South Dallas / Fair Park Initiatives

Located south of downtown across I-30, the neighborhoods of the South Dallas / Fair Park are a diverse mixture of businesses and residential areas, with over 100 years of history.  The crown jewel of the area is Fair Park, home of the annual State Fair of Texas as well as year-round attractions – museums, gardens, concerts and special events.  The historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, one of the country’s oldest and largest stadiums, is home to the annual Red River Showdown between the University of Texas & the University of Oklahoma, the annual State Fair Classic between Prairie View A&M University & Grambling State University, the annual Heart of Dallas Bowl NCAA game, a variety of concerts, festivals, and international soccer matches.  Gexa Energy Pavilion hosts concerts and festivals in an outdoor amphitheater.

In 2009 & 2010, the DART Green Line light rail opened at three stations in South Dallas – Fair Park Station, MLK Station, and Hatcher Station, creating a transit link between downtown Dallas and Fair Park.  In 2012, the MLK & Hatcher DART station areas were included in the Dallas TOD planning process, adopted by Dallas City Council in 2013. The Dallas TOD MLK Station Area Plan and the Dallas TOD Hatcher Station Area Plan recommend improving pedestrian connections, working with developers on catalyst projects, and emphasizing adaptive reuse of existing commercial buildings to revitalize South Dallas / Fair Park neighborhoods.

The Office of Economic Development has an ongoing focus on opportunities in South Dallas / Fair Park.  These efforts are anchored by four tax increment financing (TIF) districts in and around the area – Cedars (1992), Grand Park South (2005), Deep Ellum (2005), and the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) TIF (2008).  The Cedars TIF area has added 151 residential units and 11,000 square feet of retail since 2002, including The Beat at SouthSide Station condominium tower adjacent to the DART Red & Blue Line Cedars Station.  Adjacent to the Cedars TIF is 455-unit SouthSide on Lamar, one of the largest loft conversions in the United States; at over 1 million square feet the former Sears & Roebuck warehouse is also home to several restaurants and live / work spaces.  1400 Belleview, a new residential tower, was completed in August 2014 near the DART station. Across S. Lamar Street is the Jack Evans Dallas Police Headquarters, which opened in 2003.  To the north, the NYLO Dallas South Side Hotel opened in 2012.

The Deep Ellum TIF includes the Exposition Park neighborhood, a collection of historic buildings adjacent to Fair Park with shops, restaurants and loft apartments.  The Grand Park South TIF includes the commercial corridors around the MLK DART Station as well as the south side of Fair Park.  The TOD TIF district includes prime land along the Trinity River Corridor with plans for improved connections to the Cedars DART Station.

The Office of Economic Development also oversees the South Dallas / Fair Park Trust Fund, which offers low-interest loans to ventures that increase business activity and job creation in the area, up to $50,000.

The Department of Housing & Community Services has completed the initial phases of the Bexar Street Village Project, a mixed-use redevelopment in partnership with the East Dallas Community Organization.