Client: Crescent Communities
Location: Dallas
Size: 302 units and 23,000 square feet of commercial

A thoughtful development that will be a catalyst in a Dallas neighborhood with tons of character.

A protective, skeptical community

Bishop Arts neighborhood is a beloved district of Dallas. As the first new apartment project in the area, Novel Bishop Arts had to work hard to win acceptance from the local community suspicious about perceived gentrification and was expected to be a catalyst for more development.

Adding to a treasured mix

Bishop Arts is a popular district southwest of Downtown Dallas, part of the larger Oak Cliff area. It is full of independently owned shopping, dining and entertainment options, but lacks residential offerings. Novel Bishop Arts is the first big, new apartment community in the neighborhood, featuring 302 apartment homes and 23,000 square feet of commercial space. Many locals have expressed skepticism or hostility toward such development.

Red Propeller was involved with Bishop Arts in the early planning stages, creating recommendations for the target audience, positioning, unit mix, features and design in 2015. Crescent Communities brought us back in 2018, seeking help in creating a brand that resonated more strongly with the neighborhood than their initial efforts had.

Go off script

Working on a tight timeline, we did a deep dive back into Bishop Arts to renew our understanding of the district before writing a new brand story. We learned that Bishop Arts is a place where people shed biases, stereotypes, preconceptions and formulaic approaches to life. They come to chill out, see new things, meet new people and live life like it’s meant to be lived in that moment. This understanding led to our new tagline for the project: “Go off script” (also an allusion to the literary connection with the Novel brand).

We then worked with Crescent to translate this story into the built environment. A local artist covered a lobby wall with illustrations depicting area icons, including oak trees, historic signs and a landmark theater. One artisan is recreating a historic local transit map with wood. Another is creating a distinctive metal chandelier. A coffee shop at the base of the building will serve as an extension of the lobby, connecting to the street on one side and mail area on the other.

We redesigned the entire brand, created a completely new collateral tool set, conducted custom lifestyle photo and video shoots, created distinctive design directions for different size model units (reflecting the personality types expected to be drawn to each) and worked with Crescent to customize as much as possible their template website to be on brand.

And we did this all in about three months.

Leasing Team “Storyselling” Training

To round out the brand integration process, Red Propeller led a three-day workshop with the community’s leasing team. The agenda included inspiration and strategy sharing, immersive on-site and in-neighborhood experiences, role playing, and discussion. Topics ranged from brand story and marketing campaign, product design strategy, local influence and integration, selling against the competition, tour path design and storyselling touch points to reinforce the community’s differentiation.