The high-density zoning permits mixed land use, with 211 loft apartments, a movie theater, 150,000 square feet of office space, and 183,000 square feet of restaurants and boutiques in the former warehouse. Mixed land use made it possible for the developer to apply a reduced parking credit, while the intensified activities increase the efficiency of the transit system and promote a dense neighborhood.
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However, there are a few barriers that need to be overcome in order for Mockingbird Station to be a connected place. The connectivity to the adjacent land uses is a cause for concern. The residential, retail, and commercial functions are destinations that are not yet accessible for pedestrians from the surrounding neighborhoods, due to the highway and heavily trafficked arterial that presently tend to isolate the areas from each other . Additionally, the pedestrian link that leads from the Mockingbird development across the railway line ends up in a sea of car parks, making pedestrians highly vulnerable to unsafe situations. Pedestrian amenities have been installed in a fragmented fashion, with discontinuous and narrow sidewalks. The design of public spaces is still car-centric. The built form and street interface can be improved by buffering activities occurring on pavements from street-side parking.
The rent for retail space at Mockingbird Station was $40 per square foot, about $15 more than average Dallas retail rents. Residential rent was also higher: $1.52 per square foot, compared to $1.25 in neighboring apartments. The higher rent in the redeveloped area raises concerns about potential gentrification in such projects, where people with money are able to exercise their ‘right to buy’. This results in weakening local networks and a loss of the sense of belonging-aspects that are critical for the development of a connected place. This should be a consideration for the next phase of the Mockingbird project.
Many railway yards servicing the industrial system became redundant and abandoned brownfields in post-industrial cities; others were left isolated when the surrounding land uses became defunct. These yards were strategically located within the inner-city core, so the challenge is to redevelop them as connected places by minimizing gentrification and creating inclusive and equitable places.