DDI Honors Downtown Champion: Jeff West

May 22, 2012

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 Marijke Lantz

April 26, 2012

As Senior Vice President of Investments, Marijke Lantz is responsible for the acquisition of office, industrial, multi-family, retail and land to grow the Billingsley Company’s real estate portfolio.

Ms. Lantz has 25 years of experience in commercial real estate including asset management from acquisition to disposition. Before joining Billingsley, she was Senior Vice President and Acquisitions Officer at Valencia Capital Management and prior to that Managing Director responsible for the Asset Services Group for Cushman & Wakefield in Dallas. This role included property management, project leasing and facility management for more than 19 million square feet with properties located throughout the U.S.

Prior to her time with Cushman & Wakefield, Ms. Lantz was a Vice President to the Archon Group (a Goldman Sachs Company) and was responsible for the overall operations of the commercial asset management group and dispositions over $2 billion. This included more than 180 commercial assets located throughout the United States total over 32 million square feet.

Ms. Lantz earned her Bachelor of Arts from Western State College in 1982. She graduated with honors from the University of Dallas with a Masters of Business Administration in 1985.

Did you Know?

Marijke’s favorite Downtown destination is CityLights at Main Street Garden, during the holiday season. It’s beautiful!

Marijke is passionate about Downtown because the Downtown is full of vibrancy wherever you look.

Marijke’s favorite Downtown memory is taking my girls on a tour of the Arts District. We began our day by going up to my office where we had a perfect view of where we were to tour. It was a beautiful day. We enjoyed lunch in the plaza and our afternoon at the Dallas Museum of Art. To wrap up the day, we stopped by the Cathedral and it was truly inspiring seeing such a beautiful church.

Marijke supports Downtown Dallas, Inc. because it is exciting to be part of an organization that has such impact. I look forward to working together with the Board to make changes that will bring more of a sense of community to our great City.

Introducing DDI Board Member: Tara Green

March 30, 2012

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.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. Hires Veterans to Serve in the Downtown Safety Patrol

March 30, 2012

Earlier this month, Downtown Dallas, Inc. hired 7 new officers for the Dallas Safety Patrol, but they aren’t your typical recruits. Five of the candidates hired have military experience and three have combat experience, serving overseas.

“These men and women have offered the ultimate sacrifice to provide freedom and democracy around the world, now is the time to thank them for a job well done by supporting them and their families as they return to civilian life.” said John Crawford, President & CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Earlier this year, DDI decided to increase the Safety Patrol fleet by 10%, so it partnered with The Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP), to identify candidates for the open Safety Patrol Officer positions. On March 23rd, DDI welcomed the following officers: Officer Sharon Pilot, Officer Jeremy Epps and Officer Robert Croxton, Officer Pilot was deployed to Kuwait in 2008, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Officer Epps was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Officer Croxton was deployed to Iraq in 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Everyday DDI strives to maintain the highest quality of life for Downtown workers, visitors and residents by ensuring the neighborhood remains one of the safest in the city,” said Crawford “We very pleased to welcome these new graduates and we offer them congratulations.”

Introducing DDI Board Member: Steve Whitcraft

February 24, 2012

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

February 24, 2012

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”? 

Belo Garden is Coming Together

February 23, 2012

Belo Garden opens this spring and I already like what I see. I drive by it every morning on my way to work and seeing it come together has been such a treat.

As you can see, the sign appeared a couple of weeks ago and I just had to share a recent picture of it!

Opening plans are in the works and we look forward to the opening of another wonderful greenspace in Downtown. Stay tuned!

Many thanks to Thomas Hubaceck with the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department for sharing this picture.

Have You Seen our new Vehicle Wraps?

February 23, 2012

DDI worked with a local vehicle wrap company to create custom graphic wraps for its 2 pickup trucks, 1 large water truck and fleet of 7 sidewalk/street sweepers. These custom graphics reflect the new DDI brand and reinforce that the Clean Team is a DDI program.

Over the past month, crews removed mistletoe from trees throughout the Downtown. A majority of mistletoe removed was along Young from

Ervay to Houston, Griffin from Ross to Woodall Rodgers and areas throughout the West End. Mistletoe is a type of parasite.  Mistletoe grows on a wide range of host trees and commonly reduces tree growth and can kill them with heavy infestation.

We want to thank the Dallas Citizen Foresters for helping us trim all the trees at Main Street Garden. We will continue to work with these folks and we’re already planning a second pruning event with them in the spring.

Finally, we are working with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department in a citywide effort to keep parks clean. It’s My Park Day will be Saturday, March 31st from 9 a.m. – noon. We’ll plant new ground cover, shrubs & seasonal color at Pegasus Plaza. Please bring your own work gloves. All other tools & supplies will be provided, including bottled water! Volunteers rsvp today: www.facebook.com/events/330796720289106/http://www.facebook.com/events/330796720289106/

Downtown Takes Its Message on the Road

February 23, 2012

Downtown Dallas, Inc is booming and people want to hear about it.

The North Texas Chapter of Certified Commercial Investment professionals or NTCCIM hosted our very own DDI President and CEO John Crawford at a luncheon on February 16th.  Crawford gave the group an update on status of Downtown Dallas’ revitalization and how it will help the region as a whole, allowing Dallas to be on a level playing field with other great American cities.  The audience consisted of executives in the Commercial Real Estate industry.  photo left to right: John Crawford, DDI, Janice Peters, Hudson Peters Commercial & Jeff Boykin, Boykin Partners

Crawford also moderated a panel discussion on The Future of Downtown. The panelists included Jack Mathews, Jack Gosnell and John Sughrue. The discussion is part of a very successful series of real estate related panels and discussions that are hosted by Bob Voelker, a Partner with the law firm of Munsch Hardt.  < photo left to right: Jack Matthews, Mathews Southwest, Jack Gosnell, UCR Urban, John Sughrue, Brook Partners & John Crawford, DDI

Thanks Bob Voelker and Janice Peters for the invitation.  We love talking about our booming Downtown.  If you would like to have us come speak to your group or organization drop us a note at info@downtowntowndallas.org

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

December 21, 2011

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.


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