Eight residential projects in various stages of development are expected to bring hundreds of residents to the historic downtown.
Among them are the two multifamily projects near Denton County Transportation Authority’s A-train station. Old Town Station, which will have 360 units, is expected to begin construction this year. The city is in the process of reviewing plans for nearby Aura Old Town, which will have 286 multifamily units.
Lewisville Economic Development Manager Jason Moore said those projects will help to draw more interest from prospective retailers.
“What we hear from commercial retailers is that retail follows rooftops,” he said. “And to a certain extent that is true, so once those two projects come online, we will see additional growth in retail, and we are already seeing a lot of interest in Old Town’s entertainment district.”
City officials are also working to increase walkability.
Work will begin this year on the $8.9 million Main Street, Mill Street and Charles Street Paving, Drainage, Landscape and Signalization Improvements project. The project will add bike lanes; street parking; sidewalks; and pedestrian-friendly improvements, such as benches and street lighting.
“This is going to create an aesthetic that is going to enhance the [Old Town] corridor and add additional character to the district,” Moore said. “This will allow us to make a more walkable corridor from the Old Town Station to our core entertainment district. Residents are going to want that walkability.”
Vital for business
In 2018, Old Town saw the closing of several restaurants, such as Tin Man Diner and Cavalli’s Neapolitan Pizza, which the owners attributed to the lack of foot traffic downtown.
Community Relations and Tourism Director James Kunke said adding more residents will benefit retailers and restaurants.
“To be successful in a downtown setting such as Old Town, businesses need both daytime visitor traffic and evening traffic that largely comes from nearby residents,” he said.
“Adding new residents in the Old Town corridor will bring new customers to existing stores and make it easier to attract new restaurants and retailers to the area. It’s all about having steady customer flow. New residential units are vital for a lasting revitalization of Old Town,” he said.
Amanda Ferguson, owner of We + You in Old Town, agreed with Kunke.
“Successful retail depends on successfully building a residential population base,” she said.