Mixed-use developments — large swaths of land, often in urban areas, being redeveloped as “live-work-play” epicenters with retail, restaurant and office space on the ground level and apartments, condos or lofts built on top — were all the rage a few years ago, before the recession hit. But today, many of those projects are still struggling to get off the ground, and some, like Walnut Park (originally called the Glen at Preston Hollow) at Walnut Hill and Central, have since declared bankruptcy.

At a recent Bisnow retail summit, a panel of real estate owners was asked about mixed-use developments. Regency Centers managing director John Delatour indicated that such developments are dead in the water, and the only thing he could figure as to how they became so popular in the first place was that “all the city planners went to the same conference, and were told they needed to build mixed-use,” Delatour says. “We did one, and we got out of it. They’re going to be few and far between, in my view.” Weingarten Realty central region vice-president and director Gerald Crump agreed, saying that mixed-use developments are “not in our wheelhouse.” David Wilson, The Retail Connection connected development services president, says the problem with mixed-use developments is that “it is so hard to put together all those components at the same time,” Wilson says.

A panel of real estate brokers indicated that Dallas has enough density that we will see “urban redevelopment and mixed-use redevelopment in the next few years,” says United Commercial Realty COO Jean Smith — just not the large, half-a-million square feet kinds of mixed-use developments. (Walnut Creek found itself in this category.) Instead, it’s more likely that redevelopment will come in the form of smaller urban infill projects tackled by different owners of retail and restaurants, rather than by a single developer, says Robert Young, The Weitman Group managing director. “It’s hard to get returns” on large mixed-use developments, he says.