As reported here by BISNOW.

The Downtown Dallas that existed in 2000 is not much like the one that exists today. Downtown has transformed from vacant skyscrapers to mixed-use and from a few hundred residents to a few thousand. Here are four things that have transformed Downtown, and four more poised to do it all over again.

Four Things That Shaped Downtown

1. Outside Capital Investors coming from outside North Texas understand the revitalization happening Downtown — they do not need convincing to keep bringing capital, CBRE senior vice president Jack Gosnell said at Bisnow’s Urbanization and Future of Downtown event last week. It is Dallas residents who are slow to accept the new Downtown, Gosnell said.

2. Public And Private Development The combination of public and private dollars Downtown make this market dynamic, Spire Realty president Jon Ruff said. He has seen nothing like that relationship anywhere else in North Texas. Of the 180 developments happening Downtown, about 100 are private, and the rest are a combination of public, city and infrastructure developments, Downtown Dallas, Inc. president and CEO Kourtny Garrett said.

3. Redevelopment  Larry Hamilton has flipped several properties Downtown, including the Lorenzo Ascend Hotel (which is moments away from delivering), Mosaic, Lone Star Gas Lofts, Dallas Power & Light, the Davis Building and the Aloft Hotel. Granite will soon deliver Factory Six03. Alterra International’s Alto 211 has been renovated from its original 1958 roots. World Class Capital Group redeveloped 717 Harwood with lots of amenities and services. These developers prove that smart development is not just about getting product on the ground, but about using a city’s history to build for the future.

4. New Development Hall Group has been at the forefront of new development in the Arts District. After opening KPMG Plaza in 2015, Hall Group has two more phases planned in Hall Arts. More office space, a residential high-rise and a boutique hotel are planned for future phases, Hall Group director of leasing Kim Butler said. And ground-up buildings are not the only noteworthy developments. New green space, like Klyde Warren Park, shows the city’s dedication to creating a Downtown experience, rather than a string of office towers.

Four More That Could Change Downtown All Over Again

1. Dallas Independent School District More than 135,000 people work and 10,000 people live Downtown. Plano schools are the one thing we do not have in Downtown Dallas, Ruff said. But the less acclaimed reputation of DISD is still making progress. Education is a big part of Downtown’s complexity and authenticity, and it is evolutionary, Garrett said. City Lab High School will welcome the first set of students in August through DISD’s public school choice initiative.

2. CityMAP TxDOT’s hard look at the aging highway system Downtown is mostly talked about in the context of tearing down Interstate 345. It would be a challenge to balance regional and local needs upon overhauling the easternmost highway of Downtown proper, Garrett said. But many — including Butler — cannot help but imagine what tearing down I-345 would do for the connectivity of Downtown, the Baylor District, Deep Ellum and East Dallas. It is an ugly surgery to take on, but the result is commerce, Gosnell said.

3. D2 After the DART board voted to fund both the second Downtown light rail and the Cotton Belt rail line last October, the conversation has shifted to how the underground subway will impact Downtown. Though financing both projects has been a hot button issue, the future looks brighter since President Donald Trump has campaigned hard for infrastructure upgrades. Garrett said it is time to think about where the stations will go and how they will integrate with a walkable Downtown.

4. Reinvesting In ’80s Buildings  Dallas is one of the few cities still doing urban revitalization, Ruff said. Many of Dallas’ iconic 1980s skyscrapers — including Fountain Place, Trammell Crow Center and Thanksgiving Tower — are getting significant capital investments to upgrade and renovate, Garrett said. AT&T announced in October that it will spend $100M on upgrades for its Downtown HQ and add 1,000 workers.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. Welcomes New Hire Jacob Browning


Downtown Dallas, Inc. Welcomes New Hire Jacob Browning

New role to manage and influence Downtown planning initiatives

January 24, 2017 – Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) warmly welcomes Jacob Browning to its team as Manager of Urban Planning.  In this position, Browning will develop policy guidelines and recommendations for enhancement and activation of the public realm in Downtown, as well as helping stakeholders navigate City Hall regulations and processes.  Through his work, Browning will help shape the future of Downtown, ensuring new developments are planned in a holistic manner.

In addition to holding a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Texas Christian University and a Master in Urban Planning from Texas A&M University, Browning has over ten years of work experience in the field of city planning.  Before joining DDI, he worked as Community Engagement Liaison for the City of Fort Worth, Planner for the Fort Worth Police Department, and Senior Planner for the City of Austin.

“As DDI continues to grow its capacity, adding talented team members is essential to meet the needs of members, PID stakeholders, and the community.  Jacob’s expertise in planning, coupled with his experience and passion for engaging the community through the planning process, will help guide Downtown into the future,” said Dustin Bullard, DDI’s Vice President of Public Space and Design.

“I am honored to become part of the amazingly talented team at DDI, and to contribute to their successful, long-term endeavors in making Downtown Dallas a rich and vibrant urban center.  As DDI continues to support the dynamic growth and development of Downtown Dallas, I hope to, in this new role, help bring about the brightest future possible for Downtown,” added Browning.


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

Our program areas include: public safety; capital improvements; maintenance; economic development; public policy; planning/transportation; and marketing.  For more information, visit www.DowntownDallas.com.

CityLab Summit! January 12th and 14th

The CityLab Summit! is intended to support CityLab High School’s mission by being its signature annual recruiting and community engagement event. It seeks to bring together the diverse stakeholders that will be part of CityLab HS, and provides an opportunity for parents, students and the public to become part of the CityLab HS family.

For its inaugural year, this will be a two-day event, designed for prospective and entering students to the 9th grade in August of 2017. The program will open with a Keynote Lecture the evening of Thursday January 12, 2017 at the Latino Cultural Center’s Auditorium. This will be followed by a full day of activities on Saturday January 14th, 2017 at the future home of CityLab HS on 912 S. Ervay St. Activities will include a panel discussion, design charrettes, a hands-on painting project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and a sidewalk art project (weather permitting). All of the CityLab Summit! events will be free and open to the general public.

Future summits will include a series of exhibitions and discussions, where the work of CityLab HS students will be celebrated and recognized, as well as provide a platform where students, their families, school administration, staff and the community at large can come together and continue to strengthen and grow the mission and vision for CityLab HS.

CityLab HS is an open enrollment Transformation School part of Dallas ISD Public School Choice program opening in August 2017. Our vision is to create an inner city high school where the students use the city as a lab and engage with the social fabric of Dallas. Our students will collaborate with organizations, practitioners and industry experts as they prepare for college and future careers in Architecture, Urban Planning, Environmental Science, Public Policy and Community Development.

CityLab HS | preparing the next generation of creative problem solvers, critical thinkers and compassionate advocates in our communities.



Get To Know: Cafe Izmir

It’s lunchtime on a Tuesday and Café Izmir is filled to the brim. This is considered a slow lunch for them – the busy days are later in the week.

Each day, businessmen and women come in droves to enjoy the fast, fresh food at the Downtown location of this popular Dallas eatery that opened in February.

The restaurant is simple, clean, and oddly comforting. The décor hints at its familial roots through the framed photos and handmade Turkish plates hanging on the walls. The light fixtures are fascinating in their own respect; colorful lanterns handmade in Turkey dangle from the bar, and giant iron pendant chandeliers hang from the ceilings.

The Downtown location is just one of four Café Izmirs in DFW – others are Greenville, Plano, and Terminal D in DFW Airport.

What differentiates Café Izmir from most chains Downtown is that it’s family-owned. And you can tell.

cafe-izmir-interior“In our culture it’s so warm and welcoming, and hospitality is such a high aspect of it. We try to embed that into our service,” said general manager Sammy Habibi. “It makes me feel like I’m at home. It doesn’t feel like work.”

Café Izmir is perfect for those yearning to be transported on a culinary adventure; the menu consists of grilled and vegetarian tapas, bowls, sandwiches, dips & appetizers, salads, baked flatbreads, and dinner course specials.

The menu is probably the reason Café Izmir sees lasting success in Dallas. It’s filled with family recipes and hasn’t been changed in the 20 years since its inception. These recipes come straight from owners Beau and Ali Nazary and their mother Nazy.

“Nothing is frozen – we don’t even have any big freezers,” says Habibi. The cousin of Beau and Ali explained that they have one small freezer for the ice cream – saffron gelato to be exact.

The dips are enough to build a loyal following on their own. Habibi says the Downtown location goes through 150 pounds of hummus (regular and chipotle) each day. You can even take tubs of hummus home with you – $6 for 6 oz., $14.99 for 16 oz., or $17 for 32 oz. The hummus is so good you could bathe in it.

The meat Dolmas are a standout dish – grape leaves are stuffed with beef, rice, and spices. They are bursting with flavors of mint and dill, and taste like a warm hug with a squeeze of lemon overtop.

Waitress Sarah Driver’s favorite is a simple dish – grilled Portabella mushrooms, and she brings them back to the table, beaming.  “These are marinated in Beau’s mom’s sauce – it’s a secret recipe,” she says.

When they say secret, they mean it. Over the years, people have tried asking to purchase Mama Nazary’s recipes. Don’t even try.

The chicken meatballs are fluffy clouds that melt in your mouth. They are served with a tomato basil sauce and are a great complement to the flavorful, yet simple saffron rice.

Turkish coffee is the perfect end to the meal. It’s essentially a shot of espresso that is sweet, creamy, and chocolaty.  It’s perfect when paired with the freshest, flakiest baklava.

If you’re in the Downtown area and are in need of some fresh and fast comfort food, look no further than Café Izmir. Be sure to swing by for happy hour Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m, and ‘Neighborhood Nights’ on Wednesdays. They also offer catering and corporate menus you can take advantage of.

For information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit www.downtowndallas.com. And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit events.downtowndallas.com.

Cafe Izmir is located at:
211 North Ervay Street
Dallas, Texas 75201