Urban Union Celebrated as New Downtown Hot Spot

Photo Courtesy of Urban Union

Dodson Development broke ground a little more than one year ago on his Urban Union project, transforming a collection of dilapidated businesses along Front Street into new hot spot in downtown Arlington.

On Thursday, Arlington community and business leaders and a few hundred customers celebrated the grand opening of the Urban Union’s first phase of development with live music, food and drinks and fun. During the lively block party, guests were invited to check out businesses, including Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery, Legal Draft Beer Co. and Sleepy Cottage, already open in the seven-acre district near Division, Front and East streets.

“It’s been very rewarding to see the buildings and the vision start to come together,” said developer Ryan Dodson, who began assembling properties for Urban Union back in 2013. “When someone pulls up who hasn’t been here before, their reactions are really emotional and really positive.”

Michael Jacobson, Arlington Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, was among community and business leaders Thursday who applauded Dodson for his vision, belief and investment in downtown.

“I appreciate Ryan so much and the work he is doing down here. If you think about reimagining Arlington, all you have to do is come and look right here,” Jacobson said “I bring people here and I say ‘What does the future look like? Well you are standing in the future and that future is possible because we have people who are willing to take a risk.’”

During Thursday’s event, Dodson announced that Tipsy Oaks Ice House would soon be joining the lineup at Urban Union. Other tenants including Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, Cearnal Co. Real Estate and Dodson’s development company office.

“We are committed to downtown. We think it’s a perfect spot for local retailers and local businesses. There has been a huge amount of community support for that.  It feels like we’ve really tapped into something that hasn’t been offered before and seems to be in demand,” Dodson said.

Future phases of Urban Union are planned, he said.

“We have a lot more to do and we are going to do a lot more,” he said.

Dodson is also involved in the development of 404 Border, a 135-unit market rate apartment complex at the corner of Border and Mary Streets. Open only for the past seven months, the downtown apartment complex is nearly completely leased out.