city,” Glass says.

The tour will start at Las Colinas Urban Center, which has grown over the last 10 years to encompass a broader mix, including significant residential uses. The city of Irving recently revitalized Williams Square Plaza at the urban center’s heart and restored the Mustangs of Las Colinas, bronze sculptures of horses that serve as a symbol for the community. “The renovations turned a 1980s-era open granite plaza into a soft, lush environment while still respecting the original vision,” Glass says.

Read the full story at Urban Land.