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IS THE WEST END A DEAD END?

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Since the Old Spaghetti Warehouse opened a decade ago, city officials haven’t stopped gushing over the possibilities of turning the old warehouse district into an inner city bohemian neighborhood of artists and professional people. Another Greenwich Village set on the edge of Dallas’ glass and steel jungle.

Despite the recent name change from the unseemly “warehouse district” to the trendy “West End Historical District,” the area is still a desert after dark, except for the Old Spaghetti Warehouse oasis.

And, although the city spent millions to lay brick streets and install quaint light fixtures, developers are dubious about the project’s success.

“All the direction for downtown has been going in exactly the opposite direction, toward the east and not toward the west,” says an official in developer Trammell Crow’s firm. “I don’t see that changing. Even the potential downtown residential structures look like they’ll be built in the northeast and not the west.”

Prospects for the West End may swing around after the completion of the new Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, which developers hope will turn tacky Ross Avenue into a grand boulevard. Ross runs right through the West End.

In the meantime, the development in the West End has been limited to conversions of old warehouses into plush offices, and that won’t attract many artists and professional people downtown after dark. One bright spot in the West End is the New Arts Theatre Company, which moved from European Crossroads.

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