Which city will Amazon select for their second headquarters? It is easy to understand that Trinity Groves and Dallas surpass other cities in Amazon’s corporate requirements for Amazon HQ2. More important to Amazon employees, Trinity Groves surpasses the high expectations and anticipation they have for their Amazon HQ2 location. One of five favorite reasons that Amazon will select Trinity Groves for HQ2 is that, rather than developers, it was innovators and visionaries who created Trinity Groves. They specifically envisioned this site as a location for a corporate headquarters in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood in the center of Dallas.
The Trinity Groves site for the Amazon HQ2 headquarters is on the development side of the Trinity River and next to a park larger than the entire city of San Francisco. It is here that the Trinity Groves principals have been assembling 80 acres, rezoning it, and establishing incubator concept restaurants for the early phase vibe of the location for a corporate headquarters.
Maybe it was from my experience during my first several years as a real estate agent, not owning a car, that I came to understand a neighborhood as a place where one can easily walk or ride a bike to explore its boundaries. An intimacy with the terrain and neighbors develops when one is walking or on a bike. The Trinity Groves neighborhood offers a rich smorgasbord of attractions and areas of interest one wants to explore. Dallas is a great choice for a city. Trinity Groves is an inspired choice for an Amazon HQ2 neighborhood.
The Trinity Groves neighborhood is located at the foot of the Santiago Calatrava-designed Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and it is at the convergence of pedestrian paths and city trails that lead to high culture, dense urbanity, pastoral golf courses, fashionable restaurants, hardwood forests, major league sporting events, a horse park, in addition to the immediate incubator concept restaurants and innovative retail that is intermixed with the Amazon HQ2 site. Few cities have a neighborhood with as much cycling mobility or as many desirable destinations with pedestrian proximity.
Without even venturing into the neighborhood, one will find intermingled with the Amazon HQ2 site 18 high concept incubator restaurants and 12 innovative retail concepts such as Steam Theory, a craft-brew chef-owned restaurant, or Bing Box that serves snow cream, a shaved milk ice.
The list of cool places and activities evoking high and low culture within walking distance of Amazon HQ2 is astounding: professional basketball, professional hockey, concert venues, a golf course, theaters, museums, a sculpture garden and Asian art collection. The Amazon HQ2 site is remarkably close to many fabulous, fun and meaningful places.
Art galleries are integrated into the Trinity Groves Amazon HQ2 site and more are just a few blocks away in the Design District.
The Dallas Design District and Dragon Street are celebrated for their important art galleries and interior design showrooms. This district is located less than a mile from the Amazon HQ2 site at Trinity Groves.
Union Station is a rail and transportation hub for Dallas, Downtown Dallas, and the Amazon HQ2 at Trinity Groves. High-speed rail, traditional trains, Dallas rapid transit, buses and other modes of transportation emanate from this location.
Amazon HQ2 at the Trinity Groves location will enjoy the proximity to The Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team and the Dallas Stars professional hockey team at the American Airlines Center. The AA Center is also a great venue for concerts and events.
Klyde Warren Park connects the Arts District with the Uptown restaurants and residences. Lining the park are glass-walled restaurants and terraces. Restaurants and a series of food trucks extend the park atmosphere for families and professionals, in the spirit of the Amazon HQ2 Trinity Groves atmosphere.
Kessler Park is known for its historic estate homes that are sited on lovely topography and along curving streets along with clusters of adjacent architect-designed modern homes being built in Kessler Woods. These neighborhoods extend the architecturally and historically significant modern and original buildings of the Trinity Groves location for the Amazon HQ2 site.
From Amazon HQ2, your golf cart will take you to a beautifully established and renovated Stevens Park Golf Course that is placed in the middle of a neighborhood with beautiful and surprisingly affordable homes that surround it.
The Dallas Arts District has the largest collection of cultural buildings designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize award-winning architects. The Wyly Theater was designed by architect Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas, who also designed the Seattle library. The Winspear Opera House was designed by architect Sir Norman Foster. The Nasher Sculpture Center was designed by architect Renzo Piano and landscaped by architect Peter Walker. The Dallas Museum of Art was designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. Gensler is the celebrated architectural firm designing the Amazon HQ2 Trinity Groves development.
An employee at Amazon HQ2 could always walk to the AT&T headquarters and knock on the door if the latest oversized optic fiber connections have a glitch.
Grab one of the thousands of rent-a-bikes available and you are able to easily ride to the shores of White Rock Lake where you can sail, row, paddle or ride to the medical district, Texas Horse Park, the Great Trinity Forest (great hardwood forest), the Trinity River Audubon Center, national bird counting sites, or university campuses.
Further explore the Amazon HQ2 Trinity Groves neighborhood boundaries on a bike. To the south, the Trinity River and Park is lined with residential areas, restaurants, and golf courses. To the north, the Katy Trail and Santa Fe Trail make a loop around entertainment, cultural and education facilities.
Those living and working in the Amazon HQ2 Trinity Groves neighborhood can ride their bike to the Bishop Arts District. The chef-owned restaurants in Bishop Arts are destinations for those who live across Dallas.
UT Southwestern Medical Center provides the finest care and great research from its innovation, technology and talent. It has had the most Nobel Laureates in the country. UT Southwestern conveys medical triumphs and personal comfort. The aesthetic of its recently designed Clements University Hospital is the envy of luxury hotels. And it is only a bike ride away from Amazon HQ2 at Trinity Groves.
The Dallas Arts Magnet School is known for graduating many successful artists including Norah Jones, Edie Brickell and Erykah Badu, who still return to perform and inspire current students. The Magnet School for the Talented and Gifted has been one of the highest ranked public schools in the country. The academic success of the diverse student body and artists who have studied here will appeal to those at Amazon HQ2.
Fresh food has long been a part of Texas history and a current interest of those who will be working at Amazon HQ2. Texas has been the origin of many great grocery stores including Whole Foods, Fiesta, Central Market, H.E.B. and Tom Thumb. There are restaurants in Dallas that enjoy farm-to-market deliveries. The Dallas Farmers Market allows fresh produce and heritage meats to be delivered from the farm to your kitchen. The Farmers Market, just down the street from Deep Ellum, is now surrounded by new residences.
Deep Ellum is a 100-year-old district of historic one- and two-story historic commercial buildings that have been converted to retail, restaurants and historic four-story buildings converted to residences with new ten-story residential developments taking place. Deep Ellum has additional edge and history and is within an easy bicycle ride from the potential Amazon HQ2 at Trinity Groves.
The largest Earth Day celebration in the world is at Fair Park, with 75,000 attending. Fair Park is the home of the State Fair of Texas and also the largest collection of 1936 Art Deco buildings in the world. It is along the Santa Fe bike path and at the DART station making access easy for Dallas residents and those at Amazon HQ2. At Christmas time it is here that 2,000 bicycles and gifts filling a 90,000 square foot space are given to thousands of needy children.
Even before Amazon HQ2 was a glimmer in the eye of Dallas, one of the first streets of chef-owned restaurants and owner-run shops was on Knox Street and Henderson Avenue. Major retail like the Apple Store, and new residential development are being added to this quaint mix.
In a city of fabulous universities, SMU is within the neighborhood. From the anticipated Amazon HQ2 at Trinity Groves, one can go to lectures, concerts, events, theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the Meadows Museum which has the largest collection of Spanish art outside of Madrid, the Lyle School of Engineering Innovation Lab, or enjoy the festivities on the boulevard on the SMU campus before a football game.
Angelika is always a great place to see independent films, foreign films and Academy Award-winning films. It is also the host of the Dallas International Film Festival, the USA Film Festival and the South Asian Film Festival. From the Amazon HQ2 site at Trinity Groves, one can arrive by bike or by DART, which has a stop at Angelika Theater and Mockingbird Station.
This new SMU Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, with its 50-meter pool and 10-meter diving well, is adjacent to the DART Rail and the Katy Trail which connects to the Trinity Groves Amazon HQ2 site. Here the nationally ranked SMU women’s and men’s varsity swimming and diving teams compete, and age group swimmers train as do the Dallas Aquatic Masters swimmers. This indoor pool and diving well will be complemented by a new 50-meter outdoor pool and 10-meter diving well adjacent to it.
Head west from the Amazon HQ2 site at Trinity Groves on the Katy Trail and you reach White Rock Lake in 6.9 miles. From the Amazon HQ2 site at Trinity Groves, head east on the Santa Fe Trail and you also reach White Rock Lake in 6.9 miles. In either direction, you will enjoy the 9-mile loop around the lake. White Rock Lake is a destination for walkers, runners, cyclists, roller skaters, skateboarders, and it is part of the classic segment of the BMW Dallas Marathon. At White Rock Lake there is the Corinthian Sailing Club and the White Rock Boat Club for sailors, and picnic tables along the shores to take in the view and enjoy friends. At White Rock Lake you will see rowers training, kayakers and weekly sail boat races.
You will enjoy going from the saddle of your bicycle to the saddle of your horse at the Texas Horse Park as part of Trinity Park.
The Trinity Forest golf course at the Trinity Forest Golf Club is the home of the SMU Varsity Golf Team as well as the course for the Annual Byron Nelson Golf Tournament. Golfers of all ages across Dallas and North Texas enjoy this British link-style course. Those at the Amazon HQ2 site will particularly appreciate the proximity to Trinity Groves.
For over 100 years the best architects from across the country from Seattle to Sarasota, Los Angeles to New York, New Orleans to Chicago and around the world have designed homes in Dallas. Regional and international styles are represented along with the strong influence of Texas Modern and eclectic designs. Midcentury modern, modern, eclectic or regional, those at Amazon HQ2 will find casual or elegant homes with architectural style and located in neighborhoods that reflect their personal aesthetic.
Emerging and established Dallas architects and landscape architects are receiving Texas and national awards as their compelling designs impact the community and impact architecture across the country. These architects in Dallas have explored contemporary architecture in context with its neighborhoods, including single-family modern homes, modern townhouses, modern attached single-family homes, modern condominiums and modern highrise residences. The design-savvy Amazon HQ2 employees will be invigorated discussing a new home or the renovation of an old home with one of the many talented architects in Dallas.
The Trinity Grove principals are successful innovators, visionaries, venture capitalists, and artists who envisioned 21st century urban living in the evolving center of downtown Dallas. The principals, Stuart Fitts and Phil Romano, have successfully nurtured early medical devices, created new retail and restaurant concepts, and artist galleries, in addition to being early media owners. Now they are committing their resources and creativity to making Trinity Groves the most vibrant mixed-use site in Dallas. This is perfect for Amazon HQ2.
Traditionally, developers are tethered by conventional thinking, investor demands, lender requirements, and a desire for short-term profits. The principals of West Dallas Investments, LP, the single owner of the 80-acre Trinity Groves development site, is free of all that. This approach is one of the reasons Trinity Groves becomes so attractive for Amazon HQ2.
In the spirit of Dallas, the motivation of the Trinity Groves principals was to create a legacy project for their families and for Dallas. This approach ensures the highest quality project now and 50 years from now. Amazon HQ2 will also be a legacy project.
The vision of Trinity Groves came with West Dallas Investments, LP’s acquisition of the first parcel of land 12 years ago located at the foot of the proposed Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge. This original land purchase grew to 80 contiguous acres at the foot of the now built Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava and the adjacent Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge over the Trinity River. Trinity Groves’ vision is coming into focus and fruition with Amazon HQ2.
These visionaries recognize that the proposed Trinity River bridge would connect the current center of downtown Dallas with their land investment on the development side of the Trinity River. From the hippest art galleries to UT Southwestern, with the most Nobel Laureates, the Trinity Groves site is in the path of design, fashion, sports, art, entertainment, medical, and 20th and 21st century transportation. This path flourishes as Dallas continues to grow to the west and north just as cities and villages have done for centuries. Amazon HQ2 will add to the further gravitational pull of Trinity Groves.
Downtown Dallas is gravitating towards the Amazon HQ2 site at Trinity Groves. The gravitational pull of Trinity Groves is further strengthened by the bike and pedestrian paths that converge here, along with 20th century fixed rail and 21st century autonomous transportation.
West Dallas Investments, LP, desired 80 acres of contiguous land, so they could create a blank slate for a major company to make their headquarters in the midst of incubator high concept restaurants, craft beer venues, innovative retail, modern residences, repurposed buildings, and a mixed-use urban environment linked to the river and parks. Who better than Amazon HQ2 and the Amazon employees to further enhance this vision?
The Trinity Groves principals have created a platform and opportunity for a dynamic company desiring to grow and evolve in a city that is growing and evolving. This prescient approach is perfect for Amazon and Amazon HQ2.
Cities inherently encourage incremental zoning on a case by case basis to developers as they propose projects like Amazon HQ2. With this approach, even the best projects with the finest architects can drag on for many years or get thwarted. A good example would be the proposed Thomas Heatherwick-designed Pier 55 three-acre park and performance venue in New York. Even with one of the world’s best architects and a $250-million donation, this fine project got scuttled because New York City zoning and regulatory approval could not be obtained. Here in Dallas at Trinity Groves, the zoning is already in place for Amazon HQ2.
The principals of Trinity Groves insisted that the land be rezoned first so that a significant urban development could readily accommodate a major corporate headquarters in a way that their employees and Dallas residents would enjoy. The Trinity Groves site was rezoned for unlimited height skyscrapers, with zoning stepped down in height to one- and two-story retail, restaurants and residences. Trinity Groves becomes a 21st century vision of urban living in the center of Dallas, just as Amazon HQ2 embodies a 21st century corporate headquarters.
Choosing Dallas, Amazon will have an early stage presence in a vibrant district that will increasingly be at the heart of Dallas. Downtown Dallas is moving in the direction of Trinity Groves. Amazon would not be dominating Dallas as the great corporate hope to save the city or make a city as it would for many cities wishing for its presence. Amazon, with its second headquarters in Dallas, would be interpreting, massaging, and contributing to the future center of downtown Dallas. The Amazon HQ2 employees with their presence, energy, and vision will be able to shape and expand the Trinity Groves neighborhood and the many projects in Dallas already underway.
People in Dallas are celebrated for their contributions to the city, not how long their families have been here. Many cities are rigid ideologically and physically bound by the past. Dallas is a city that loves ideas that let it grow and prosper in meaningful ways. Dallas embraces people, like the Amazon HQ2 employees, who will contribute in many ways whether as volunteers, civic leaders, non-partisan elected officials, philanthropists, business leaders, and innovators.
Dallas is growing in a healthy way and not gasping for air under duress of massive debt and uncertainty. Why would someone want to move to a city and be obligated to help pay off 50 years of accumulated city and state debt? How much more attractive for an individual or Amazon HQ2 to move to Dallas that has years projected of economic prosperity and surplus.
Dallas is a city of neighborhoods that do not divide the city, but create a pleasing mosaic of complimentary and distinct aesthetics and personalities. Mobility through this mosaic of neighborhoods made up of residents from around the country and the world is easy and welcoming. Autonomous vehicles and increasing bike paths will extend the friendly neighborhood atmosphere of the city for Amazon HQ2 employees.
Dallas philanthropists have done more than contribute money and erect monumental buildings. Philanthropists connect with and are a vital part of the Dallas community. Texas Instruments is a great historical example. Even at the height of their business careers, the founders of Texas Instruments including Eugene McDermott and Erik Jonsson who served as mayor, created universities like the University of Texas at Dallas, and initiated private schools like St. Mark’s and established cultural organizations and museums. The Cullum family, the founders of the Tom Thumb grocery stores, is another example. The female and male descendants continue to contribute locally, nationally and internationally. Annette Simmons, who is a force in Dallas, among her many leadership gifts, recently gave $50 million to the Trinity River Park in honor of her late husband Harold Simmons who was a much loved visionary, humanitarian and nature lover. Their civic leadership has continued through several generations, with female and male family members having a profound voice in Dallas, national, and world affairs. Jeff Bezos and Amazon embrace this spirit of civic contribution, as will employees at Amazon HQ2.
Margaret McDermott, wife of Texas Instruments founder Eugene McDermott, is 106 years old and she continues to lead and inspire. A day does not go by when she is not meeting with either students, scholars, neighbors, museum directors, artists, educators, architects or community contributors. Mrs. McDermott’s ideas involve action. Her encouragements prompt enthusiastic acceleration of ideas. No doubt her energy will also inspire those at Amazon HQ2.
Since Sarah Cockrell effectively put Dallas on the map by building the first permanent bridge across the Trinity River, building the first Dallas hotel, and being the first woman to speak before the Texas legislature, Dallas has been a city led by women. Women influence the city and the nation in their roles as public television host, delegates and board members to the United Nations and Foreign Relations Council, chairs of education and cultural institutions, and overseeing the city as Mayors and City Managers. The leadership and ideas of women have immensely impacted the city of Dallas. A series of Dallas female mayors and city managers have helped shape the city. Women who routinely served as the presidents of board of trustees of universities, museums, symphonies, banks, and business organizations also added to the depth and cultural life of Dallas. Women in Dallas do not just make gifts and sit on their laurels. The incredible women who will be working at Amazon HQ2 will enjoy collaborating with the thousands of amazing women in Dallas. When Dallas women lead, people listen.
The Amazon HQ2 in Dallas merges the energy, innovation, and vision of Amazon employees with the energy, innovation, and vision of Dallas. Here is an opportunity for Amazon to create and impact an area positively evolving. Rather than trying to create something new in a city of habit and fiscal failure, Amazon can use Dallas, a 21st century city of innovators, as a launching pad to demonstrate the successful social and economic vision of a 21st century company.
Dallas understands the benefits of diversity. Its inclusive environment is the reason that for over 100 years Dallas has attracted people from across the country and from around the world. Those who were at first reluctant to come to Dallas often refuse to leave Dallas when their company wants them to relocate. Those from other countries that came here seeking safety have successfully set up businesses and become an important part of the community.
While some try to legislate diversity, Trinity Groves attracted diversity. They did this with food. Their incubator restaurants, such as Beto & Son and Chino Chinatiown, try out new concepts and explore regional and international foods which successfully attracts people from all backgrounds. This creates a vibrant and pleasing environment where people at Amazon HQ2 will to live and work.
Dallas is a city with a mayor and city council who run for political office without political party affiliations. Dallas is as likely to have a woman, an African-American, or a Jewish mayor as it is to have a white male. The city manager, chief of police, and school superintendent are just as likely to be female or a person of color.
Dallas has prominent Democrat and Republican donors. Regardless of their political party affiliation, those in Dallas party together, work together, and join each other to elect the best non-partisan city council and school board members. They also work together on civic projects that yield the dynamic livability and growth of Dallas. Where else but Dallas would you find a past Republican President being given art lessons by liberal artists and good friendships develop despite amusement at one another’s political views.
When I first heard Amazon was looking for a location for a second headquarters, it became obvious cities were clamoring to compete by offering generous financial perks. My initial thought was how could Amazon HQ2 employees become involved with and contribute to Dallas, not Amazon as corporate largesse, but as individual Amazon contributors.
One opportunity for Amazon HQ2 employees quickly came to mind. Trinity Groves has been discussed by many as the potential center of an autonomous transportation testing corridor that will run through dozens of municipalities. The interest and expertise of Amazon employees could help expedite Dallas becoming the national testing site for autonomous air, land, and water transportation and delivery systems. The Dallas region has been identified as being ideally positioned to coordinate regional autonomous vehicle protocols, testing, infrastructure, and academic and engineering support. Dallas has the sunshine necessary for optimal testing, historical cooperation between municipalities, an abundance of roads and right of ways. Amazon employees could help lead this effort.
Amazon employees from Seattle might know as much about trees, forests and parks as they do about engineering. The great hardwood forest within the Trinity River Park provides great opportunities for Amazon HQ2 employees. They can help develop the non-invasive access and programming for the largest urban hardwood forest in the country. Working at the Amazon headquarters overlooking the Trinity River would give great immediacy and passion for massaging this park that will be enjoyed now and for hundreds of years to come.
Amazon HQ2 and Dallas can be examples of 21st century combined corporate and civic leadership that provides opportunities for all of its neighbors and citizens. Dallas is a city always welcoming new ideas and change. Amazon is a company that has created change and new ideas. Socially open-minded and economically astute, Amazon and Dallas are natural collaborators. Trinity Groves is the perfect epicenter of the dynamic relationship developing between Amazon and Dallas. Amazon employees will find HQ2 at Trinity Groves in Dallas a new home that will make them happy.
“My day on Saturday, March 3 relates to the post AmazonHQ2=TrinityGroves and shows some of the amazing opportunities in Dallas. I finished coaching the SMU Women’s Swim Team who are practicing at the SMU Robson & Lindley Aquatic Center. I decide to ride The Katy Trail bike path from the pool to Reverchon Park to meet my daughter who is doing community service with Scottish Rite Hospital on their Park clean up day. Hang out with the volunteers and help clean up the park. It’s a beautiful day in Dallas. I carry on down the Katy Trail to American Airlines Center and see people walking and using Bikeshares to ride and walk to the Stars game. I decide to check out the trails at the Trinity River and see that Dallas has a huge event going on with a road race, yoga ,vendors and many events at Trinity Groves. The Continental Street now called the Ron Kirk Bridge is packed with people enjoying the event. I spend some time with Jarrett Willis who is making seedbombs in preparation for the great SeedBomb Event which will target different areas along the Trinity River to bring native grasses and wildflowers to beautify and prevent erosion along the Trinity River. It was great to see what was going on in Dallas and how easy these trail extensions have made it accessible by bike. I could have easily cut over the Klyde Warren Park and go by the Dallas Farmers Market and #Deep Elm to the Santa Fe Trail and ride past #White Rock Lake to my Lakewood home but decided to head back up the Katy Trail. By now the trail is packed with people heading out from the #KATY Trail Ice House to the American Airlines Center. Super day in Big D. So much to see and experience in a 5 mile radius from Downtown. I finish my ride with lunch at Urban Taco at Mockingbird Station next to the #Aquatic Center!”
“Thank you Steve for your poignant description of how the trails connect a vibrant city.”
Deconstruction Podcast hosts Shawn Williams and Ryan Trimble discuss with Douglas Newby the evolution of Dallas neighborhoods and the appeal of Trinity Groves for Amazon employees.