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Irving replacing Cowboys stadium with TOD

Sports don’t boost economy

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The City of Irving demolished the old Dallas Cowboys football stadium this week, and local officials intend to turn the site “into the densest, most walkable neighborhood in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex outside of downtown Dallas,” according to Fast Company.

The article reports that local officials are not sad to see the stadium go, and that Irving makes more money leasing the site to the Texas Department of Transportation than it ever did from Texas Stadium. TxDOT is currently leasing the site to expand the surrounding freeways. The article also notes that a number of sports economists have found that contrary to some claims, sports stadiums do not drive economic development.

In the stadium’s place will be light rail and transit-oriented development, a plan that was first developed ten years ago. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange Line will run straight through the old stadium site, connecting downtown Dallas to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and officials hope billions of dollars of private investment will follow.

Fast Company states:

What’s most interesting about Irving’s plans to added density in its last undeveloped corner is the tacit admission that Las Colinas’s gold-plated office parks and single-family homes are no longer enough. “The piece that has always been missing from Las Colinas is the human density that’s missing on weekends and at nights,” says [Maura] Gast [executive director of the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau]. The reason for adding that piece is an eminently practical one—it’s what those corporate tenants, their workers and developers all want. Irving is embracing transit-oriented development because it thinks it can make money doing it.

But the article also notes that city officials have little control over what actually gets built around the Orange Line. Complicating matters is the DART funding shortage, which means the Orange Line might be delayed significantly. Finally, the stadium is surrounded by three intersecting freeways, which TxDOT is currently widening and which may limit the area’s development potential.

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