Saturday, March 06, 2010

New Urbanism on the Rise in Fairview

When errands took me to the Allen/Fairview area today, I took advantage of the recent opening of The Village at Fairview, a New Urbanist center that's directly across the street from, and a sibling to, The Village at Allen, which is itself a big-box center that opened last fall (and also features a full-service hotel and the new Allen Events Center).

Unlike Firewheel, which opened about two-thirds full, Fairview did what I suppose could be called a "soft opening": the "Coming Soon" signs still vastly outnumber the actual businesses at this point, but with the recent opening of Dillard's at the west end, the three major anchors (J.C. Penney and Macy's being the other ones) are now in place. Besides a wide variety of shops and restaurants, the center will boast a movie theatre and bowling alley by year's end, and the east end of the development will feature a new town hall for the host community of Fairview.

The architecture of Fairview is much more modern in nature than the "classic" designs of Firewheel or Southlake, but it's well-designed and pleasing to the eye. Like Austin's Domain development, Fairview features luxury apartments above several portions of the street-level retail, along with another section just to the north. And since the entire main streetscape is already in place, the area is ripe for walking, even if you have to dodge a construction vehicle here and there.

As I said, there's not a lot there yet, though the directory promises much more to come (the listing of when each store is slated to open is very helpful), but in the meantime, I'm psyched to see that a The Purple Cow has already opened. It may not be any closer to me than the North Dallas or north Plano locations, but the lack of traffic (Dallas) or extra tolls (Plano) is welcome.

As I've said many times before, I'm a big fan of New Urbanism, and it's encouraging to see new projects of this kind open up, especially one that's as well-designed as Fairview. I look forward to more openings here throughout the year.

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