Visitors to Dallas are quick to learn about Bishop Arts District, a district of espresso shops and fashion boutiques, located in the rude (but ennobling) Oak Cliff. When visiting an area, they usually don’t expect to find a building called Tyler Station, a remake of the former 100,000 square foot Dixie Wax Paper factory. The facility houses about 70 small businesses in what South Dallas developer and public relations specialist Monte Anderson calls a “collaboration village.” This is a prime example of what is called incremental development.
Artists, manufacturers and entrepreneurs productively “collide” here, as Anderson likes to say, in a dizzying variety: space for collaboration; martial arts studio; brewery; barbershop; tattoo studios; and a venue for events. “We also had a hippie-Baptist church for a while,” he notes, “and now we have an African American studio. [woman] the author of novels, which she calls “gangster love” – there are over 100 of them. “
Inside are huge honeycombs with high ceilings of retail space, constructed from recycled wood and metal cattle panels for visitors to peek inside or chat with the business owner. It is a large and cozy place. Many outstanding events were held, including June The festival diaper party, Grand Openings, Origami Saturday, Color of Ideas Lecture Series, community gatherings and more.
“This is not about real estate”
Another thing you’ll notice: quite a few of the tenants that Anderson signs up are small businesses, often minority-owned, started by people around them – and on tight budgets. As he talks about how Tyler Station feels at the grassroots level, he pauses to add, “You know this isn’t about real estate, right?”
Himself a native of the Southern District of Dallas, Anderson is the founder and former president of North Texas Head of Urbanism Congress, and co-founder Incremental Development Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating small, middle-class developers and supporter of community-oriented development… He is also a former motocross racer who barely finished high school and is also a great social entrepreneur. His many real estate projects include a boutique hotel that played a key role in the return story of Oak Cliff.
Let’s make it affordable for low-income tenants
Anderson explains: “Tyler Station is what we are experiencing at the national level now, with the transformation of all the big sites, office centers. We have to figure out how to bring rents down to a point that is low enough for the area, but high enough per square foot to make the project sustainable. ” Which for Anderson means no subsidies and all the usual conditions.
“We bought Tyler Station in 2016 for a cheap price – no one wants it. There was pollution, a $ 750,000 roof was needed, and it was stuffed with chimney equipment and dead raccoons. “
Around that time, he decided to collaborate with Cache design, a successful studio specializing in sourcing and recycling for clients looking for a green yet stylish look. Occupying 20,000 square feet, Stash Design became the anchor tenant and minority partner of the project.
Emergent marketing plan
However, the partners did not enter the project with a clear marketing plan. “I thought we were going to add a bunch of industrial users, a bunch of manufacturers. But he didn’t show up, ”says Anderson. “It’s like when you first clean up a building, and the more you see, the more your ideas change. We just wanted the building to tell us how it should be. “
He goes one step further in his hands-on approach. “I want to teach people how to fish, as they say, but for that you need to spend time with them. I work mostly with people who are trying to scrape together $ 250 a month. I allowed my employees to conduct normal business conversations while still in the office. Where I am needed is in the trenches, I feel it, I taste it. For me, success is about watching other people learn to do something by doing it on their own. “
“Farm, where are you?”
To achieve this goal, Anderson is known for providing entrepreneurs with personal loans at low or interest-free income and cutting rent. “Here’s an important point – most of our tenants live near here and from South Dallas, which is one of the poorest areas in the country. This is exactly what we wanted to see. We wanted to first influence the immediate area to give them opportunities. “
Translating this goal of localism into a phrase, Anderson simply advises. “Farm, where are you”.