Phil Romano and Stuart Fitts, the business partners behind the vision of Trinity Groves on the west side of downtown Dallas, sit down in the neighborhood’s newly-launched Network Bar, chatting about everything from man-eating tigers to ways to help bring the second headquarters of Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) to Dallas.
The partnership plans to launch an advertising campaign in Seattle to tout the restaurant incubator-anchored entertainment destination at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to the next generation of Amazon employees.
The specific details of the campaign were not immediately available, but Romano, who is one of the founders of West Dallas Investments, said it could include radio or other avenues that would appeal to up-and-coming professionals.
"I think this is very appealing to someone like Amazon," Romano told the Dallas Business Journal. "It’s Texas and very business friendly, with a lot of appeal being a gateway with a view of downtown Dallas. Who has that? "
Romano and other partners of West Dallas Investments, which owns the 80-acre mixed-use Trinity Groves neighborhood, have already put together design plans showcasing options for Amazon to bring its secondary corporate campus to the growing neighborhood.
"We have almost 9 million square feet to develop here and that’s why Trinity Groves is appealing to Amazon, they don’t have to assemble anything," Romano said. "It has the amenities.
"This whole thing was developed kind of ass backwards," he added. "We put the amenities in here first and now we’re building a community and Amazon could be part of that community."
Last September, the partners behind West Dallas Investments teamed up with Dallas-based KDC and Gensler to pitch a proposal in hopes of luring Amazon to this part of the city.
Romano said he’s hopeful Dallas will land Amazon’s HQ2, which is expected to eventually house up to 50,000 employees on a $5 billion campus, based on the city’s relative housing affordability compared to other parts of North America. He also emphasized the region’s ability to attract young talent with concepts like Trinity Groves, which are being geared to appeal to a younger crowd.
"We bring millennials, who I call new people, here to help us pick concepts," said the 78-year-old Dallas restauranteur. "They don’t like anything we have already done, they are tired of it. They want a whole new deal. They want to discover something and help make it successful."
That desire to discover pairs well with Trinity Groves, which finds original dining concepts like Cake Bar and Beto & Son and helps them build to success with the help of faithful restaurant goers.
Even if Amazon doesn’t make its move to Dallas’ skyline, Fitts said efforts to lure the campus puts the 50 to 60 acres of readily developable land in Trinity Groves on a global platform. And Romano agrees.
"Even if Amazon doesn’t come out here, we are ready to go with all these developers," Romano said. "We’ve been playing slow ball with them and have been holding them off until we find out what Amazon will do.
"If Amazon comes here, God bless it," he added. "If it doesn’t come, we still got it going."