Two Las Colinas projects will bring new energy to a longtime Irving office and apartment district.
The Las Colinas Urban Center at Carpenter Freeway and O’Connor Boulevard dates back to the 1970s and has one of the largest concentrations of office space in North Texas. In the last 10 years, developers have also built thousands of high-end apartments in the area surrounding Lake Carolyn and along DART’s commuter rail line.
But the Urban Center has always been light on retail and restaurant space.
That’s about to change.
The $173 million Music Factory mixed-use project on Carpenter Freeway will bring an entertainment center, restaurants and retail space.
And the more than $100 million Water Street project on O’Connor and Lake Carolyn adds more than 60,000 square feet of shops and eateries plus more than 300 apartments.
Both developments have been delayed for years but should begin opening in 2017.
Property owners in the area and city officials are hoping that the Music Factory and Water Street will give Las Colinas a boost in attracting business, residents and visitors.
“The Irving Music Factory is a game-changer for Irving and Las Colinas,” said Matt Brendel, development partner with apartment builder JPI.
JPI, which has its headquarters in the Urban Center, has two new apartment communities under construction in the area. The developer’s 371-unit Jefferson Riverside apartments on the corner of Riverside Drive and Northwest Highway will start opening early next year.
And JPI’s Jefferson on Lake Carolyn apartments on Lake Carolyn Parkway and California Crossing have 422 units and will open next summer.
Brendel said the construction of new retail, restaurant and entertainment venues will help bring more residents to the Urban Center.
“The Irving community has been missing that true entertainment and lifestyle destination,” he said. “Our residents desire a true live, work and play environment.”
Developer Gables Residential’s Water Street project on Lake Carolyn will begin opening next summer, Gables development director Katy Slade said.
Four restaurants — Olivella’s Pizzeria, Twisted Root Burger Bar, Main Street Bistro & Bakery, The Londoner Pub and Planet Sub — have been announced for the waterside retail area.
“We have several new leases that will be announced in the coming weeks,” Slade said. “Opportunistic retailers see the growing residential and daytime populations that are underserved” by retail and restaurants.
“Gables Water Street will be a go-to place for residents and visitors to spend leisure time – whether going for a stroll along the lake after a delicious meal, stand-up paddleboarding with friends or enjoying a spa experience,” she said. “Our residents want to live in great places and continue to make housing decisions based on shorter trips to entertainment, work and daily activities.”
Like other business parks and developments planned in the 1970s and 1980s, Las Colinas wasn’t designed with large retail components.
Since then, projects all over North Texas have included or added these features.
The city of Irving provided millions of dollars in financial incentives to get the Music Factory out of the ground. It’s next door to the city’s convention center.
The 250,000-square-foot Music Factory includes an eight-screen Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 8,000-seat Live Nation indoor/outdoor concert hall, other entertainment venues, restaurants and specialty eateries.
There is also 100,000 square feet of office space that’s fully leased.
Contractor Skanska USA will have the first Music Factory buildings ready next summer, general superintendent Dan Mortimer said.
“Right now we are putting the foundations and starting the structure for the parking garage and office building,” Mortimer said. “The amphitheater is also under construction.
“We got hurt a little bit from the wet weather, but we have been able to make up some time.”
Mortimer said the project is being built for pedestrians.
“It’s going to be a real good place to sit outside and enjoy music and eat,” he said. “Personally I hope it will be well-received.”
North Carolina-based ARK Group is developing the Music Factory, which has signed up restaurants Gloria’s, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant and Thirsty Lion Gastropub.
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