Two Major Downtown Groundbreakings Call for Celebration

October 27, 2011

Downtown Dallas, Inc., the City of Dallas, Forest City Residential and Hamilton Properties invited the public for a celebration to announce the redevelopment of the Continental Building and Lone Star Gas Lofts. These projects are bringing new vibrancy to this southeastern quadrant of Downtown.

“This area of Downtown is becoming a prime destination and these new projects are going to add to the momentum,” said John Crawford, President & CEO, Downtown Dallas, Inc.

With existing assets such as Main Street Garden, the UNT System, the Mercantile on Main (Element), Comerica Bank Tower, Dallas Chop House, Wild Salsa and the soon to be developed Statler Hilton, this southeastern quadrant is one of Downtown’s fastest growing areas.

“We thank everyone at Forest City and Hamilton Properties for investing in Downtown,” said Crawford. “We are grateful

for their continued support in making Downtown a world premiere destination to live, work and play.”

The Continental Building, developed by Forest City will provide 203 apartment homes; 41 apartment homes are

 designated as affordable housing for families earning 80% of Area Median Income.

“We’re excited to begin construction and bring new life to the historic Continental building,” said Jim

Truitt, senior vice president of development, Forest City Texas. “This dynamic residential building will continue the momentum of Downtown Dallas while invigorating a piece of the city’s urban fabric for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”

The Lone Star Gas Lofts, formerly the Atmos Complex, developed by Hamilton Properties will bring 230 new affordable loft apartments. Mayor Mike Rawlings praised Hamilton Properties, Forest City, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for bringing new affordable housing Downtown.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Rawlings. “This is all about how government and private enterprise work together.”

The redevelopments also will act as connectors bringing the Main Street District and Farmers Market together.

“This is about knitting our neighborhoods back together again,” said Councilmember Angela Hunt.

400 Ervay Promises Modern Urban Living with Historic Charm

September 23, 2011

Imagine playing pool, cards, or sipping on a cocktail in the same room where legendary Judge Sarah T. Hughes presided. Residents of the historically significant, United States Post Office and Court House building at 400 North Ervay St. will be able to do so. The new residences will be ready for occupancy first week of October and we got a sneak peek.

Developer Builder Shawn Todd hit this one out the park. This building is the perfect example of Italian Renaissance with the latest in deluxe apartment living. Inside the mostly one-bedroom rental units are the latest in Brazilian Acacia brown granite counter-tops and modern stainless appliances. Architect David Demarest successfully combined the old with the new. The resident amenity areas — which are accessed off a separate lobby on the ground floor of the post office — look pretty much as they did when the building opened in 1930.

“The renovation wasn’t easy but it’s nearly complete and we are so happy,” says Todd. “We couldn’t have done with without the help of John Crawford and his team at Downtown Dallas, Inc.”

Two courtrooms including one used by Judge Hughes have been preserved as public amenity areas for residents. The rental units average around 800 square feet and range in price from $1,200 for the smallest one –bedroom to $4,000 a month for the biggest two-bedroom with an outdoor deck overlooking Bryan Street. Todd says they’ve has already begun leasing the units.

“We had a waiting list of people who had observed the construction,” Todd said. “And we’ve already signed some corporate leases.”

Main Street Garden Creates Community Downtown

September 23, 2011

Main Street Garden will be celebrating its two-year anniversary this fall and we continue to enjoy the added value it brings to Downtown. Earlier this month Main Street Garden hosted two big events: Salutation Nation and the YMCA Healthy Night Out. The park saw some 500 people that day, and not all of them were Downtown residents. In fact, I would venture to say many came from outside of Downtown to participate in these wonderful events.

Salutation Nation is a national event that highlights the health benefits of yoga. Main Street Garden hosted some 200 yogis, as they simultaneously rolled out their yoga mats with other yogis across the country.

They YMCA Healthy Night Out brought some 300 people as they celebrated healthy lifestyles. Families participated in adult & children’s yoga, zumba and more. The YMCA also is hosting the Outdoor Fall Sports Leagues at Main Street Garden. All are welcome, including corporate teams! Individuals or teams can sign up to play Kickball or Wiffle Ball. For more information about playing in the leagues call 972.560.3888 or email .

Come out and see what everyone is talking about including the Dallas Observer, which just named the Lily Pad Café at Main Street Garden the Best Place to Enjoy Downtown. The Observer also recognized the Homegrown Music & Art Festival, which all takes place at Main Street Garden.

Introducing DDI Board Member Greg Biggs

September 22, 2011

As Executive Managing Director, Principal, Greg Biggs has the responsibility for co-leading the Tenant Representative Services Practice Group in Dallas. In addition to business development, Greg plays an active role in developing and implementing negotiating strategies for clients including law firms and corporations creating operating cost reduction to increase bottom line profits to partners and shareholders.

Greg is a recognized market leader and has been involved in Dallas real estate for 26 years and has directed some of the largest real estate transactions in the Dallas area, including the recent build-to-suites and relocations of Encana Oil & Gas (USA), Computer Associates and Patton Boggs LLP; lease negotiations for Atmos Energy, American Airlines, DeGolyer and MacNaughton and Gensler.  In addition to the relocation of Patton Boggs, Greg has represented Baker Botts LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Andrews Kurth LLP and Sidley Austin LLP. Greg’s expertise lies in structuring complex build-to-suites, lease negotiations, acquisitions and dispositions for office properties.

Prior to joining Cassidy Turley, Greg was an Executive Director at Cushman & Wakefield of Texas. Greg has been recognized for the following:

  • Dallas Business Journal – Best HQ/Campus Deal of the Year – 201 for Encana Oil & Gas
  • D CEO Magazine “Power Broker” – 2010
  • Dallas Business Journal Heavy Hitter
  • Best Real Estate Deal of the year – 2008
  • D CEO Magazine Top Broker – 2008 & 2009
Did you know?
Greg’s favorite Downtown destination is The Arts District. It has and will continue to bring class and prestige to the city of Dallas.
Greg is passionate of Downtown because it is the Central BUSINESS District.  It is “our” business past and future.
Greg’s fondest Downtown memory was back in 1996, when his oldest son asked “Dad, what’s your job”.  The next Saturday they visited the sky lobby of Chase Tower.  As they walked the lobby, Greg explained how the tenant representation business worked.  Since he was only 8, his interest in Greg’s “job” evaporated quickly but a walk across the street to ice skate saved the afternoon for both of them.
Greg supports Downtown Dallas, Inc. because it represents a concerted effort to improve the Dallas CBD.  To attract business to the core of our city, Greg says we must support the organization that is focused on making downtown a desired business and personal destination.

Top Executives Heart Texas and Downtown Cashes In

September 22, 2011

The Dallas Business Journal reports that U.S. executives rate Texas the top state when it comes to having the best business environment.

The Dallas Business Journal cited a poll by the New York-based, Development Counsellors International. Texas was the clear-cut favorite among the survey respondents, with 49.4 percent naming it as having one of the most-favorable business climates, while North Carolina ranked second with 27 percent and South Carolina received 14 percent of the votes.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Business Journal reports that one of Downtown’s districts has one of the priciest streets in North America. Uptown’s McKinney Avenue ranks 24th on the list of the 40 priciest streets, with an average full service rent of $34.38 per square foot. That’s according to a recent study of 40 office markets by Jones Lang LaSalle.

DDI Sponsors Park(ing) Day Dallas

September 13, 2011



C.C. Gonzalez-Kurz

Community Relations Manager




Dallas, Texas, September 13, 2011 — Downtown Dallas will have dozens of new community spaces this Friday, September 16, as Downtown Dallas, Inc. and others transform parking spaces into temporary “PARK” installations. More than 20 metered parking spaces along Main Street will be temporarily transformed, creating re-envisioned public spaces for Downtown employees, residents and visitors to enjoy.

“It’s all in an effort to create these Quick Wins,” said John Crawford, President & CEO, Downtown Dallas, Inc. “We are working with the Dallas Arts District, Earth Day Dallas and others to help transform these public spaces, allowing the community to experience a more livable, workable, and enjoyable Downtown.”

A series of parking spaces spanning three blocks will be reserved for participants. Organizations, private companies and volunteers will form teams to transform spaces into areas for socializing, networking and some will offer entertainment. These temporary public spaces will come down after a few hours and the space will revert back to metered parking. Teams are encouraged to use sustainable construction materials and partner with local charities to extend the impact beyond the event.

“We’re proud to show support for PARK(ing) Day Dallas by being part of the inaugural event,” said Trammell S. Crow, Earth Day Dallas thought leader. “Like Earth Day Dallas, PARK(ing) Day Dallas is another way to show Americans the importance North Texans place on the environment.”

PARK(ing) Day is an internationally recognized event celebrated annually with the mission to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat. Started in San Francisco in 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2010 included more than 850 “PARK” installations in more than 180 cities in 30 countries on six continents.

For more information:


Downtown Dallas, Inc. Receives Top Honors from International Downtown Association

August 25, 2011

DDI wins IDA Merit Award for Downtown Dallas 360 Plan & the Retail Activation Strategy 

Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) is being honored by the International Downtown Association (IDA) after receiving a Merit Award for its work on the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan and the Main Street District Retail Activation Strategy. 

Every year IDA Achievement Awards features innovative best practices projects from Downtown Associations around the world. These projects are creative, diverse and present the best and brightest in leadership, public space and economic development. 

“It’s wonderful news and well deserved based on the time, effort and results we are already seeing with 360,” said John F. Crawford, DDI President & CEO. “This is the perfect example of what can occur through public/private partnerships.” 

DDI collaborated with the City of Dallas to create Downtown Dallas 360. This strategic, action –oriented development plan addresses public spaces, transit and transit oriented development, a long-term parking strategy, creating housing for all income levels, adding retail to the city’s core and making stronger physical connections between Downtown’s fifteen Districts. The plan focuses in large part on how Downtown should look and function in the future, and specifically how to get there. 

DDI will be honored next month at an award’s ceremony at this year’s IDA Annual Conference and Tradeshow to be held in Charlotte, NC.  DDI has won IDA awards in years past in Community Development for the Universities Center at Dallas; Business and Economic Development for the original Main Street District Retail Plan; and Marketing for the Where’s Your D Spot Marketing Campaign.

Huge Victory for Downtown as 1401 Elm is Given a New Life

August 25, 2011

Earlier this month, the Downtown Connection TIF Board approved the rehabilitation of 1401 Elm Street, formerly known as Elm Place and historically the First National Bank Tower, which closed in January 2010. 

The approximate 1.3 million square feet will be transformed by Merriman Associates/Architects into primarily housing and office space, with ground floor retail, restaurants and an observation deck as features.  Construction is expected to begin this fall, pending City Council approval on September 28, with completion in 2014. 

“When we talk about the Quick Wins and Bold Ideas that will shape the future of Downtown, this is certainly a Bold idea that we are confident will become a reality.” said John F. Crawford, President & CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc. “The project will add residents, employees and vibrancy at an unparalleled scale to our city center.  We welcome developers 1401 Elm Street Holdings LLC to the Dallas community!”

DDI Fall Membership Forum & Luncheon Hottest Ticket Around

August 22, 2011

The DDI Fall Membership Forum & Luncheon presented by Museum Tower is already sold out. We hope you got your tickets early.

This year’s theme: Downtown Dallas Bucking the Trend; Corporations take notice as national economic competitiveness drives business back to Dallas. 

The strong North Texas economy continues to make headlines.  From the most recent Beige Book report to articles in USA Today, distress to the north, east and west is pushing Dallas to the top of the list to attract business, commerce and culture.  But, why?  Is this a sustainable trend?

Economic and business experts Dr. Terry Clower of the University of North Texas and David Johnson of NewsRadio 1080 KRLD  will address this phenomenon, and provide some crystal ball gazing into what the future holds.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Hyatt Regency Dallas

300 Reunion Blvd.

Dallas, TX 75207

Reunion Ballroom

The Summer of 2012 in Downtown

August 22, 2011

The summer’s record-breaking heat is keeping DDI staff on their toes. The water truck was in the shop so they had to  improvise… just look at these pictures.

Dustin Bullard, DDI Cityscape and Urban Design Manager, was losing sleep over the well-being of some of Downtown’s beloved trees so he watered with his own truck.

DDI also installed a misting fan at the Lily Pad at Main Street Garden for patrons, braving the record temperatures. By the way, the water truck has been fixed and is back in service. DDI’s Clean Team staff waters trees throughout Downtown three days each week.


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