A DESTINATION DISTRICT

BY DOUGLAS KING | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

The position of senior real estate manager for Dunhill Partners in the Dallas Design District was “birthed” for Pam Dawson, ironically, when a close friend who had opened a maternity retail business in one of Dunhill Partners’ prize properties encountered many challenges and reported them to Dunhill. Through various tenant meetings at the property, Dawson’s name was passed around as someone who could help both the tenants and the landlord. Once the connection was made to Dunhill in 2001, the rest, as they say, is history!

Throughout the years, Dawson has had the privilege of managing a multitude of wonderful properties. “The Design District project was a total surprise to me as I was overseeing many of our out-oftown projects at the time of the Design District purchase. Bill knew that he needed a boots on the ground, ‘go-to’ manager and I was at just the right place in my career to accept the challenge!” Dawson says.

Dallas Style & Design spent time with Dawson to discuss the Dallas Design District and exciting future plans.

Explain what exactly the Design District encompasses?
The Design District encompasses design, art, culture, tradition and new trends. It is a project that has its own definition and is unique in every way to other districts within Dallas. Our on-site management team has placed itself in the role of ambassador to the design trade and the Design District as a whole. We have become a united force driven to spearhead communication, networking, branding, building and planning. We, as ambassadors for the District and in conjunction with the entire Design District team, are redefining what the District is and what it’s going to do. For the first time ever, we have launched a “members only” website that equally represents all members of the Design District. In addition, we have just recently launched our second annual Design District Guide. It is a 100-page print publication that provides rich content, beautiful photography, newsworthy editorial pieces, and a detailed map and categorical directory of all members of the Design District.

How can you make the District more accessible to the general public?
The most important and noteworthy project we are developing right now is our mobile app. All visitors to the Design District will be able to discover how to shop, eat, play and explore when visiting our unique district. The mobile app is designed to serve two target audiences: designers (trade business) and all other visitors. We want everyone to enjoy the Dallas Design District, whether you are here for designer shopping or for any other purpose! The key is to capitalize on the understanding of what to do and how to do it. We believe the mobile app will provide a light of understanding to the Design District customer so everyone can fully explore what to do here.

What changes have you implemented in the District?
We have had the privilege of working on many wonderful projects here in the Design District. We have worked with the Oak Lawn Hi Line Public Improvement District to upgrade some of the major medians, and we added a 30-foot-tall sculpture along Hi Line Drive, which serves as a monumental icon dedicated to the design trade history of the Design District as well as a representation of the design craftsman.

What future plans do you have for the District? How is Dunhill Partners involved?
We are currently working with the City of Dallas on the Downtown 360 Project to facilitate vision and develop mobility, identity and quality of life in the Design District. We are also planning major development through upcoming projects, such as the opening of our new Virgin Hotel and our office tower, to be built along Stemmons Expressway.

What would you like to see take place in the District?
I would love to see the largest design event in the design trade history launched and located here in Dallas, Texas! I believe that Dallas has the edge, “nationally speaking,” and I believe that with the right formula and the right group of people at the table an event like no other can be developed and implemented.

I would also love to see transportation brought to the District, such as a trolley system and pedestrian and beautification enhancements throughout the area. We are ready at this point to market the District to North Texas as a competitive destination for weekend getaways and date nights! We are now very competitive in the market as a lifestyle destination as our many residential developments continue to grow with residents walking and riding their bikes to work. All of these facets will further define who we are and what we are going to be.

The District is so rich in history, culture and the arts, and I hope that we can tap into all of this and open it up for everyone to enjoy!