DDI Honors Downtown Champion: Jeff West

Some called him a Downtown champion, others called him an artist and others will remember Jeff West as a savvy businessman. He was an active member of the DDI Board and Executive Committee. Here around the DDI office we will remember Jeff as the guy full of life. You always knew when Jeff was in the room. His laugh was contagious. He always seemed genuinely interested in what you had to say, he could always relate and he gave the best hugs around.

Jeff West worked behind the scenes for many years to better Downtown Dallas and improve the city’s arts. He died Monday at 54.  West’s work included 11 years as executive director of the Sixth Floor Museum and five years as managing director of the Dallas Theater Center. At the time of his death, he was working as vice-president at Matthews Southwest, the development company responsible for the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel.

West helped bring the American Film Institute brand to Dallas during the 3-year run of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival. That event is now known simply as the Dallas International Film Festival.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. President & CEO, John Crawford recalled West’s dedication to the city thru his work in numerous non-profits over the last 20 years in everything from the film festival to working to bring conventions to town.

“One of the marks of success is that you leave a place better than when you started.”  Crawford said.  “Jeff West accomplished that with all he did as an advocate for Downtown and the arts. It’s a sad day for all of us.”

Introducing DDI Board Member: Tara Green

Tara Green is Chief Revenue Officer at Center Operating Company (COC), the entity that manages the American Airlines Center, home of the World Champion Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars. Green has been there since August.

Prior to that Green spent three years as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. In that position, she led, managed and directed all day-to-day operations for the Committee. That included myriad responsibilities such as: the maximization of departmental efficiencies; oversight of all operations including fulfillment of the group’s NFL bid commitments; administration of the NFL Experience’s grassroots marketing programs; and the coordination of regional participation for Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving. Green also managed local participation in the Texas Major Events Trust Fund.  The North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee generated more revenue than any previous host committee in the 45-year history of the game. Green was also part of the regional team that pursued and brought Super Bowl XLV to North Texas.

Prior to her duties with the Super Bowl, Green worked at the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau where she served as Vice President of Sports Marketing for 11 years, bringing many major sporting events to the community and increasing room-night production from 30,000 to 100,000 room nights in a five-year period.

As Chief Revenue Officer at American Airlines Center, Green will be responsible for leadership and direction that will generate and retain revenues across multiple channels for Suites, Club Seats and Sponsorships. She will implement strategies, tools and systems to make sure American Airlines Center has continued success in Dallas.

Did you know?

Tara is passionate about Downtown because Downtown Dallas is the heart of the city. It is the place were commerce, culture and sports intersect. It is where you feel connected to the business and entertainment offerings of the city.

Tara’s favorite Downtown memory is Big D NYE.  For the last four years, American Airlines Center has hosted Big D NYE. It is the place to ring in the New Year in Dallas. Always a favorite memory.

Tara supports Downtown Dallas, Inc. because it’s a way to connect all of the businesses and residents in downtown to American Airlines Center and I hope that we can improve how those businesses and residents enjoy their experiences in Downtown.

Introducing DDI Board Member: Steve Whitcraft

Steve Whitcraft is a 28-year construction-industry veteran who has a broad background of experience and accomplishments, from field supervision to project administration, estimating and executive management. His expertise in the construction business and project leadership has led to the success of $2 Billion dollars in volume and over 6 million square feet of completed construction.

Notable, award-winning projects include South Side on Lamar, The Tower Condominiums, CIGNA Healthcare Headquarters, Verizon Arena, Grand Treviso Condominiums, Baylor All Saints Women’s, Diagnostic and Treatment Center and Townview Magnet School. Currently, he is project principal on the Maxim Integrated Products Headquarters being completed in Farmers Branch, a data center underway in Richardson for a confidential client, and the 17-story Hall Arts Center class-A office in the Arts District, which is expected to start in summer of 2012.

In his role as Turner’s Director of Commercial and Healthcare Segment Groups in the Texas region, Steve is responsible for client development, project strategy, preconstruction and construction leadership on office, multi-family, mixed use and healthcare building sectors. Steve holds a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Michigan, he is a Certified Professional Constructor (AIC), a Certified Healthcare Constructor from the American Hospital Association (AHA) and holds a Healthcare Construction Certificate from the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE).

Steve serves on the Board of Preservation Dallas as Vice President of Development (past president 2006-2007), serves on the Board of Downtown Dallas, Inc., he is a Graduate of Leadership Dallas (Class of 2003), he is on the UT Southwestern President’s Research Council, Real Estate Financial Executives Association, and is former co-chair of the AIA-AGC Liaison Committee.

He lettered in Lacrosse at Michigan, earned Junior Maine Guide certification and played drums in several bands. He vacations with family regularly, making annual visits to parents and in-laws in Southern California, Maine and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Steve is a Dallas native, currently living a few miles from where he was born. He and his wife, Ann, and daughter, Hope (9) enjoy spending time at the lake.

Save the Date – DDI Spring Forum

Please mark your calendars for the Downtown Dallas, Inc. Spring Forum. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will be giving a State of Downtown Address on May 24th at the Sheraton Hotel. 

He should have plently to say as we continue to celebrate a monumental year for Downtown. As you may recall from our Annual Meeting, 2012 is set to be a big year with the openings of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Belo Garden, The Park and more.

We hope you will join us in the celebration by again “Investing Yourself” in Downtown. How will you “Invest Yourself”? 

Season Greetings to Members & Friends of Downtown Dallas, Inc.

2012 is set to be another monumental year for Downtown and Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI), as we celebrate the completion of a number of significant projects. Dallas has been leading much of the nation in economic progress, and the trend is most apparent Downtown; from the construction and recent opening of the Dallas Omni Convention Center Hotel to our world-class Arts District. Openings like the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Belo Garden, The Park and completion of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will add even more recreation, greenspace, culture and iconic architecture to our Downtown. Cranes will continue to fly high on new residential projects such as Museum Tower, Lone Star Gas Lofts and the Continental Building, as well as pivotal mixed use developments such as the Grand Ricchi at 1600 Pacific, 1401 Elm, 500 S. Ervay and the Statler Hilton.

After just over a decade since the creation of the first Tax Increment Finance district in Downtown, which signified a common vision of the public and private sectors of a revitalized city center, today we are celebrating the realization of urban life. It is a reality of employees living where they work, and working where they play; a reality of entrepreneurial restaurants, a vibrant night life, a resurging commercial office market, and landmark projects that have moved beyond “planned” to groundbreakings and openings. There is a new heartbeat in the center of our city—a new generation of employees, residents and visitors that are changing our environment. Downtown has shifted from a one-dimensional commercial office center to one of many facets – living, shopping, dining, working, arts, recreation and public transportation. We no longer gaze at Downtown through a rendering of the future – instead we can see and feel tangible successes on the streets every day.

For several years now, the change Downtown has been most noticeably pronounced in its residential community. Historic structures, mid-century office towers and new construction have become home to thousands of new residents in the City’s core. Looking back to 1995, the Central Business District (CBD) was home to only 200 residents. Today you will find more than 7,000 urban dwellers in the CBD, and more than 37,000 who call one of the other 15 Downtown districts that comprise Dallas’s city center their home. All of this has created an exciting vibrancy Downtown that is now attracting major companies as well.

There is no question Downtown is growing by leaps and bounds, and this is just the beginning. Downtown Dallas 360,  a new action-oriented strategic plan for Downtown, is in full implementation mode creating new public-private partnerships, focused heavily on activating our streets, developing transit oriented development (TOD), housing and parking.

One of the real joys of the Holiday Season is the opportunity to say “Thank you” and wish you the very best for the New Year. Happy holidays from all of us at DDI. As goes Downtown, so goes Dallas!

P.S. Mark your calendar for January 24 to attend our Annual Meeting & Luncheon. Go to http://www.downtowndallas.org for details.

John F. Crawford

President & CEO

Downtown Dallas, Inc.

From our Family to Yours: Happy Thanksgiving

John Crawford

Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare.  They are consumed in 12 minutes.  Half-times take 12 minutes.  This is not coincidence!!!!

In our hurry, hurry lifestyle, don’t forget to slow down for just a little while, enjoy all Thanksgiving offers, reflect and be grateful for our many blessings and have some fun.

As the Holiday Season begins (kicked off in fine fashion by over 40,000 people Saturday night with CityLights at Main Street Garden), here’s your thought to get the Season started:  “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late”; wish I could take credit for that thought but it was Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Downtown and DDI are better because of your support and commitment.  We would not be where we are today without you and we need your continued support going forward to achieve our mutual goals and objectives.

May today and everyday be blessed with simple and quite moments of Thanksgiving.

All the best,

John Crawford

Introducing DDI Board Member Greg Biggs

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.