Downtown Dallas is looking forward to hosting the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June!

January 24, 2014

Downtown Dallas is looking forward to hosting the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June!

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced that Dallas will host the 82nd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, June 20-23, 2014. He made the announcement today at the winter conference in Washington, D.C. 

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or larger which includes nearly 1,400 total members. An estimated 300+ mayors, their families, support staff, and corporate sponsors, will gather in Dallas at the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel for the four-day session. The conference is expected to draw approximately 1,300 total attendees. 

Miss Sunday’s “Pulse of the City” on KRLD highlighting the multi-million dollar makeover of the Dallas Farmers Market? Listen here!

January 14, 2014

Miss Sunday’s “Pulse of the City” on KRLD hightlighting the multi-million dollar makeover of the Dallas Farmers Market? Listen here!

Pulse of the City is a weekly roundtable radio program devoted to current events with a special focus on issues and opportunities associated with North Texas and Downtown Dallas. Moderated by CBS/KRLD assistant news director Matt Thomas joined by John Crawford, President and CEO, Downtown Dallas, Inc., the weekly KRLD 1080 AM program is broadcast Sundays at 10 a.m. and can be heard on demand at http://dfw.cbslocal.com/pulse   

A Must Read from The Dallas Morning News: A shotgun wedding 40 years ago spurred the D/FW economic bonanza we have today

January 13, 2014

A Must Read from The Dallas Morning News: A shotgun wedding 40 years ago spurred the D/FW economic bonanza we have today

In the event you missed this, I think this is a must read for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, North Texas would not be where it is today and basically allows us to be a port city without the water.  The article touches on some history, the present and going forward.  As I recall, we are one of only 7 cities in the U.S.  that have two or more commercial airports.  With the lifting of the Wright Amendment in October of this year, Love Field, in addition to providing a new and improved gateway to Downtown, will become another arrow in our economic development quiver adding value and benefits for companies that will be relocating to our community and increased services to those of us already here.

 

My oh my, how time does fly (no pun intended).    We are very fortunate to live in Big D.   2014 is starting off with lots of good news taking up where last year left off with a few unsolved opportunities still in the mix.   Thank you for your continuing commitment to Downtown Dallas.  We tend to look at Downtown as part of the future and not the past.  As I mention from time to time, the best is yet to come!!

Happy New Year from Downtown Dallas, Inc.

December 30, 2013

In 2013, Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) literally reached new heights in many ways, but specifically, we moved our offices to the 71st floor of Bank of America Plaza.  We now occupy the highest office space in North Texas and then some; to say we have a great view and perspective of the neighborhood is an understatement.  

We made progress on a lot of fronts:  for example (to mention only a few), Main Street (thanks to the folks at Headington, Forest City, and others) is flourishing;  on-street parking initiatives were made which allow you to pay for metered parking with a credit card or with the new PayByPhone App; we completed the first full year of “Pulse of the City”, our weekly radio show sponsored by the law firm of Munck Wilson Mandala; we have a new and vastly improved website http://www.downtowndallas.com; the success of our Downtown Safety Patrol and Clean Team continues to make a huge difference in the added value they bring in reinforcing safe and clean Downtown; D-Link, a new and free entertainment shuttle, launched in November; we would not be in a position to keep on keeping on without the renewal for seven more years of the Downtown Improvement District; we continue to make steady progress with our strategic plan, www.downtowndallas360.com,  as we raise the bar and focus on moving Downtown  from good to great; and, fortunately, the list goes on and on and on.

The DDI model is based on teamwork and collaboration.  We have developed a sound fiscal and structural foundation to build for the future.  Revitalizing and transforming Downtown is a process, not spur of the moment. We have much to be proud of, but excellence, or moving from good to great, is the gradual result of proactively and consistently striving to do better, raising the bar, and moving the ball down the field and over the goal line.  More and more, it’s all about creating the “right experience”; it’s not just about geography, building another building, connectivity, or planting more trees.   

Save the date for our Annual Meeting Luncheon on April 22 (more information to follow).  Let me assure you, you do not want to miss the speaker we have on tap comparing Downtown Dallas to other major cities and how we stack up with our mission to create an urban destination.

On behalf of the entire DDI Team, we wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and a safe and prosperous 2014.  Don’t forget to have some fun along the way and please remember:  As Goes Downtown, So Goes Dallas—The Best is Yet to Come!

Pulse of the City – Honoring President John F. Kennedy

November 21, 2013

Pulse of the City – Honoring President John F. Kennedy

If you missed Pulse of the City last Sunday, you can listen here! It was a special show honoring President John F. Kennedy. Listen every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on KRLD 1080AM.

John Crawford: What we need in Dallas’ next City Manager

November 21, 2013

John F. Crawford
President & CEO
Downtown Dallas, Inc.

It is imperative that we make the right choice about who to hire as the next city manager. This is a critical time for our entire city, most certainly including Downtown Dallas, and without the right leader; we will not be able to continue the momentum we’ve worked so hard to achieve over the past decade. We need a leader willing to challenge the current way of doing things and to work closely with those making change. The Dallas Morning News has recently finished a series of viewpoints about what is important in the search for the next city manager. Below is my entry – to review all entries submitted for this important series, visit www.dallasnews.com/viewpoints

To define what qualities will make a great city manager for Dallas, I first ask: What makes a great city? Planners and sociologists often use terms like permanency, density, social and cultural heterogeneity, creativity, innovation, cosmopolitan, cross-industry and global as criteria by which to measure a city’s growth and success. And Dallas is measuring up – a fact making it even more critical that our next city manager is particularly right for the Dallas of right now, and the Dallas of the next ten years, potentially one of the most transformative decades in our history – as we become a great city.

The last decade has foreshadowed what’s next.  The completion of landmark projects like the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Klyde Warren Park, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas City Performance Hall and Perot Museum of Nature and Science brought years of vision to fruition.  Our intown neighborhoods have been brought to life by a new base of urban dwellers, creating wonderful indigenous growth in areas like the Bishop Arts District, West Dallas, East Dallas and Downtown.  Dallas’ art, music and cultural scenes are thriving, and when coupled with the stability of the North Texas economy, investment and corporate relocations are ripe.

Our city is changing because we are changing.   The demographic composition of our growth over the last decade indicates the diversity, the ‘social heterogeneity’, with which we are maturing.  According to census data, Dallas’ Hispanic population is growing closer to the 50% mark each year, nearly 40% of Dallasites claim Spanish as their primary language and more than one-quarter of the population is foreign-born.  Dallas is 50% female.  Nearly 65% of Dallas residents are between the ages of 18-65, with a median age of 30.  Therefore, it is imperative that our next city manager not only understand, but embrace the growing complexities of the citizens of Dallas and have the prowess to use this to our advantage – to cultivate new economies that will emerge and nurture the richness of a multicultural city. 

Such shifts in our demographic makeup are a significant factor in creating the demand for Dallas to become an authentically urban city.  2010 census data shows the highest growth areas were in intown neighborhoods, particularly in and around Downtown.  Downtown Dallas, Inc.’s own statistics show 200 residents living in the Central Business District in 1996, whereas today more than 40,000 live throughout Downtown.  City of Dallas Office of Economic Development data provides additional urban growth indicators:  49.5% of our population from 2007-2011 lived in multi-family housing and the mean travel time to work was 25 minutes, a correlation with urban housing types and inner-city commutes.   And these trends are reinforced by what is happening across the country. According to CEOs for Cities, young adults with a four year degree are 105% more likely to live in close-in neighborhoods, approximately three miles from a central business district, than are other Americans. 85% of Millennials say they prefer urban living and 63% of college-educated 25-34-year-olds say they choose where they want to live first, then they look for a job.

The next city manager must respond to such demand by not only supporting the type of urban development that is the future of Dallas, but also by sending a message throughout City Hall that the traditional ways of city planning, administration and operations is no longer relevant.  Policies and practices should balance spatial growth with promoting population density; create efficient transportation systems while enhancing walkability; and cultivate the amenities that improve quality of life inherent in areas like education, recreation, art and culture.  Economic development will follow.

Dallas’ next city manager must understand the monumental transformation upon us.  The next decade means moving forward with great tenacity to advance the Trinity River project, Valley View redevelopment and a city-wide trail network.  It means creating innovative public-private partnerships like that planned to revitalize the Dallas Farmers Market, and fostering a burgeoning start-up economy, the success of which is evidenced by projects like the Dallas Entrepreneur’s Center and Trinity Groves.   It means nurturing the arts in all areas of the city, and leveraging the 30 years invested in the Dallas Arts District.  There is no more critical time than now to ensure continued implementation of Downtown Dallas 360, Forward Dallas, the Dallas Bike and the Complete Streets plans. And the next ten years should look to building a diverse economy, from recruiting a broad base of corporate relocations to ensuring success of industrial, manufacturing and distribution projects like the Inland Port. 

Throughout Dallas’ history, we have learned that neither the public nor the private sectors can go it alone.  The magnitude of projects on the horizon requires leadership, innovation, transparency and a willingness to push the boundaries at City Hall by not accepting what is, and instead looking forward to what could – what can – be.  Challenge staff with the freedom to move beyond boundaries.  Respect and preserve this city’s rich history, while introducing new programs and ideas that will move us forward on a global scale.

To determine the right fit for our next city manager, let’s look at the person it will take to make Dallas a great city.

 

John Crawford: City Hall needs innovative strategies and increased diversity

November 11, 2013

John Crawford: City Hall needs innovative strategies and increased diversity

To define what qualities will make a great city manager for Dallas, I first ask: What makes a great city?

Planners and sociologists use terms like permanency, density, social and cultural heterogeneity, creativity, innovation, cross-industry and global as criteria to measure a city’s growth and success.

Dallas is measuring up — which makes it even more critical that our next city manager be particularly right for the Dallas of right now and the Dallas of the next 10 years, potentially one of the most transformative decades in our history.

The last decade has foreshadowed what’s next. At the same time that we’ve successfully completed many landmark projects, our in-town neighborhoods have been brought to life by a new base of urban dwellers, creating wonderful indigenous growth in areas like the Bishop Arts District, West Dallas, East Dallas and Downtown.

Our city is changing because we are changing. The demographic composition of our growth over the last decade indicates we are becoming more diverse and a younger population. According to census data, Dallas’ Hispanic population is growing closer to the 50 percent mark each year. Nearly 65 percent of Dallas residents are between the ages of 18 and 65, with a median age of 30.

So it is imperative that our next city manager not only understand — but embrace — the growing complexities of the citizens of Dallas and have the prowess to use this to our advantage. That means cultivating new economies and nurturing the richness of a multicultural city.

The next city manager must support the type of urban development that is the future of Dallas. And perhaps more important send a message throughout City Hall that the traditional ways of city planning, administration and operations are no longer relevant.

Policies and practices should balance spatial growth with promoting population density; create efficient transportation systems while enhancing walkability; and cultivate the amenities that improve quality of life inherent in areas like education, recreation, arts and culture. Economic development will follow.

Dallas’ next city manager must understand the monumental transformation upon us. The next decade means moving forward with great tenacity to advance the Trinity River project, Valley View redevelopment and a citywide trail network. It means creating innovative public-private partnerships like that planned to revitalize the Dallas Farmers Market. And it means fostering a burgeoning startup economy, the success of which is evidenced by projects like the Dallas Entrepreneur’s Center and Trinity Groves. It means nurturing the arts in all areas of the city, and leveraging the 30 years invested in the Dallas Arts District.

There is no more critical time than now to ensure continued implementation of Downtown Dallas 360, Forward Dallas and the Dallas Bike and the Complete Streets plans.

And the next 10 years should look to building a diverse economy, from recruiting a broad base of corporate relocations to ensuring success of industrial, manufacturing and distribution projects like the Inland Port.

Throughout Dallas’ history, we have learned that neither the public nor the private sectors can go it alone. The magnitude of projects on the horizon requires leadership, innovation, transparency and a willingness to push the boundaries at City Hall by not accepting what is but instead looking forward to what can be. Challenge staff with the freedom to move beyond boundaries. Respect and preserve this city’s rich history, while introducing new programs and ideas that will move us forward on a global scale.

To determine the right fit for our next city manager, let’s look at the person it will take to make Dallas a great city.

John Crawford: Mayor Rawlings’ State of Downtown Address

November 4, 2013

John Crawford: Mayor Rawlings’ State of Downtown Address

Each year, Mayor Rawlings gives a ‘State of Downtown’ address to Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) members and stakeholders. Just two weeks ago, we had another successful sold out luncheon with over 900 in attendance. Hopefully, many of you were there.

“As goes Downtown, so goes Dallas” has never been truer than it is today.  It is, in fact, a great day in Downtown Dallas, cranes are still flying high, new residents are moving in, occupancy is on the rise, and more landmark projects are taking shape – bringing more than a decade’s  worth  of vision to reality. We’ve even got our own radio show to spread the word about all of the great things going on Downtown!

In addition to the leadership of the Mayor, we could not achieve success without the cooperation and support of all of our elected officials, the Dallas Police Department, and City Staff. 

Many of our members were in attendance at the luncheon and due to the commitments of their time, efforts, and financial resources, our critical programs – like the Downtown Safety Patrol, Clean Team,    D-Link (the new Downtown entertainment shuttle), and Downtown Dallas 360 – are made possible.

Speaking of Downtown Dallas 360, DDI is proud to have been a part of some great accomplishments related to the plan this past year. The 360 plan set a goal of improving the parking experience in Downtown utilizing new technology.  This year, we have seen the implementation of solar powered multi-space meters in Downtown and single space meters that accept credit cards.  Currently, the City is rolling out a pay-by-phone option for all parking meters in the City allowing customers a variety of payment options at all parking meters.

In addition to supporting improvements to parking, supporting the implementation of the Dallas Bike Plan is key to the continued success of Downtown, connecting our 15 districts with bike facilities.  Through a partnership with the City of Dallas, DART, and DDI, 8.75 miles of bicycle facilities have been completed.  These include bike lanes, shared lane markings, and a cycle track, linking the Design District, Victory Park, Main Street, Lamar Corridor, Deep Ellum, and Oak Cliff.   

Another project worth mentioning is The Connected City design challenge, which DDI was proud to be a sponsor of.  The challenge of connecting Downtown to the Trinity River is tremendous and has the potential to forever change the face of Dallas and Downtown.  Currently, three professional team proposals are being presented to the public along with a jury discussion. The Open Stream Challenge garnered over 100 submittals from the general public. You can visit connectedcitydesign.com for more information.

Indeed, it is the spirit of INVESTING YOURSELF that founded our city – that entrepreneurial, can do attitude, bravado, and the public and private sectors working together.  Dallasites are known for not only dreaming big, but putting forth the effort and the resources to make projects HAPPEN like the Trinity and The Connected City, privatization of the Dallas Farmers Market, Dallas-based TracyLocke celebrating their 100th year in business, and the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new branding campaign for the city…Big Things Happen Here. BIG things really do happen here.

I would like to pose a question for our audience. Have you been investing yourself in our Downtown community?  Have you been keeping your money in Dallas? If you haven’t, it’s time to get off the sidelines, get in the game, and enjoy all Downtown has to offer!

Whether it’s a commitment to relocate your company’s headquarters, build a new residential tower, choose to make Downtown your home, be a part of the action at American Airlines Center, keep your money in Dallas by holding your company meeting or event Downtown, or simply bring the family down to one of our stellar new parks or special events – now is the time to INVEST YOURSELF in the fun and the future of Downtown.  It is our responsibility as Dallasites, as corporate citizens, and as a community to ensure that Downtown continues on its trajectory to truly  become the epicenter of the ‘third coast’- rivaling New York, LA, and Chicago… but it won’t happen without a vibrant, exciting Downtown. 

Mayor Rawlings talked about many upcoming events, conferences, and conventions bringing thousands of visitors to Downtown. Mayor Rawlings also spoke about a number of exciting residential and commercial developments. He even challenged us to make Downtown more fun and ‘funky’. In addition to announcing several successes and accomplishments, we even learned about a few unsolved opportunities we can all work together to resolve. To listen to the luncheon recap and the Mayor’s comments, listen to Pulse of the City online, and be sure to listen each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. on KRLD 

And save the date for City Lights Opening Night on November 16th!  Downtown Dallas, Inc., the City of Dallas, CBS Radio, Neiman Marcus, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Forest City Residential, Inc. present Downtown’s signature holiday event, City Lights!  There will be a holiday festival along Main Street with an outdoor market, musical performances by The Invincible Czars (6:00 and 7:30 p.m.) at Belo Garden, kids crafts, food & drinks, and much more.  The Holiday Light Show lights up the night at Main Street Garden at 7:00 p.m. with the lighting of the Breitling Oil and Gas Holiday Tree and a special arrival from Santa you won’t want to miss.  Festivities will continue throughout the season with movie nights, photos with Santa, and pet-friendly events. You can find all of these events and more on the Downtown Dallas, Inc. newly redesigned website at www.downtowndallas.com.    

Downtown Dallas, Inc. Board Member Highlight: Jamie Fox, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

September 25, 2013

ImageJamie Fox is the Commercial Real Estate Banking Texas Market Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He leads a team of real estate professionals, who provide comprehensive financial solutions, including project and corporate finance structures, for commercial real estate development companies, private Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and funds.

 

Based in Dallas, Fox joined Bank of America in 2003 as a Credit Products Officer in Global Corporate Banking focused on the insurance industry sector. In this role, Jamie was responsible for structured finance solutions such as term loans, revolvers, treasury management lines, derivative limits, equity derivatives and collateralized debt obligations, which helped insurance companies improve working capital and meet their business objectives.  Fox further developed his banking career in 2006, when he joined the Commercial Real Estate Banking team as a Senior Client Manager. In that role, he was responsible for advising real estate merchant builders, REITs, military housing developers and other clients on capital needs and delivered such products as senior and mezzanine debt, treasury, derivatives, FX, public finance and investment banking.

 

Before joining Bank of America, Fox served in the U.S. Army for eight years as an engineer officer serving in several leadership roles to include Company Commander, Platoon Leader, and Battalion Civil Engineer, achieving the rank of Captain. While in the Army, Jamie planned and managed military construction projects throughout Asia and the Pacific.  He also served as a combat engineer with the First Cavalry Division.

 

He earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, a Master of Science in engineering management from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. He holds the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Series 7, 63, 24 and 79 licenses, and is a Registered Professional Engineer.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. announces a new food, beverage and programming partner at Main Street Garden

September 23, 2013

Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) welcomes Joe Groves and Chef Russell Mertz of Ellen’s Southern Kitchen as the soon-to-be new café operators at Main Street Garden.  The café will reopen and expand under the new team by mid-October.

Joe Groves has a long history in Downtown Dallas, as a Main Street resident and former operations director of the technology team who had a hand in the development of Main Street Garden.  Joe is also very active in the West End as a part of The Haunt in the West End Marketplace and an active member of the West End Association.  Chef Russell Mertz is also no stranger to Downtown, having come from the kitchen of long-time West End anchor, The Butcher Shop (newly renamed as South Fork Texas Steakouse). 

Groves and Mertz are taking on Main Street Garden inspired by a vision to create a space that feels like “Downtown’s backyard”, serving great food and drink while also providing a place where residents, employees and visitors will want gather, put their feet up and enjoy the surroundings.  The two plan to extend service further throughout the park beyond the café’s current patio boundary and will work closely with DDI to provide items like picnic baskets and wine and cheese trays during events.  They also intend to bring their own programming.  Look for trivia nights, game watching parties and Bingo to return to the café deck.

The menu will consist of upscale “picnic-style” cuisine:  all-day “lunch boxes”, sandwiches, salads, wraps and other seasonal items (i.e. snow cones), all with the quality and richness expected from Chef Russell.   Also look for items with a bit of a creative flair, like an all-day cereal bar.  Groves describes, “We see this in some ways as a food truck without the wheels, so we’re having some fun with the menu.”  Operating hours will be 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday – Sunday, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon and evening beer and wine service. The name is still to be determined.

DDI is working with both operators to ensure a smooth transition with as little impact on food and beverage service at Main Street Garden as possible.  During high demand times while the space is being turned over, DDI will program food carts and other mobile concession options, as well as ensure full service at all upcoming events.

“DDI and the City of Dallas opened Main Street Garden in October 2009, and over the last four years, we have watched the space grow and change along with Downtown’s maturation,” said Kourtny Garrett, DDI’s Executive Vice President.  “Pedestrian traffic has increased exponentially, awareness is becoming more widespread and events are becoming a regular occurrence.  People are using the space. As such, we believe we have found an operator with a vested interest in the community who will contribute back to a great experience.    We are grateful to the Rusty Taco team for their partnership over the last year and wish them well in their other ventures.”


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