Part III: Sub Area One Vision: Texas Stadium

Aerial View of Proposed Sub-Area OneGeneral Intent and Identity

The Texas Stadium area is marked by its strong regional access, visibility, and existing identity as home to the Dallas Cowboys. In spite of these three positive traits, there has been little class A development around the Stadium. Rather, the area has primarily been defined by surface parking lots, and a series of distribution facilities that take advantage of the regional access. As is shown by efforts around other major sports venues across the country, the powerful identity the football franchises and Texas Stadium bring to this area provides an opportunity to create a major mixed-use development positioned around a sports entertainment theme. The uses which would support this concept would include office, hotel, restaurant, retail, entertainment, and urban residential; with a potential physical environment being marked by a focused and dense development combining within a highly visual and exciting experience. Entertainment retail and restaurants could lie at the base of loft residential and office space; the overall district would be defined by striking public spaces, interesting streetscape experiences, shared parking, and direct access to light rail

Physical Plan Recommendations

Proposed Sub-Area One Site PlanSub-Area One Site AnalysisSub-Area 1 has excellent regional access and visibility. However, to fully capitalize on good regional access, the site must also be easily accessible from the immediate freeway system. Unfortunately, both the Texas Stadium site (Sub-Area 1, South) and the Central Freight site (Sub-Area 1, north) are penalized by the lack of connections to the area arterial street network., causing the site access to be identified by the name of the entire site, rather than to streets within the site. This is less than ideal for the development of multiple sites within the sub-area. Further, the proximity to the system interchange facilities (ramps and direct connectors) that create the interface between SH 114, SH 183, Loop12, and Spur 482 limits direct access opportunities. Sub-area 1, north is also penalized by the lack of continuous service roads across the Trinity River. 

These existing deficiencies may be somewhat alleviated or in some cases exacerbated by the improvements to the freeways and interchange that are in the TxDOT project development process. The following discussion is based on the proposed improvements as indicated in schematics provided by the City of Irving.

To provide increased connectivity to the area arterial system and to provide the site with an “addressable” freeway exit, a new direct diamond interchange is proposed on SH-114 between Spur-482 and Loop 12. This interchange will serve a new road that connects the existing Texas Plaza Bridge to Century Center Boulevard that exists east of Spur-482. The location of the SH-114 overpass will be near the existing pedestrian overpass which would be removed. To minimize the land needed for this interchange, it will be necessary to raise the service roads to accommodate the diamond intersections above the grade of SH-114. Redevelopment of the sub-area with multi-level structured parking and the incorporation of site access through the internal circulation system rather than the service roads makes this option viable. 

The internal sites in the sub-area will be accessed through a supporting system of two and four-lane roads which are accessed by the service roads and the Texas Plaza/Century Center Connection. Since the northern portion of Sub-Area 1 is being bisected by the light rail line, it is necessary that the internal streets cross the light rail line to provide full access within the site. At-grade crossings are possible but the vertical alignment of the light rail line may present opportunities for relatively inexpensive grade –separated crossings.

Light Rail Alignment and Station Area

Texas Stadium Station Area PlanThe light rail alignment through this area has been planned to accommodate a range of future uses on the properties north of SH-114, ranging in scale from a new stadium to smaller commercial development. It bisects this collection of properties nearly at their midpoint and allows for initial development to occur to the north of the rail. The physical treatment of the rail bed in this area is envisioned to follow the traditional DART model consisting of ballast with a chain link fence defining the corridor until it reaches the station area. 

In this area it is intended that a wrought iron fence with masonry piers each fence segment be added to give a more architectural treatment around the station interface area. 

The recommended light rail alignment in Sub-Area 1 will include elevated, at-grade, and below-grade sections as it proceeds through the site. The elevated profile near the flood control levee will afford the opportunity to connect the Federal Express site to the service road system on Spur-482 with at grade driveways. DART engineering studies indicate a dynamic envelope within which to locate the alignment and light rail station. The recommended alignment is on an east-west tangent alignment, ideal for the proposed station site in the center of Sub-Area 1, north.

Station Design 

It is envisioned that this station should utilize DART’s vaulting canopy design; with detail design enhancements as seating, trash bins, light fixtures, signage and artwork referencing the entertainment and identity related to the football stadium. This station should be designed to accommodate 4 light rail cars, and is intended to serve as a commuter and bus transfer facility. As such, it is intended that development in the area should contain requirements for transit parking; and a separate parking garage be built within a 1000 feet which would serve DART as well as the stadium.

Technical Aspects 

This at-grade station shall be designed in accordance with local codes and ordinances and guidelines. The DART Design Criteria Manual Volume 1 -- Facilities Design shall be used to determine the appropriate site development layouts and access to platforms. This station poses the challenge of accommodating large numbers of Texas Stadium game patrons; multiple platforms are recommended to provide for large passenger loads. Roof canopies are approximately one-third the length of each platform. Both covered and uncovered portions of the platforms will be lighted.

Special Features

A Public Open Space Adjacent to the Light Rail Platform

Adjacent to the light rail platform to the north is envisioned a large public gathering space to both give identity to the adjacent development as well as create a distinctive experience around the platform itself. This open space should take the form of a large lawn defined by street trees.

A New Development Parcel at the Stadium Area

In the event that Texas Stadium will continue to occupy its present site in the long term, it is recommended that a development parcel be created to allow for stadium-positioned development to accentuate the stadium while giving strong visual presence to SH-114 and SH-183. This development should be defined by a public plaza and should connect via a pedestrian and vehicular bridge across SH-114 to create both a physical and perceptive connection between the two sites.

Streetscape and Building Forms

Urban design guidelines need to be developed in order to help in the implementation of the recommended vision for the district. All development is recommended to be based on a gridded street system in which buildings play an active role in the streetscape environment. As such, buildings are allowed a small setback, and higher lot coverage than currently allowed by zoning.

Land Use and Zoning 

Land Use Vision

Sub-Area 1 calls for a mix of land uses that support and enhance an identity as a mixed use destination for entertainment and commercial uses. Preferred land use functions include entertainment uses, large floor plate retail uses, office uses, hotel uses, as well as civic and cultural facilities. Loft residential housing is appropriate as secondary to other uses in this sub-area. Distribution facilities and large surface parking areas may likely continue as interim uses. However, any new uses of this type should be encouraged to locate north of the light rail line.

Existing Zoning: Uses 

The existing zoning for Texas Stadium proper is a combination of S-P and S-P-1 Site Plan zoning. North of S.H. 114 the remainder of Sub-Area 1 has existing zoning that is mostly a combination of ML-20 Light Industrial zoning and R-40 zoning. The R-40 property would presumably be rezoned in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan prior to any development.

The ML-20 category allows a variety of moderately intense industrial and distribution/transportation uses. It does not permit retail uses, entertainment uses, hotel uses or residential uses. Accordingly, the current zoning poses an impediment to the development or redevelopment of the sub-area in accordance with the vision outlined above. The mismatch between the existing zoning and the recommended development in terms of land uses is set out in the table below.

Sub-Area 1 Existing Zoning and Uses

Existing Zoning: Form

The existing ML-20 zoning was programmed to accommodate suburban light industrial parks designed around automobile access, rather than transit access. It defines a form of development no more than 50 feet or three stories in height, with 30 feet front yard setbacks. A comparison of the form permitted under the existing zoning and the proposed form recommended by this Study is set forth in the table on the side. 

The proposed form is divided into two columns. The proposed development form for that property that is within 1,200 feet of the rail station warrants separate treatment and development parameters so that the station area can function efficiently and take on the character of a true transit node. This format is carried through on similar charts for each of the sub-areas.
Sub-Area 1 Existing Zoning and Physical Form
Economic Analysis and Recommendations

Sub-Area 1 is outside of the TIF zone and therefore produces no revenue for the tax increment fund (TIF), but it produces other revenue for the City. This study’s economic analysis component estimates the volume of future construction in Sub-Areas One and Two combined and the value of that construction in horizon year 2030, for each of three alternative development scenarios. The City receives real property tax, business personal property tax, sales tax and hotel occupancy tax, each of which depends on development. In general, these taxes have been estimated for the entire study area, rather than by sub-area.

The economic analysis component originally treated Sub-Areas 1 and 2 in combination for estimating value and revenue because they share the attributes of being outside the TIF zone and in the Irving school district. A subsequent analysis evaluated separately the annual development volumes, appraised values and revenue from real property tax, business personal property tax, sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for each sub-area, at least for the Preferred Plan projection.

Envisioned Development Program

The Preferred Plan projection and its West Branch alternative are the same for this sub-area. They would add an estimated 3.0 million square feet of floor area by 2030. The nature of much of the office space in this area is assumed to be flexible, much like warehouse space, so the appraised value per square foot is about half the Urban Center value. 

Actual development of the sub-area could be magnitudes more or less than assumptions, depending on the vision and resources of the few owners, new freeway access or lack thereof and market acceptance of the sub-area. 
Uncertain plans for Texas Stadium or its replacement impact financial models. The analysis assumes the existing stadium or a stadium with a similar footprint elsewhere in the sub-area remains exempt from property tax.

The 1999 TIF financing plan made no projection for this sub-area since it is outside the TIF zone. Nevertheless, the “TIF Projection” alternative means a projection based on the 1999 TIF plan, adjusted in 2000 by Stein Planning and Management to include continued development without transit. This was necessary for a comparative analysis of City revenue from the whole study area. Schedule INV-1 shows assumed ultimate potential construction volumes and derivations for the TIF Projection. 

In the TIF Projection, 2.7 million square feet of construction are added to Sub-Areas 1 and 2 combined (from Schedule CVV-1-IISD-south) by year 2030. The other projections add 6.4 million square feet by that year.

Economic Yields

For Sub-Area 1 and 2 combined, the estimated value of real property improvements since 2000 is about $720 million, based on the Preferred Plan. The counterpart value with the TIF Projection is $285 million. (Schedule CITY-1-a). 

Real property tax probably will be the major source of new City revenue from the sub-area. See Appendix for rough estimates of City revenues from taxes affecting Sub-Area 1, given Preferred Plan assumptions.

Implementation Recommendations

Transportation and Utilities

The implementation of the highway, street, and utility improvements in this sub-area will require an exceptionally high degree of agency coordination. There are several agencies and companies whose facilities will be affected. Coordination during project development and design phases is critical. In addition to the major changes in the highway system, there are drainage facilities and power transmission lines that must be accommodated. Funding of all necessary improvements will also rely on agency coordination, cooperation, and creativity. Since highway improvements in the are already in project development stages, the opportunity exists for coordinated plan development and funding.

Land Use/Zoning

The following is a list of issues that should be addressed by the City when implementing the recommended land use vision for Sub-Area 1:

a) Land use functions appropriate to implement desired character for the area.

b) Physical forms appropriate to the various land use functions.

c) Discrepancies between desired functions and functions permitted by current regulations.
Appropriate uses currently not permitted.
Inappropriate uses currently permitted.

d) Discrepancies between desired form of development and existing regulations. 
Desired forms currently prohibited.
Inappropriate forms currently permitted. 

e) Other impediments to desired form and function.

f) Strategies for resolving discrepancies and impediments.

Economic Analysis/Phasing

Based on estimated values of only new construction appraised for the first time from 2001 through 2030, Sub-Areas 1 and 2 combined might produce a cumulative $17 million of real property tax for the City, given the TIF projection (Schedule CITY 1-a). These sub-areas might produce $42 million of cumulative real property tax from new construction initially appraised during those same years, given the Preferred Plan or West Branch projections. Total City tax on new development in the same period would be about $37 million from Sub-Area 1 alone. 

Timing of development is significant for financial analysis. This Sub-Area could remain substantially unchanged for decades or it could change quickly. Early development could contribute more revenue than a similar or greater volume of development later.