2015 was a great year for Downtown Dallas and as a result, hopefully it was for you too (as goes Downtown So Goes Dallas)!
Downtown Dallas, Inc. values its media partners who help us tell the story of Downtown revitalization each year. Here are a few of the top stories of 2015. If you want more, you can find the Downtown Monthly newsletter archive at www.downtowndallas.com.
The Dallas Morning News reported about new jobs being created in Downtown Dallas, along with some high profile relocations.
D Magazine touted more than a few reasons “Why Investors are Flocking to Downtown Dallas”
In June, Downtown Dallas, Inc. and the City of Dallas officially kicked off the ‘refresh’ of Downtown Dallas 360 plan. The Downtown Dallas 360 website was launched and over 300 people were in attendance at the kickoff event at the Magnolia and Fuse. Check out the recap here.
And mid-year, Dallas Business Journal printed the annual Downtown Dallas insert, containing information on economic development, Downtown Dallas 360, transportation, emerging economies and a guide to Downtown’s 15 districts.
In June, the original Pegasus was restored and installed at its new home at the Omni Dallas Hotel. As the Pegasus marked the beginning of the next phase of the city’s transformation, The Dallas Morning News featured John Crawford in an article about his vision for the next phase of transformation.
On a hot summer day, CBS DFW braved the heat to come out and report on the residential boom we are seeing Downtown.
Did someone say hotels? The Dallas Morning News reported the news that we have a dozen in the pipeline for Downtown Dallas!
And in case you’ve been living under a rock, CultureMap Dallas reminded readers that there are some pretty good restaurants popping up Downtown Dallas!
And speaking of food, the long awaited opening of The Market (formerly Shed 2), opened for business!
Downtown Dallas, Inc. unveiled a cool new concept for the holidays, featuring lots of pop up retail, pet events, live art and pop up art exhibitions. CultureMap Dallas kept us abreast of the happenings at Unbranded and CBS DFW came out to see what it was all about too! Dallas Innovates launched in December and included this story about Downtown Wanderland!
National Geographic Travel even got in on the action and gave Dallas a visit and had nice things to say!
Want more? Review the Downtown Dallas, Inc. Downtown Monthly newsletter archive for 2015 here. Interested in learning about all development projects happening in the greater Downtown area? Visit the Doing Business section of our website – www.downtowndallas.com.
To say the least, 2015 was a year of investing and reinvesting for Downtown and we do not see any reason why that will change as we move into 2016 with an updated Downtown Dallas 360 plan being completed and paving the way for continued success. Please save the date for our Annual Luncheon Meeting on March 7th. We will have a couple of special guests you do not want to miss who will be sharing their perspective on what makes an ‘urban city’.
All the best for the New Year. The best is yet to come!
If you missed our annual membership forum, presented by AT&T, you missed a great event with about 1,200 of our closest friends. Mayor Rawlings gave his annual “State of Downtown Address” to another record breaking crowd at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. He spoke about accomplishments and momentum in the Downtown area over the past 15 years, exciting news for Downtown in the area of public safety, but also challenges and competing interests we face regarding our Trinity River project, balancing new construction and development with historic preservation, the need for more parks and open spaces and the need for growing transportation networks, homeless assistance and public safety, livability and mobility, and the DISD bond election. He applauded the work that the Downtown Dallas 360 team has been doing to reboot Downtown’s strategic plan as incredibly important and that it really speaks to the state of Downtown Dallas in 2015 and what it holds for the future.
Rawlings mentioned too many of them to list here, but some highlights that come to mind are the privatization and redevelopment of the almost complete Dallas Farmers Market (complete with a beer garden!), events like The Reunion, the fact that we have over 60 restaurants opened or opening in Downtown in 2015, the trolley extension into Downtown’s core, the Oak Cliff Street Car completion, D-Link approved for another year of service, and 12 hotels currently under construction (and I might add that hotel occupancy is at an all-time high), and the regular headlines and announcements of new movie theatres, office buildings, and grocery stores. In fact he said,“You know you’re in Dallas when there’s a building crane on every street corner.” He touted the vibrant activity in the Dallas Arts District, including the recent event, Aurora, which brought over 50,000 visitors to the district (and that he would like to see it happen each year!).
He then teased a big announcement about parks and open spaces, which we found out later that day was an announcement that the Belo Foundation changed their name to Parks for Downtown Dallas and that they will commit up to $30 million in a dollar-for-dollar match to the City of Dallas to help complete the Downtown Parks Master Plan over the next 10 years.
Next, Rawlings noted that none of these achievements would be possible if our citizens did not feel safe living, working, and playing Downtown. He thanked the men and women of the Dallas Police Department, and spoke of making great strides when it comes to public safety across the city, including within the Central Business District (where overall crime in 2014 was down 12 percent when compared to 2010). “There is no question that Chief David Brown has continued to improve upon his predecessor’s success. But he would be one of the first to tell you that we still have room for improvement, which is one of the reasons why he is one of the best Chiefs in America.” Rawlings said it was his collaborative, community-friendly approach that led Chief Brown to support DDI’s request for a first watch. That shift will add 25 more officers to the CBD from the hours of midnight to 8:00 a.m. And we’re all pleased that the “first watch” is actually starting this week, ahead of schedule.
As Rawlings spoke about public safety Downtown, he also pointed out challenges we’re still facing. The first issue is homelessness vs. public safety. He told us it’s time for us to start thinking about an additional homeless assistance center, which has been the plan more than 10 years, as the Bridge cannot be the only resource. He also talked about the need for supportive housing for the homeless. The Continuum of Care Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance is beginning a housing priority list targeting people with the highest level of need for permanent supportive housing. Those are the answers that will help us both grow as a city and take care of our fellow human beings.
“We’ve got to be able to deal with seemingly competing issues, like green space vs. parking lots, D2 line vs. moving buildings or displacing people, highways vs. connectivity and walkability, and development vs. preservation. Rawlings believes the City Council and staff want to work together to find solutions to these issues. They all understand how important the Downtown area is to the rest of the city.
The Trinity River Project
Mayor Rawlings said “There is no greater challenge for our city than what we face with the Trinity River Corridor Project, which will be the most important project in the 21st century. That’s because this is a project that I believe will reshape Dallas for generations to come. It will transform the corridor from solely a floodplain to a grand, uniquely Dallas and easily accessible core space. It will help make the lives of our citizens richer and better. We must endeavor to create something that the world has not seen before, something that attracts new residents and massive economic growth.”
Rawlings has listened to residents and understands they are united around the desire for a grand park. That’s why he recently asked the Trinity Trust Foundation and Deedie and Rusty Rose to contribute to this cause. And thanks to their generosity, Trinity Urban Park planning, including how the park interfaces with the parkway and surrounding neighborhoods, will be privately sponsored by the Trinity Trust, using up to $1 million in contributions from the Roses. The planning will focus specifically between the Margaret Hunt Hill and the Margaret McDermott Bridges. But we will have to raise a lot of private money…probably over $200 million. The work has already begun with the Trinity Trust to make that a reality.
And on the parkway, last year Rawlings and his team convened a “Dream Team” of 12 urban designers, planners, architects, and transportation experts. That team, led by international consultant Larry Beasley, produced a report that included 20 design ideas for the road. They believe in a smaller parkway for this generation; access to the park; landscape and park experience; and building connections to economic development.
A technical committee (many of whom were opposed to the original plan but in favor of the Dream Team plan), working in concert with Sandy Greyson and Jere Thompson, has been hard at work studying how to make the “Dream Team” vision a reality. This is difficult work because it must be executed within the framework of the parkway plan that already has federal government approvals. The key is to bring both sides together on this issue and to make sure we stay true to the vision of the “Dream Team.” It’s a vision that our City Council signaled its support for with a unanimous vote in August to restrict a portion of the parkway to no more than four lanes.
This is all so important because of the huge economic development potential of the Trinity Corridor that is going to drive future growth in and around Downtown. There is so much unused land that – once developed – could provide us with our own Central Park East and West.
Rawlings explained that Downtown Dallas and surrounding neighborhoods are important, but it’s part of a larger city. And what will change all corners of our city in the most significant way is our education system – our public schools. He has wishes for the children of our school district to graduate, go off to college, and come back home to Dallas to live, work, and lead. Since the Mayor spoke about this, the DISD bond narrowly passed. Funds will be used to build new schools, construct additions to existing schools, and enhance libraries, gyms, science labs, technology, fine arts, and more. Downtown Dallas, Inc. will now work very closely with DISD to ensure bringing additional school choices to Downtown Dallas is a top priority.
Downtown Dallas 360
The Mayor reiterated the importance of the Downtown Dallas 360 plan, and closed by talking about how important “infill” projects are, those that will help complete blocks, improve connectivity, and make Downtown a livable place.
As I hope all of you know, we are in the process of updating the Downtown Dallas 360 plan. The plan, originally adopted by Dallas City Council in 2011, is our blueprint to shape the next phase of Downtown revitalization. As a part of the process, we’ve spent the last five months talking to residents, developers, business owners, neighborhood organizations, employees, visitors – just about anyone who has interest – about what they “love about” and “wish for” Downtown. And overwhelmingly, two themes have emerged – livability and mobility – as being top of mind. We have spent the last five months in the community engagement and listening phase and are starting the technical phase of the project now. For more information, visit www.downtowndallas.com and www.downtowndallas360.com
As goes Downtown, so goes Dallas.
Join Downtown Dallas, Inc. for Downtown Wanderland, a multi-faceted experience offering a variety of ways to eat, drink, shop, and be merry for the entire season!
First things first, we’ve decorated Downtown to really get into the season. Featured decorations include the Neiman Marcus Holiday Windows, holiday-themed B&Gs from the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Neiman Marcus Legacy Holiday Collection including the Car Tree at Pegasus Plaza and the Butterfly Garden at Belo Garden, as well as new decorative elements including a 20’ holiday wreath and new holiday tree at Main Street Garden.
Now that Downtown’s all decked out, you’re invited to join us for season-long programming that includes shopping, entertainment, and family-friendly activities, all set to live music, photos with Santa, and more! We’re also hosting Wander Walks each Thursday evening featuring live music, DJs, live muralists, shopping, and more.
In addition to the tradition of shopping at Neiman Marcus, Downtown’s long-time retail anchor, shoppers will find many more participating retailers to find the perfect holiday gifts on their list. Of course, participating restaurants, bars, and cafes will offer specials throughout the season to fuel holiday hunger.
And then there’s the pop ups! Downtown Dallas, Inc. has partnered with Unbranded, a curated pop-up with over 20 brands to shop each week. The founders of Need, Foremost, and Foot Cardigan, Matt Alexander and Bryan DeLuca, are providing free space at 1616 Commerce Street to a curated group of entrepreneurs, designers, coffee roasters, photographers, and artists. Join Unbranded for weekly happy hours, DJs, live art, coffee provided by Method Coffee, and pop-up art galleries.
Also debuting this year is Park-It Pop-Ups, a series of unique rolling mini-boutiques rotating through Downtown public spaces like Pegasus Plaza and Stone Street Gardens. Look for pop-ups like Brad Oldham Sculpture, Charming Florals & Finds, Downtown Pawz, Kettledrum Allie, and other Downtown favorites.
Featured hours of Unbranded and Park-It Pop-Ups: Thurs – Sat, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Sun, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday evenings for Wander Walks until 9:00 p.m. from November 19 – December 17.