Dallas ISD Gives Final Approval for Downtown Montessori School

December 19, 2019 – Nearly a decade of work culminated tonight with the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees’ approval of a lease to house the only Dallas ISD elementary school in Downtown Dallas.  “DDI has worked for almost eight years on this school, which is a new endeavor for Dallas–a truly urban neighborhood school blended with a customized Montessori curriculum that leverages Downtown assets like Main Street Garden for learning, preferential enrollment for Downtown residents and employees, and all with a thoughtful socioeconomic balance,” commented Kourtny Garrett, Downtown Dallas, Inc.’s (DDI) President and CEO.  “The entire Downtown residential and corporate community has embraced this initiative and we’re so proud of the outcome of this partnership we have forged with Dallas ISD.”

As the stewards and advocates for Downtown Dallas, much of DDI’s work is guided by The 360 Plan¸ a data-driven strategic plan for the continued growth and development in Downtown.  As a transformative strategy in The 360 Plan, Downtown Dallas is envisioned to become a complete neighborhood, one in which residents’ economic, social, and personal needs are met via convenient access to employment, housing, recreation, goods and services, and education.  Recent data shows that the presence of young families in Downtown is growing, now including more than 400 children under the age of 13. Tonight, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees took an unparalleled step towards creating a Downtown that meets the needs of those families that call it home with the approval of this elementary school.

Dallas ISD Board President Justin Henry commented “Downtown’s elementary school is long overdue.  I have been committed to supporting this project since I joined the board in 2018 after hearing from so many constituents how great this need truly is.  I am grateful to Downtown Dallas, Inc. for being such a great partner with Dallas ISD and an effective advocate for those downtown residents in this process.   DDI worked tirelessly alongside downtown residents for years to provide pro-bono assistance in the creation of this school.  They developed the initial proposal that included everything from the curriculum to the future PTA structure.  After DDI’s plan was selected by Dallas ISD through the office of transformation and innovation, DDI spent almost two years searching for a location and will continue to stay involved to help with marketing, beautification and maintenance, as well as making a $150,000 contribution to the school from their foundation.  This type of community engagement and partnership provides greater opportunities for our kids in District 9 and all of Dallas ISD.”

Enrollment will open in January 2020 for grades PreK3 through 2nd grade beginning in fall of that year.  Admittance will be weighted to provide preference for Downtown residents, followed by Dallas ISD residents that work Downtown, and then opened to the entire Dallas ISD community.  Each year, the attendance will grow by a grade level until the school ultimately serves students through 8th grade.  The current location at UNT System on Main Street will serve as a start-up location for the first few years until a permanent location is established in the same area.


About Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. is the primary advocate, champion, and steward for Downtown, effecting change by developing strategies, setting targets, and mobilizing resources that:

  • Stimulate a vibrant and sustainable Downtown environment
  • Improve infrastructure
  • Enhance economic competitiveness
  • Create a culturally inclusive urban center
  • Position the area as a global destination
  • Foster innovation and technology in all aspects of the urban experience


For more, visit www.downtowndallas.com



Request for Proposals for Pearl Street Medians Landscape Renovations

You are invited to submit a proposal to renovate the medians on Pearl Street in Downtown Dallas, Texas.  Submitters are required to use the official “Project Documents” provided. All proposals are to be submitted as a single document in sealed envelopes or packages showing the project title and proposer’s name and address.

Full RFP can be found HERE.


Proposals shall be submitted to:

Downtown Dallas, Inc., Attn: Laura Tate 901 Main Street, Suite 7100, Dallas, TX 75202


Proposals may also be submitted via email to tate@downtowndallas.com.

The timeline for proposal submissions is as follows:

August 16, 2019 – questions from proposers due

August 23, 2019  – proposals due

September 6, 2019 – estimated date of contract announcement

September 16, 2019 – contract start date

Please note that this letter does not constitute a guarantee on the part of Downtown Dallas, Inc. that a contract will be awarded. No payment will be made for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal in response to this request.

Should you have any questions concerning the preparation of your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Tate.

Crescent Completes Work on Luminary in the West End

Corgan Architects is settling in to its new facility in Downtown’s Historic West End Marketplace. They recently had a grand opening to show off what is now the tallest building in the district. The Luminary is an imagining and reworking of the site Corgan has called home for years. Check out our Podcast with John Zogg of Crescent Real Estate.

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Main Street Garden Celebrates 10 Years with Improvements

Updated Dog Run, Playground, and New Café Operator

Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the opening of Main Street Garden with an improved playground, dog run, and new café operator. The recently completed park improvements were a collaboration between the City of Dallas and DDI. The city contributed $200,000 for the playground equipment, and DDI paid for the design fees and construction costs. Planning for the improvements has been years in the making and furthers DDI’s commitment to parks Downtown. The playground has been expanded by 40 percent with all-new equipment designed for children of all ages. There are two areas; one designed for children two to five, and the other for older kids. New overhead lighting has been installed, and additional trees planted to provide shade.

Now that there are approximately 12,000 people living Downtown, the dog run at Main Street Garden has become one of the most active areas of the park. Softer surfaces have been installed, there are more seating options, and more trees have been planted in that area as well. In addition to the playground and dog run, DDI announced a new Main Street Garden café operator last month. Hot Off the Press has already seen a lot of success with their paninis. Part of the park improvements will include additional activations, like resident bingo nights on Wednesdays and it will be part of the Dallas yoga fest.

Main Street Garden was the first urban park in the Downtown Dallas Parks Master Plan, and has steadily increased in popularity with residents, Downtown workers, and visitors attending the countless events and festivals that have taken place over the past decade. “As the neighborhood continues to evolve and change, it is important that our public spaces continue to adapt to the changes. Through the renovations at Main Street Garden, the playground has been expanded and improved to provide more play experiences for children. Additionally, changes in the dog run have been made to make it more inviting for dogs and their owners,” said Dustin Bullard, Senior Vice President of Planning and Public Space for DDI.

Photos from our Main Street Garden Day HERE

Massive Renovation of First National Bank Tower (1401 Elm) Gets New Life

Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) is pleased to announce that the skilled and experienced team at Todd Interests is taking over the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of a skyline landmark, the First National Bank Tower at 1401 Elm Street. Over the past several weeks, as the deal has been in-the-works, in order to stay on schedule for an end of 2020 delivery, construction has ramped back up at the black and white 52-story tower that originally housed First National Bank. Thompson Hotels will anchor the project with a 200-room hotel that will serve as the group’s Texas Flagship.

“When First National Bank Tower was completed in 1965, it was the tallest building in the United States west of the Mississippi river, and it made a statement for the city of Dallas. First National Bank Tower will soon stand tall again, as it will undergo one of the largest historic renovation’s in the history of the United States. We are excited to bring this important building back to life with new energy for future generations to enjoy,” said project lead and Partner Philip Todd. The 450-million-dollar deal is the latest in Todd Interests’ passion for historic projects Downtown like the Post Office building on Ervay and the 18 historic buildings being renovated as part of the East Quarter. The George Dahl and Thomas E. Stanley architecture of the First National Bank Tower was one of many things that drew Todd Interests to the project.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. President and CEO Kourtny Garrett says, “The First National Bank project will transform Downtown’s last major vacant building in the heart of a very active part of the center city, infusing life into a full city block that has been dark for a decade. Its magnitude is unparalleled; at 1.5 million square feet, four projects in-one, the largest tax credit deal in the state’s history, local Tax Increment Financing, and significant private investment, it is one of the most complex redevelopments in the city to-date. Few teams other than those with the commitment, experience, and expertise of Todd Interests could bring this project to fruition.”

Todd Interests brought together a blue-chip list of players to this very complicated and remarkable historic tax credit transaction. Berkshire Hathaway’s American Housing Partners will acquire the federal tax credits, while prolific statewide lender Stonehenge Financial assumes the statewide credits. Trusted and longtime Todd Interests’ equity partner Moriah Real Estate is at the top of the equity stack at 100 million dollars. “The belief and confidence in our team and this deal by our longtime and trusted financial partners, Moriah Real Estate, should not go unnoticed. We have a successful track record together that spans a decade!” said Todd Interests’ CEO and Founder Shawn Todd.

Together, Todd Interests and Moriah completed one of the first-ever multi-use buildings Downtown with the award-winning renovation of the I.M. Pei-designed One Dallas Center. Todd Interests brought everyone to the table, and in less than 90 days, everything necessary is in place for the First National Bank Tower project. Drever Capital Management will continue in an advisory role going forward. “Maxwell Drever and his team gave it all they had and should be applauded for their efforts and for keeping the property out of foreclosure. Our firm, this project, and our city will benefit greatly from Maxwell’s advisory role moving forward,” said Todd.

The four-product type vision for the building – apartments, restaurants, retail, and hotel – will continue, with some design modifications and refinements.  500 workers are at the site daily. 65,000 pieces of sheetrock will be onsite, which is the equivalent of 260 semi loads. The white marble that makes up the base of the tower has been retrieved, meticulously restored, and is now being reinstalled. Due to the scale and complexity of the project, Todd Interests is collaborating with the City of Dallas to increase the efficiency of inspections at the site to avoid construction delays. “We are thrilled to be working again with the talented development team at Todd Interests. This is an extremely challenging redevelopment and thus demands vision, creativity, and expert execution, that’s where Todd Interests excels,” said Wade Andres, President of Andres Construction. When the Thompson Hotel opens on September 1, 2020, 318 luxury apartments will concurrently be available to satisfy meeting the critical 2020 deadline to maintain the much-needed entitlements in this project.

Merriman Anderson Architects has been on the project from the start; paying close attention to detail. “Merriman became involved in the repositioning of 1401 Elm a decade ago when we were engaged by Colliers to provide a feasibility study to take the building to market. Since that time, we have been fortunate to continue with the project through owner and programmatic changes. We passionately believe that the current design and program is the highest and best use for the project and will greatly benefit Downtown Dallas,” said Aimee Sanborn, Principal, Team Leader at Merriman. Apartments on the 48th floor will boast being the highest Downtown, and street-level activation through retail and careful design will be accessible to all.

“Without question, this is the most complicated and challenging adaptive reuse project we’ve ever taken on as a firm. Its complexity is not only in the constructability and redevelopment but in the legal documentation of the Historic Credits and the master-lease pass through structure. The sole reason the opportunity exists to date is two-fold;  the unwavering commitment of Andres Construction and their loyal sub-contractors to stick with the project for over two years solely  complimented by the City Of Dallas’ commitment to provide special TIF proceeds to preserve such an iconic, historically significant asset to our great city,” said Todd. Garrett adds, “The vision for the First National Bank building re-do echoes the goals of The 360 Plan. The innovative design and structure will be noted in the building’s LEED designation, the exterior marble restoration, and exterior lighting. Delivering a Thompson Hotel is not only a win for the project, but is a victory for Dallas, proving up the strength and attractiveness of this market. It joins recently completed and currently underway projects like The Statler Hotel & Residences, the $100 million AT&T Discovery District, East Quarter, and four new signature parks.”

As of this release, all funding and paperwork has been deposited with Chicago Title, pending the final Octagon Finance bridge loan, which is imminent.


D CEO Commercial Real Estate Awards

Congratulations to our DDI Board members recognized by their work in commercial real estate!


Developer of the Year: Billingsley Company

Excellence in Architecture and Design: HKS Architects

Excellence in Construction and Engineering: The Beck Group

Best New Mixed-use: The Union

Pioneer Award: Craig Hall

Community Impact Deal of the Year: AT&T Discovery District

DDI was proud to be a title sponsor of the event!

The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center City study

The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center City study, in which Downtown Dallas, Inc. took part last year, was released by the International Downtown Association. View highlights below, or read the full report by clicking here.

• 3.5% of the City of Dallas’ population lives in the City Center (45,326)
• 30% of the City of Dallas’ jobs are in the City Center (246,645)
• In 2017, the assessed value of property in the Downtown Improvement District was $5.9B, accounting for over 5% of the City of Dallas’ overall value.
• In 2016, 56% of City Center residents held a bachelor’s degree or higher, earning a median income of $74,000.
• The City Center generates 10% of all retail and food and beverage sales in the City of Dallas ($2.3B).
• According to the research, Downtown Dallas is considered a “growing downtown,” based on several datapoints, including average growth in employment, residential density, population growth, job density, and assessed value. Other “growing downtowns” to which Downtown Dallas is compared are Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh.

2019 Matching Grant Program – Request for Proposals

As part of the approved capital improvements program in the 2019 Downtown Improvement District (DID) budget, Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) is soliciting proposals for projects to improve public spaces throughout Downtown.  If selected, proposed projects will receive a matching grant reimbursement from DDI in an amount up to $25,000.  Applications are due by end of day on Friday, March 29, 2019.

The 2018 Capital Grant Matching Program was a huge success, providing over $220,000 to 15 beautification, enhancement, and capital improvement projects within the public realm of Downtown.

The Dallas Symphony Association was a 2018 grant recipient, receiving $7,500 to clean and repair the limestone wall at Betty B. Marcus Park, near the Meyerson Symphony Center.  The project improved the appearance of this prominent public space within the Dallas Arts District.



General Information

DDI is seeking proposals for projects that will enhance the appearance, safety, and functional quality of public spaces throughout Downtown.  Projects should address the “transformative strategies” found in Chapter 4 (“Transformative Strategies”) of the 2017 360 Plan, a City Council-adopted policy document that guides future development and investment in Downtown; access the plan at www.downtowndallas360.com.  Projects must demonstrate public benefit and must result in tangible, permanent improvements.  The following project types will qualify for the 2019 Matching Grant Program:

  • Security Project: the project will improve public security, help deter crime, and enhance the perception of public safety
  • Pedestrian Enhancement Project: the project will increase pedestrian safety and comfort in the public right-of-way
  • Appearance Project: the project will improve the outward appearance of a building or public space

All proposed projects must occur within the DID boundaries (see attached map).

All proposed projects must be planned, constructed, and completed by the applicant.  DDI is not responsible for the completion of any proposed projects awarded matching grant funds.

If all or part of the proposed project is to be constructed on private property, the applicant must have the signed approval of the owner or owner’s agent or specific evidence that such approval has been granted prior to the award of grant funds.  Projects on public property may be submitted without formal approval of the relevant public agency, but the potential of obtaining such approval will be considered by DDI.

All applicants will be required to indemnify DDI and the City of Dallas against all claims.  In addition, liability insurance for the applicant, landlord, and contractors (as appropriate) will be required for proposed construction projects.  A Certificate of Liability Insurance must be submitted to DDI listing DDI and the City of Dallas as additional insured entities prior to the disbursement of grant funds.

DDI is committed to meeting the City of Dallas Good Faith Effort Plan, in which qualified minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) are involved, to the greatest extent possible, in construction or professional services contracts.  Project proposals should strive to include up to 25 percent participation from certified M/WBEs in the City of Dallas.

DDI will accept multiple proposals per year from each qualified applicant.  However, the grand total of grant funding an applicant can receive each year will be no more than $25,000.

Design Requirements

Proposed projects must be consistent with the design guidelines found in the Urban Design Guidelines of the 360 Plan.  Before commencing construction, projects may be required to undergo a design review with the City of Dallas and DDI.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations

Proposed projects should comply with all federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations.  The applicant shall obtain all required local, state, and federal permits prior to commencing construction.  DDI is not responsible for obtaining any required permits for the proposed project.

Grant Awards

Grant funds awarded by DDI will be less than or equal to 50 percent of all costs related to the proposed project in an amount not to exceed $25,000.  Costs covered by the grant include the actual costs of supplies, materials, construction, labor, and associated taxes.  DDI reserves the right to modify grant award amounts to meet program budget requirements; therefore, applicants may be offered an amount less than the total requested funds.

Projects must be completed no later than six months after the execution of the Grant Fulfillment Agreement.  Extensions may be permitted for projects determined to be incomplete by the appropriate deadline.  An amendment to the Grant Fulfillment Agreement must be signed by the applicant and DDI in order for an extension period to be granted; the extension period will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Projects judged to have been substantially complete before January 1, 2019, will not be considered for this grant cycle.

Grant recipients will be required to display signage at the project site to denote DDI’s financial contribution to the project.  Signage will be provided by DDI.

Once the project has been completed, and the applicant has submitted all required documentation, DDI will reimburse the applicant with its mutually-agreed upon share of grant funds.

Application Requirements

To be considered for an award, applicants must complete the application form, limiting responses to the space provided, except where additional materials are specifically requested.  Complete proposals must contain all information and materials requested in the Proposal Contents Checklist (see below).  Incomplete proposals will not be considered.  Proposals will be reviewed for required documentation upon submittal; it is recommended that each proposal be submitted prior to the deadline to ensure that it is complete and will be accepted.

Proposals for the 2019 Matching Grants Program must be submitted by March 29, 2019.

Proposals must be emailed (preferred) to browning@downtowndallas.com or sent to:

Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Attn: Jacob Browning, Urban Planning Manager

Bank of America Plaza

901 Main Street, Suite 7100

Dallas, Texas 75202

Proposal Contents Checklist

  • Complete 2019 Matching Grants Program Application
  • Map of proposed project location
  • Signed approval from the owner (or agent) of property upon which the project will be constructed (if applicable)
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance
  • Budget Summary (to include job estimates or quotes, if available)
  • Copies of acquired permits and/or approvals (if applicable)
  • Color photographs of the project area
  • Schematic drawings of proposed project

Approval Process

All proposals will be submitted to the DDI Capital Improvements Committee for review and final approval of grant award recipients.  No Committee member with a vested interest in a proposal will be allowed to participate in discussions or votes concerning that proposal.

The Capital Improvements Committee will review all qualified proposals and make a final decision regarding grant recipients within one month of the application deadline.  The Capital Improvements Committee reserves the right to reject any or all proposals or to approve only a portion of the requested funds.

Finalizing the Grant

Following grant approval, individual grant awards are considered pending until the applicant and DDI sign a Grant Fulfillment Agreement.  The Agreement will describe the project, the project budget, and the amount of funding awarded by DDI.  Upon execution of the Agreement, the grant is considered finalized and grant funds may be distributed based upon the conditions outlined in the Agreement.

For more information regarding the 2019 Matching Grants Program, contact Jacob Browning at (214) 744-6698 or browning@downtowndallas.com.

Important Documents

2019 Matching Grants RFP

2019 Matching Grants Application

2019 Matching Grants Budget Summary Worksheet