Stories to follow in 2019: TEXRail trains signal redevelopment of Dallas Road in Grapevine

A TEXRail train at the DFW Airport North station is ready to carry passengers.

A TEXRail train at the DFW Airport North station is ready to carry passengers.

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Image description
Grapevine plans to use Trinity Metro's TEXRail commuter rail line as tools for economic development.

An estimated 8,000 passengers are expected to ride the trains each day in the first year, Trinity Metro statistics show. That number is projected to grow to nearly 14,000 passengers by 2035. The trains will have nine stops along the route from Fort Worth to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Terminal B.

Grapevine City Manager Bruno Rumbelow said the city will spend about $10 million to redevelop the pedestrian corridor between Dooley Street and Ball Street into a more pedestrian-friendly and visually appealing area.

“That section becomes incredibly valuable and walkable and fun and cool,” Rumbelow said.

TEXRail was scheduled to run starting Jan. 5, but operations were postponed after TEXRail had not obtained proper clearance to operate the entire line and a problem was found with the train signals. Passenger service instead began Jan. 10.

Main station projects

The area surrounding the rail stop near the corner of Dallas Road and Main Street is called Grapevine Main.

In addition to the TEXRail platform, Grapevine Main will have a train station with an observation tower, the boutique Hotel Vin, a community plaza and a parking garage. Coury Hospitality will manage the parking garage, the hotel and most of the train station.

Mark Brooks, a development partner for the project, presented design and layout plans for the connected hotel and train station during Grapevine’s economic partnership meeting Nov. 28.

The train station will house Harvest Hall, which Brooks compared to an artisanal, high-quality food hall, similar to Legacy Hall in Plano.

“Food halls are growing across America rapidly, and it seems to be the way people want to eat right now, where you have choice [and] you have variety,” Brooks said at the Grapevine November economic development meeting.

Existing Grapevine business owners will also have a chance to set up inside the station or hotel to interact with guests and visitors, Brooks said.

“We really want to bring a local part into [the development] and make that connection as much as we can,” he said.

Rumbelow said an exciting element of the project is the extension of Dallas Area Rapid Transit services to connect Plano to the DFW Airport with the Cotton Belt Corridor.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau announced in late December its approval for DART’s $908 million loan to finance the Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project. Rumbelow said this will help complete the connection by 2022.

“The Plano extension crosses a couple of DART lines, so it gives people access from all over,” Rumbelow said. “It really does open the entire Metroplex up to the airport, which by extension opens it up to Grapevine, which is the whole idea.”

Shannon Shumate is the gallery manager at Vetro Glassblowing in downtown Grapevine. She said the trains can help unite the arts community and help it share ideas.

“We’re going to show the art form of glass to so many new people,” Shumate said. “They may have been to different studios in different states and countries, and it is so fun to hear about those visits.”

Downtown activation

To help fund the Dallas Road corridor project, the city received a $5 million grant through the North Central Texas Council of Governments that will be matched with local funds.

The enhancements include center medians for added safety while crossing the street as well as protected left turns for vehicles.

“There’s two things coming in on [Dallas Road] really quickly,” Rumbelow said. “One of them being an overlay that will basically be a road map for developers to use it to develop along the corridor. … The other is the physical infrastructure build to make Dallas Road different than what it is today: more pedestrian-friendly, more walkable, more beautiful with better lighting and landscaping.”

Rumbelow said the city has identified about 175 acres that will be most affected by TEXRail. This area is called the Grapevine Transit District, but City Council plans to rename it. Names such as The Belt, and The Yards were suggested at an Oct. 16 meeting, but the council has not made a final decision.

Developers have already come in looking to purchase and redevelop certain areas of Dallas Road, which Rumbelow said is ideal.

“That’s sort of the plan, that parcel-acquisition process by the private sector,” he said. The private sector can make exciting event spaces, such as Harvest Hall, come to life better than a city government could, he said.

Officials plan for these developments to attract more pedestrians and tourists to the area, but no projections have yet been made. These tourism-projection studies will take place once the trains have been in operation for several months, said Kimber Foster, marketing director for the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is to provide officials a better idea of the actual TEXRail ridership.

State Farm Insurance Agent Mike Davis has been in his office off Main Street for more than 45 years. During his time there, he said he has seen downtown Grapevine change immensely, and it will probably change even more.

“We have to keep expanding and improving what we have,” Davis said. “And I think that’s going to happen. In 10 years there’s no telling what Grapevine is going to look like from Dallas Road to
the highway.”

The city of Grapevine will continue to hone its vision for Dallas Road and the developments at Grapevine Main as these projects come before City Council for approval, Rumbelow said.

“We’re cooking, but we’re not done,” he said. “We have work to do with the council on both of these concepts, but it’s all out there; it’s been worked on; ... So it’s coming.”

Additional reporting by Renee Yan


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