DALLAS When it comes to hip entrepreneurs in West Dallas, Chef Tim Byres was a pioneer when he opened the upscale BBQ restaurant Smoke at Sylvan and Fort Worth avenues.

"Four years ago there was nobody here.It was us and the Family Dollar, Byres said.

The neighborhood just got a little more crowded after city leaders broke ground on the Sylvan | Thirty development.It s a $50 million project at Interstate 30 and Sylvan Ave.

Coming soon: An organic grocer, bakery, butcher shop, restaurants, residential and retail.

"What you're seeing today is people in Dallas saying I want to invest my money here and that is a big statement for this city, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during Wednesday s groundbreaking.

Randall White, director of the West Dallas Chamber attended Wednesday's event, one of many recent ribbon-cuttings in West Dallas.

The investment community and the entrepreneurs and the small business owners are realizing the proximity between here and downtown, between here and the Medical District, here and the Kessler/Stevens neighborhoods of Oak Cliff.And they're thinking this is a good place to be, he said.

Chef Byres likes the future he sees with Sylvan | Thirty in the neighborhood.

"It's going to be wildly different, and I'm excited, Byres said.

It s a neighborhood he believes in so much, a year ago he opened a second restaurant, Chicken Scratch, just down the street. Attached to it is a bar, The Foundry.

The first tenant at Sylvan | Thirty, Cox Farms Market, is expected to be open by year's end.Officials say the apartments will begin leasing in early 2014.

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