Downtown News

Downtown Dallas deck park gets more acres and a shnazzy visitor center

Downtown Dallas deck park gets more acres and a snazzy visitor center

Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park will get bigger and more visitor-friendly if that is even possible. Photo by Thomas McConnell

Downtown Dallas' deck park Klyde Warren Park is getting an update that will expand its size and add a visitors' center.

According to a release, 1.2 acres will be added over Woodall Rodgers Freeway, just west of St. Paul Street, to be used for a 20,000-square-foot pavilion that will house a state-of-the-art VisitDallas Experience Center.

This visitor center will be unlike any other in the U.S., fusing "best in class" customer service with interactive technology that tells the Dallas story.

The expansion will include additional green spaces and public gathering spots and allow the privately-operated park to offer more programs, adding to the 1,300-plus free programs and events it already provides annually.

The estimated $76 million project is from a partnership between the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation (WRPF) and VisitDallas, to complete the original vision of Klyde Warren Park. Design and construction will begin in 2019, with completion anticipated as early as 2022.

"This project fulfills the vision we outlined when we began talking about decking over Woodall Rodgers a decade ago, and it is the next step in improving the connectivity of the Park and the Arts District with the West End, Victory Park, and the Perot Museum," says Jody Grant, chairman of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. "The VisitDallas Experience Center will add to the allure of downtown, and the pavilion will be a multi-use facility that allows the Park to offer an indoor venue for special event rentals and point of purchase opportunities."

The VisitDallas Experience Center will serve as "concierge" to the city, offering a place to pick up a jersey or VIP tickets to sports team events or last-minute deals on theater seats.

The space will transform seasonally to showcase annual events from the Byron Nelson to the State Fair to one-off events like the Women's Final Four.

The 5.2-acre, $110 million Klyde Warren Park opened in October 2012 and since then has welcomed over six million visitors, created more than $2 billion in economic development, and increased property value in the area around the Park.

According to Eric Rothman, president of HR&A Advisors, the consulting firm tasked with analyzing the economic impact of the Park's completion, this new phase of development will provide another $850 million in stimulus.

Kit Sawers, president of Klyde Warren Park, says that the special events they can now host will provide a new revenue stream for the Park that ensures its financial health.

"Great urban parks have multi-use buildings associated with them, and this pavilion and center will put our park in that category," Sawers says.

Klyde Warren Park is currently a 5.2-acre deck park bridging Uptown and downtown Dallas. The park is privately funded and operated by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation and relies on private donations, sponsorships, rentals, and funds raised by its annual Park & Palate event to pay for its nearly $5 million annual operating budget.

That budget allows for the upkeep of the Park and sustains the free daily programming enjoyed by 100,000 Dallas residents each month. The VisitDallas Experience Center will create a critical new revenue stream for the Park.