February 9, 2016

Full Bisnow article here.

Elm Street—one of the main thoroughfares through Downtown Dallas—was the hot spot for years before falling out of favor and watching buildings empty. Today, Elm is in the midst of a revival. Here’s a look at what’s happening.

The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas opened in September as the first mixed-use hotel and residential complex in Downtown with 171 guest rooms and 186 residential units. New Orleans-based owner HRI Properties sunk $80M into the 32-story former LTV building, which fronts Elm Street with a 1600 Pacific address.

Woods Capital bought the 1.4M SF, 50-story Thanksgiving Tower at 1601 Elm in 2013 and has since put $100M into the renovation. The improvements include blowing out the ground floor to add about 16k SF of retail. CBRE/UCR Urban EVP Jack Gosnell, who is leading the leasing team for Thanksgiving Tower’s retail, tells us there are several fab restaurants negotiating for space now. He says the lobby and ground-floor renovations will be stunning when they open this year.

Remember humming along with the radio when Deep Blue Something sang Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Well, the defunct band’s drummer, John Kirtland (with Kirtland Realty Group), bought the Tower Petroleum building (1907 Elm) and its neighbor, Corrigan Tower (1900 Pacific), in 2012 with a $45M plan to create residential towers. That was scrapped and the latest plan for 1907 Elm is a $40M, 150-room boutique hotel called Saint Elm. No time frame has been announced.

Developer Scott Remphrey is leading the effort to redevelop these three buildings (totaling 55k SF) at 1512, 1514 and 1516 Elm St in the Mid Elm Lofts. The plan calls for about 25 residential units above Mudsmith (a coffee and wine bar that originated on Greenville Avenue), Southpaw’s Organic Grill (a fast-casual restaurant with existing space in Uptown and Park Cities) and the Londoner Pub (a restaurant and bar with a pub in Addison). Jack tells us the project is on track, but is facing hurdles and approvals of historic redevelopment. All the restaurant tenants have stayed with the project through the obstacles. No time frame has been announced.

In about a year, luxury boutique Forty Five Ten should be opening near the Joule, adjacent to the eye sculpture between Elm and Main streets. The current location at 4510 McKinney Ave will be expanded to four stories in 45k SF with a rooftop space. The T Room is sticking around, too. The boutique’s owner, Brian Bolke, is partnering with Headington Cos on the project, which has encountered some controversy along the way because of lawsuits and building demolitions.

A one-of-a-kind mixed-use Westin opened in the 1M SF One Main Place last month. Developer KFK Group selected the Westin Dallas Downtown to anchor the redevelopment at 1201 Main St between Main and Elm streets. The vertical mixed-use property will feature a dedicated hotel entrance parallel to Elm Street and a second-floor hotel lobby in the former banking hall. In addition to the 326 guest rooms will be 50k SF of retail and 60k SF of Class-A office (which is still leasing up).

1401 Elm is hovering in limbo, but Jack tells us it will be redeveloped. Known as The Olympic, the 1.5M SF property was set for a $170M conversion to transform the historic 52-story skyscraper into a mixed-use complex that takes up an entire city block bounded by Elm, Field, Pacific and Akard streets. The Olympic would’ve featured 500 luxury apartments, 70k SF of retail space, 100k SF of office space and 950 parking spots. But, that plan is on hold as the JV between BDRC and Olympic Property Partners fell apart last fall. Just yesterday, the Dallas Morning News reported that the owners requested Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Jack is still confident that the deal will happen. It’s the only space in the CBD that can accommodate and park larger format retailers and the tower is an ideal floor plate for apartments, he tells us, and he has solid interest from well-known retailers that would come to the project when it happens.

The 18-story blue tower at 211 N Ervay (facing Elm) sat vacant for about two decades before developer Mike Sarimsakci saw opportunity to breathe new life into Downtown. He bought the Corrigan-built tower in 2012 with then-Alterra International Holdings (now called Alto Partners). By 2014, around $14M in upgrades attracted some of the hippest startups and entrepreneurs, including Tech Wildcatters.

Moving Beyond New Urbanism

February 8, 2016

Click here for link to full article.

Moving Beyond New Urbanism: Inclusive Planning and Design


Daniel Iacofano (co-author of this article) and MIG worked with the City of Dallas and Downtown Dallas Inc. (DDI) on a collaborative process to develop a visionary, comprehensive and strategic action plan for downtown. Built from the community’s vision, the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan addresses specific policies, programs, and projects to guide private and public investments and create a dynamic city center.

Beginning in June 2015, DDI and the City of Dallas launched the process of evolving Downtown Dallas 360 into strategies relevant to today through 2020. The first work phase focused on a neighborhood needs analysis and community conversations about priorities, assets, as well as vision, physical and social connectivity. MIG, Downtown Dallas Inc., City of Dallas, and CityDesign Studio worked with each neighborhood in Downtown Dallas 360’s fifteen districts to plan workshops, forums, and other outreach initiatives specifically designed for that area. For more information, visit www.downtowndallas360.com/.

Urban planning—as with fashion, architecture, and dieting—has its fads, fashions, and styles. There is no doubt that we are now riding the wave of New Urbanism. Terms like form-based zoning, walkability, and transit-oriented development are on the lips of experts in planning departments and redevelopment agencies across the nation.

We applaud this trend. When New Urbanism burst onto the scene in the late 1980s, it was a breakthrough in reintegrating the social and physical aspects of planning. It brought with it a sense of the European city, a touch of the classic American Main Street, and an acceptance of the density and “messiness” that make cities vibrant and healthy places to live.

Over the past decade, however, many environments built under the rubric of New Urbanism have lost much of that original vitality. We are seeing more formulaic “instant” neighborhoods with no, or very little, sense of place. Downtown redevelopments often look like they’ve been stamped out of the same mold, drawn according to the same template: housing over retail, office over retail, etc.

While they may look inviting, these instant neighborhoods are not meeting the needs of all residents of the city. Take a closer look beyond the facades and the traffic-calmed streets. You’ll notice that housing is expensive and the shops even more so. The people who live there don’t work there and the people who work there can’t afford to live there. Many so-called lifestyle centers have all the requisite features of New Urbanism, including nicely designed residential-over-retail buildings. The result does not work as a neighborhood, however. Instead of looking like a simulacrum of Main Street, it more closely resembles a large mall with the roof removed. Where are the kids, the parks, the neighborhood-serving stores? Chic boutiques on the corners don’t make a socially, economically, and culturally inclusive community.

The problem is that urban planners once again are becoming too reliant on the physical design approach to infill and urban redevelopment. This is understandable. Trends in planning, after all, do swing as dramatically as fads in fashion. New Urbanism was, in a very real sense, a reaction to the overemphasis cities had been placing on providing social services, health care, and jobs. In the wake of urban riots in the ’60s and the grim specter of abandoned downtowns during the ’70s, social services were a crucial and necessary focus. But in the process we almost completely neglected classical city and building design elements. New Urbanism aimed to reintegrate them.

Now we feel the pendulum swinging back to overemphasis on physical design. It is time to stop the wild swing of planning styles we have all witnessed over the past half century and bring the pendulum back to a point where physical design and the needs of all residents in our cities are equally addressed.

How do we get there? The solution is a focus on inclusive planning and design based on economic, social, environmental. and culturally sensitive policies that allow everyone to improve economically as the physical area improves. Cities need planning that recognizes that all individuals have the right to full and equal participation in the built environment—and that through their direct involvement they can shape their own environment to meet their own needs.

To support a conversation about inclusive design for planners, elected officials, and community members, we have proposed a broad, inclusive policy framework to help guide urban area decision-making. Elements include:

Economic Development

Land use and public policy decisions that create opportunities for everyone to have access to a variety of quality jobs and to fully participate in the economy of the city.

Housing and Neighborhoods

Codes, zoning, and incentives that generate safe, healthy neighborhoods with a range of housing types and price levels to accommodate diverse socio-economic backgrounds and lifestyle choices.


Full access to quality education choices for all residents, with shared use between schools, parks, and community facilities.

Access and Mobility

Viable, multimodal, and interconnected public transit systems with seamless spaces that are friendly and inclusive of everyone: those with disabilities, young children, seniors, and parents pushing baby carriages.

Habitat Protection and a Safe Public Realm

Connected, safe, healthy, functional, and green connections with pedestrian- and bike-friendly streets that reactivate the public realm and lead to environmental stewardship.

Community Facilities and Gathering Spaces

Well-maintained and usable open spaces that can be built, landscaped, and maintained with funds from selling development rights.

Cultural Meaning

Spaces and places to express cultural rituals and display social and cultural symbols that have meaning for all residents, ensuring that projects—especially large-scale redevelopments—retain a distinctive sense of place and neighborhood.

These policy guidelines are far from theoretical. Over the past decade there have been many projects that exemplify this approach and fulfill many of the policy considerations.

The Fruitvale Transit Village in Oakland, CA, was the result of the community coming together and insisting that a new development centered on transit also include affordable and senior housing, offices, neighborhood-serving retail, a childcare facility, a library, a senior center, a health clinic, and a public plaza.

In Seattle, WA, downtown property owners have partnered with low-income housing providers. The city changed the development code to increase the housing height limit. Builders buy the extra height and that money goes toward affordable housing.

In Washington, DC, where disenfranchised areas like the low-income Anacostia Waterfront have borne the brunt of political wrangling for years, an innovative new comprehensive plan is adding jobs, education, arts, and cultural elements.

San Antonio’s Hemisfair Park—which includes Yanaguana Gardens and Complete Streets environments—is transforming the 1967 World’s Fair site into one of the great attractions of the city, making downtown living more appealing for families while also attracting regional visitors.

In West Sacramento, CA, West Capitol Avenue has become the heart of the community with a true sense of place. The city is seeing investment by a hotelier, a bank, and small businesses, and the street has welcomed a college, community center, an updated library, and remodeled transit centers.

Addressing impacts of expanding its campus in an economically disadvantaged area south of the city, the University of California in San Francisco is offering economic mitigations, including reserving eight acres for usable public open space, and creating high school and college programs for local residents to train for well-paid staff positions.

In Pittsburgh, PA, Market Square is a redesigned public space with new, compatible surrounding land uses that are now appealing, inviting, and safe for all users.

In Ocala, FL, community members worked with the city on a downtown master plan with development standards and guidelines that restored a dynamic, active environment in the heart of the city.

These inclusive projects share two important elements that are crucial to creating successful projects. The first is an emphasis on robust public participation. We strongly believe that each project has to fulfill the community’s vision. All too often public participation is done entirely pro forma with no real input. The inclusive approach ensures that everyone who is eventually going to live in the area—or be affected by it—needs to be involved in a meaningful way. And community members have to know their ideas and comments will be incorporated into the design. That’s the kind of involvement that builds the community and makes a project truly inclusive.

The second common element is equitable sharing: The local community that is impacted needs to get a proportionate share of the benefits. In far too many cases involving redevelopment, prices rise and the original inhabitants are forced out, destroying neighborhoods and historic communities whose roots can go back more than a century. In each case where redevelopment results in an uptick in property values, the increase in tax revenue generated thanks to the revitalization should go directly back to the area that generated them in terms of improvements that bring real benefits.

This approach is already being supported by community members in San Francisco through “Community Benefit Zoning.” The right to develop a certain square footage is given in return for explicitly measurable benefits in that same neighborhood. Those benefits are measured in terms of parks, community facilities, ongoing costs of maintenance and operations, sidewalks, schools, transit—all the things that communities need to be healthy.

We need more policies like this. Despite the advances we have made in our urban centers over the past two decades, those with low incomes or who are disadvantaged in some way continue to live in the areas with the worst pollution and the heaviest traffic. Their parks, schools, hospitals, and other community facilities are deteriorating.

It is time to take everything we’ve learned from New Urbanism about the physical design of cities and, using a more inclusive approach, develop projects that go beyond just bricks and mortar. Our cities need to be public spaces where we’re giving the best of what the city has to offer to everyone.
Daniel Iacofano, Ph.D., FASLA and Susan Goltsman, FASLA are principals in the Berkeley-based planning and design firm MIG Inc. 

Spring Swim Lessons at T. Boone Pickens YMCA

February 5, 2016

You can learn more & register by clicking here.

spring swim lessons digital piece

Valentine Stop + Shop – Feb. 11-14!

February 5, 2016

This February, Downtown Dallas, Inc. is bringing a Valentine Stop + Shop market to Pegasus Plaza!  Stop + Shop opens for business on Thursday, February 11, and will be open daily until Sunday, February 14.  With flowers and an assortment of great gifts from local vendors to purchase, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for your loved one, or for yourself!

Valentine Stop + Shop hours:

Feb. 11: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Feb. 12: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Feb. 13: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Feb. 14: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/226866714319794/


Save the Date: Valentine Stop + Shop!

January 29, 2016

This February, Downtown Dallas, Inc. is bringing a Valentine Stop+ Shop market to Pegasus Plaza!  Stop + Shop opens for business on Thursday, February 11, and will be open daily until Sunday, February 14.

Valentine Stop + Shop hours:

February 11: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

February 12: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

February 13: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

February 14: 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Stay tuned for more details!

Action Plan from Monday Night’s Downtown Community Public Safety Meeting

January 29, 2016

To the Downtown Dallas community:

Late Wednesday, the Dallas Police Department (DPD) announced the first in what we expect will be many arrests related to the K2 issue that has caused tremendous impact on our Downtown neighborhoods. Yesterday morning, video of the suspect in the Hoff carjacking case was released. And just this morning, another K2-related arrest was made. We applaud DPD for their responsiveness to these issues and urge continued aggressive pursuit to send a message that Downtown will not tolerate this type of threat to our community.

It was that same message of “no tolerance” that was heard Monday night as we came together to discuss collective action toward addressing public safety. I thank everyone who attended to provide valuable feedback, which our team at Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) has assembled and will continue to work with you to effect positive change. I also would like to thank Council Members Philip Kingston, District 14, and Adam Medrano, District 2, for their participation and ongoing diligence with public safety issues.

Residential growth is the key to Downtown’s future. Just 20 years ago, there were 200 people living Downtown. Now, there are over 9,000 residents living in the core and over 45,000 living within 2.5 miles. Downtown residents are the talent pool corporations are chasing. Residents are birthing new businesses and giving life to our streets. We must protect this growth by first and foremost protecting the safety of our citizens. As such, DDI’s number one priority is always public safety, recognizing that without meeting that basic human need, everything else we are working toward is for naught.

Our goal Monday night was primarily to open lines of communication as a starting point for future collaborative action. We also wanted to share some information that is often unknown to ensure the community is fully aware of the resources available. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate some of that information, followed by a summary of priorities from Monday’s meeting.

DDI’s role in public safety is threefold:

We are an advocate. In partnership with the community, we leverage our relationships and expertise to make recommendations, create programs, and influence agencies that have the capacity, policy, and regulatory control and enforcement power to directly address public safety issues. This includes our partners such as the DPD, City of Dallas, DART, the County, and the State. We make it a priority to effect change, work collaboratively, and hold these organizations accountable for actions that are in the best interest of the entire Downtown community. In this capacity, we have directly influenced:

  • DPD’s creation of First Watch shift, which added a dedicated patrol of 25 officers to the Central Business District overnight between the hours of 11:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m. (2015)
  • State legislative changes elevating Burglary of Motor Vehicle offenses from a misdemeanor to a felony. (2009)
  • Amendments to local law to create a no tolerance policy on panhandling in Downtown, making it illegal to panhandle in specified zones, including the Central Business District, Deep Ellum, Victory Park, and Uptown. (2011)
  • Agreements with all Downtown liquor and convenience stores to not sell high-alcohol content single beer and wine. The Downtown Safety Patrol conducts bi-weekly audits at each location to ensure stores are adhering to the agreement. (2010)
  • Creation and ongoing operation of the Impact Offender initiative with the District Attorney, DPD, County Jail, and judges to ensure career criminals are held on bond, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that plea bargains are not an option. (2010)

We are a facilitator and a vehicle for communication. We work in tandem with neighborhood groups such as the Downtown Residents Council, Downtown Dallas Neighborhood Association, CBD Neighborhood Coalition, and others in adjacent neighborhoods to not only communicate our own initiatives, but also promote cooperation. Because of our diverse membership and partnerships with other like-minded organizations, we are able to connect conversations between residents, the business community, and agencies like DART, City of Dallas, and the County. The Downtown community is no longer segmented – all of these interests come together to advance our neighborhoods.

If you are not already plugged in, here are some ways to get involved:

  • DDI directly manages communications to Dallas Emergency Response Team (DERT) members including notifications of emergencies, street closures, DART issues, special events, critical incidents, and weather alerts. DERT members are primarily property managers and security directors for each Downtown residential and commercial building.
  • DDI and our Downtown Safety Patrol work directly with businesses, corporations, hotels, and merchants to provide escorts for their employees and patrons upon request, offer safety tips, and conduct safety audits and seminars.
  • DDI has multiple information resources for residents, businesses, and those generally interested in Downtown. We produce communications ranging from “things to do” to the latest development news, as well as the latest information on critical issues facing our community. Follow us on social media, and you can also sign up according to your interests for newsletters and communications on our web site.

We proactively work every day to maintain a safe neighborhood Downtown. DDI’s number one priority is public safety. From creating the Downtown Safety Patrol (DSP) more than ten years ago to our programs related to lighting and vagrancy, over two-thirds of our budget is allocated to public safety and maintenance initiatives.

  • The DSP is on patrol and available Sunday – Thursday 6:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Friday/Saturday 6:30 a.m. – midnight. The DSP dispatch number is 214.741.1151. Officers are available for escorts and to supplement the DPD.
  • DDI employs an off-duty DPD officer during DSP hours of operation.
  • We fund the Homeward Bound program, which reunites homeless individuals with their families. Since its inception in 2008, over 2,000 individuals have been reunited with family.
  • Each year, DDI fulfills equipment requests from DPD including bicycles, bait car equipment, and additional technology to enhance officer’s ability to be effective Downtown.
  • DDI established an ongoing task force comprised of DPD, DART Police, El Centro, Greyhound, and DSP that addresses current issues like the most recent K2 epidemic to ensure a multi-pronged approach to our most critical threats.
  • DDI created the “Lights Out” initiative, whereby our DSP checks 1,500 lights Downtown every two weeks. Lights found to be “out” are reported to Oncor and the City of Dallas, with an agreed repair time of no more than three business days.
  • DSP, Clean Team, and Crisis Intervention partner weekly to clear and clean up encampments within the Downtown Improvement District. They engage homeless and direct them to appropriate services.

Because of our position and history as a steward for the Downtown community, Monday night’s meeting was critical. It is the type of communication shared that evening that shapes our programs and directs our partnerships with other agencies. In our role as a facilitator, it was our intent to first open a direct line of communication between residents and the DPD. As was discussed at the meeting, we will hold several more sessions, collectively assembling a transparent and specific action plan. As an advocate, we will take that plan and, along with the community, hold all parties involved accountable. Finally, as an active participant in public safety efforts, we are identifying additional initiatives that we can directly undertake that are within the mission and capacity of this organization to act immediately.

With regard to specific takeaways from Monday night, we have assembled a list of what we heard as priorities. Again, I want to make the point that the intent is to move forward collaboratively, and that DDI is serving as a facilitator to plan with the community. Additional work will be done quickly to assemble short term and long term solutions into a community action plan. It is also worth noting that Downtown Dallas, Inc. empowers and encourages its entire executive staff to collaborate and make decisions and recommendations on our behalf, as was done Monday night. Most do, or have, lived Downtown, and care deeply about these revitalization efforts and have specific expertise to address many of these issues.

From Monday night’s meeting, we’ve initially identified the following priority actions:

  1. Residential Property Safety Audits: DDI will reach out to residential property managers over the next 45 days to offer coordination assistance to conduct DPD-led safety audits of their buildings, including parking garages. This will include an emergency access plan for police and fire and recommendations from DPD to improve personal safety of residents.
  1. Residential Property Code Amendments: Public policy leaders will explore the possibility of amending building code for multi-family properties to raise standards for lighting, security and access.
  2. Ongoing Community Collaboration: DDI will coordinate quarterly meetings (more often as needed) to serve as a forum for public safety collaboration. Additional invitees to add to the base of residents at the first meeting will include: DART; The Bridge; Oncor property owners, managers, and security directors; merchant businesses; and other concerned employers. The next meeting will be held on February 15 beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Alto 211, 8th Floor. The agenda will include an update on progress on this initial action list, as well as a refinement of the community action plan.
  1. DART and DPD Communication: Several concerns over the communication between DART and DPD were expressed, including statistical reporting and call response. DDI has convened a meeting with DART and DPD the first week in February to facilitate identifying and solving these issues.
  1. Neighborhood Crime Watch: DDI will host a series of workshops beginning in the next 30 days led by the DPD to offer Downtown-area neighborhood groups, building associations, and the overall community the opportunity to develop and establish a neighborhood crime watch program, building off of the success of the established Farmers Market Crime Watch.
  1. Lighting and Sidewalks: Though significant progress has been made to improve lighting and walkability, dark spots and broken sidewalks still exist in Downtown. Short term, DDI will work with residents to identify “quick win” projects that can be implemented quickly with available resources. DDI will also engage Oncor in the conversation. Longer term, the Downtown Dallas 360 plan is addressing many of these infrastructure issues to assist in setting priorities for future bond funds. DDI has engaged an engineering firm to assess all sidewalks in the CBD. This information will be used to prioritize sidewalk repairs as funding becomes available.
  1. Merchant Safety Seminars: Over the next 30 days, DPD has offered to visit with Downtown merchant businesses to provide safety tips for employees as well as security audits of their establishments. Contact us if you have interest in this program and we will connect you with DPD coordinators.
  2. No Panhandling Campaign: DDI will reinvigorate its panhandling awareness campaign that is aimed at educating the public as to better ways to give, as well as the no panhandling law. Businesses may request the DDI No Panhandling posters by emailing info@downtowndallas.com.
  1. Lasting Solutions to Address Panhandling, Vagrancy, and Homelessness: These are three distinct issues that require a comprehensive approach including regulation, enforcement, and social services. DDI encourages public policy leaders, related agencies, social service providers, and the community to refocus on solution-based planning that looks at the entire city as a whole.

Again, please mark your calendar for the next Downtown Public Safety Forum to participate in the further development of this community action plan. Several of these items are already progressing, and updates will be provided in the interim as well.

I hope to see you on Monday, February 15th, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Alto 211, 8th floor.

Thank you,

John F. Crawford, President & CEO and the entire Downtown Dallas, Inc. team



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


January 26, 2016

As Reported by Bisnow:

Millennials are unlike any previous generation when it comes to finding a job. They don’t finish school and move where the job search takes them; they pick where they want to live and then find a job, we learned Tuesday at Bisnow’s Dallas State of the Market event. That’s great news for Dallas; Millennials are flocking here and the jobs are following.

Millennials strive to live in an urban environment where the walkability factor is high, says Downtown Dallas Inc EVP Kourtny Garrett. Downtown is trying to attract young professionals by building up a holistic environment with parks and culture. The companies will follow, she says. At the top of the DDI agenda is mobility from bike lanes to improving public transportation as well as pedestrian areas. Upping the ante: 60 restaurants should open this year and there are 5,000 multifamily units under construction within a three-mile radius of the CBD.

PegasusAblon principal Mike Ablon says Dallas has the lowest average age for residents of any US city. An added bonus: in-migration is the No. 1 industry here. Given the talent and age bracket moving to Dallas, the companies will come to us, Mike says. The key to maintaining that trend isn’t tax incentives, but investing in infrastructure, he says. That can be anything from the Trinity Strand to the Katy Trail. Once the in-migration ends, the music will stop, Mike says.

Keeping the cool vibe and adding to the live/work/play mix, Granite Properties’ Factory Six03 at 603 Munger Ave in the West End is in the midst of adding another creative workspace. Granite plans to transform the seven-story, 237k SF building in the Dallas CBD into office and restaurant space. Greg says the creative office space has been an emerging trend for office users like tech, co-working and design firms. Really, he says, it could suit any company looking to attract the younger workforce, which prefers amenity-rich space with residential, retail and nightlife components.

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/dallas-ft-worth/news/mixed-use/millennials-follow-lifestyles-not-jobs-54796

Dallas’ Own Mardi Gras Krewe, “Krewe de Etoiles” Unveils Powerful Royalty and Award-Winning Venue

January 20, 2016

Media Release
Watch us Transform “The Bomb Factory” into a Mardi Gras Wonderland

With a January 30, 2016 date fast approaching, Dallas’ own authentic Mardi Gras Krewe, Krewe de Etoiles, announces the 2016 Royal Court for its Gala Mardi Gras Masquerade Bal. It has revealed former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and noted philanthropist, Brandi Redmond as the Gala Bal Queen, who will reign alongside Gala Bal King, popular City Councilman, Adam Medrano.

Though Redmond and Medrano will graciously reign over the spectacularly appointed and elegant evening affair, the flavor, atmosphere and insane excitement of the evening has been placed in the masterfully capable hands of Master of Ceremony, Steve Kemble aka “America’s Sassiest Lifestyle Guru,” and Mistress of Ceremony, Jennifer Stubbington, aka “The Unforgettable Redhead.”

This Gala affair will also feature the Krewe’s 2016 spotlighted charities; Operation Smile and Community Partners of Dallas. Operation Smile is an international organization of dedicated Medical volunteers who perform corrective surgeries for children with cleft palates and cleft lips. The Community Partners of Dallas, organizations’s mission is to ensure safety, restore dignity and inspire hope for the abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services.

The stage has been set for Krewe de Etoiles’ Gala Mardi Gras Masquerade Bal with the elegant transformation of one of Dallas’ most renown and award-winning venues, The Bomb Factory, into a Mardi Gras Wonderland. By all accounts, this affair, will be the most awesomely, magical, well-appointed, fun-filled, over-the-top, theatrically driven, Mardi Gras Gala ever experienced. It’s not a party, it’s a must witness for yourself experience. It is for certain, that the evening’s elegance is sure to play out in the Gala’s theme, “Dallas Mardi Gras, It’s A Zoo.”

Krewe Captain, Annia Jenkins said that “the Dallas Metroplex is a prime and perfect backdrop for this grande style and sized celebration along with the assimilation of the festive and colorful culture of authentic Mardi Gras.”

Saturday, January 30th, with doors opening at 7:30pm, The Bomb Factory (2713 Canton St. Dallas, TX.)

For Tickets go to www.krewedeetoiles.com
Krewe de Étoiles
Release Date: 8 January 2016
CONTACT: Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins (318.422.6677) Highjenk@aol.com
or Annia Jenkins (318.422.2534) Anniaj3@gmail.com

The Mission of Krewe de Etoiles is to effectively, with authenticity, share with the Dallas Metroplex, the profoundly unique culture, ambiance and the unmatched, vibrantly, colorful spirit of the Mardi Gras season via a bouquet of artful theatricals, punctuated with a Texas twist. It is also the intent of this Krewe, to bring awareness to those civic and social issues and causes deemed worthy including, education; scholarship; health; domestic violence and quality of life.

Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, and is synonymous with unimagined revelry before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The official Mardi Gras Season of Festivities begins annually on January 6, known as the Feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night or Three Kings’ Day. Mardi Gras has long been a time of extravagant fun for Europeans, with much of the Mardi Gras celebrations mimicking the over-the-top revelry template of ancient Romans.

It was Christmas 2011, as Annia Jenkins, originally from Louisiana, hosted her family at her first Christmas in her new home in Dallas. The conversation transitioned into the upcoming Mardi Gras season, and how awesome it would be to introduce the Dallas Metroplex to an authentic Mardi Gras celebration and festivities through the facilitation of its first authentic Krewe. Annia (pronounced Ah’nah) discussed how many of her friends in Dallas had never experienced Mardi Gras at any level, and how they would question her about Mardi Gras. They would ask what is was all about, and why it is celebrated. It was around that table that the idea of starting an official Krewe, and bringing the true spirit of Mardi Gras, full-fledged, to the Dallas Metroplex had its birth.

Annia eventually vetted the idea to other friends, many of whom were from Louisiana but now lived in Dallas Metroplex. In 2013 Annia, having decided an appropriate name for the Krewe, broached the idea to others whom had experienced Mardi Gras. She and family members would begin developing a written plan of execution that slowly but consistently progressed. A family member, Jeremy Cowthorn, a graphics designer, was summoned to join the krewe and create the logo and the ideas flowed into a Master Plan.

With the Texas Star being embossed on the hearts of many Texas enthusiasts, it reflects the ‘why’ for its prominent, bold, depiction in the Krewe de Etoiles official emblem. It goes without saying that the Fleur de Lis is certainly the single most recognizable symbol ever and is absolutely synonymous, and a necessary component, in the observance of the Mardi Gras season. The original crest was tweaked and re-tweaked, to conclude a crest that was most indicative of the spirit and excitement that is truly Mardi Gras.

Krewe de Étoiles

Q. What is History of Mardi Gras and what does it mean?
A. Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, and is synonymous with unimagined revelry before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The official Mardi Gras Season of Festivities begins annually on January 6, known as the Feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night or Three Kings’ Day. Mardi Gras has long been a time of extravagant fun for Europeans, with much of the Mardi Gras celebrations mimicking the over-the-top revelry template of ancient Romans. In the United States, Mardi Gras draws millions of fun-seekers to New Orleans alone every year, not to mention other popular cities with noted festivities. Mardi Gras has been celebrated in New Orleans on a grand scale, with masked bals and colorful parades, since French settlers arrived in the early 1700s. New Orleans was established i n 1718 by Bienville. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but not with the parades we know today.

In the early 1740s, Louisiana’s governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, which became the model for the New Orleans and now, many other cities’ Mardi Gras Gala Masquerade Bals of today. Across the world, many cities take pride in grande Mardi Gras celebrations and now in 2016, “Mardi Gras Dallas, It’s A Zoo.”

Q. What exactly is Mardi Gras?
A. By All Accounts, Mardi Gras, is the most awesome, magical, fun-filled, over-the-top, theatrically appointed, Gala you have ever experienced. It’s not a party, it’s a must witness for yourself experience.

Q. What are the Colors of the Mardi Gras Season?
A. Though Mardi Gras is celebrated with a bursting Kaleidoscope of vivid and vivaciously bold colors, the official Mardi Gras colors and their essence are purple, denoting justice; green, denoting faith; and gold, denoting power.

Q. What You Can Expect at the Krewe de Etoiles Gala Masquerade Bal?
A. Simply put, this over-the-top, off-the-chart gala is the grandest, most majestic and awe-inspiring evening of over-the-top production ever witnessed, and certainly ever attended. The atmosphere will pour profusely, fun, fun and more fun and festivities,
flanked by the loveliness of “All Things Beautiful.”

Q. What Does One Wear to a Gala Masquerade Bal?
A. The Gala Masquerade Bal is an elegant, grande, formal affair appropriate attire is, (evening gowns, any color or masquerade costumes [ladies] and tuxedos or masquerade costumes [men].

Q. Why do People Wear Masks (Masques), and should you?
A. Masks (Masques) are an integral part of the Mardi Gras culture. During early Mardi Gras celebrations, hundreds of years ago, masques were a way for their wearers to escape class constraints and social demands. A masque will add to your enjoyment, but it is not necessary. Masques also enhance the festive spirit of the evening, and the attire. Stick masques are easy, and can be carried, and placed on table when not needed. FYI: The official Masque Cam Krewe will be perusing, waiting to Instagram their choice of the evening’s best masque, so don’t be surprised if it’s yours. Finally, for God sake, it’s a Gala Masquerade Bal!!!

Q. What is The Tableau? (often spelled Tableaux)
A. The Tableau Masque portion of the formal evening is the time for presenting the Captain, and the King and Queen, and Royal Court in full regalia. It will feature dance troupes royal salutes and theatricals that will amaze the audience with great enjoyment. The splendor of the evening is truly realized during the Tableau Masque. All guests and attendees are called to their seats as the Tableau is about to be presented. The doors are to be closed and not reopened until end of Tableau, as this is the Krewe’s official royal and anticipated presentation. Raise your arms, get your hands ready to catch, and your lungs
ready to scream, “Hey, Throw me something Mister,” and that’s even if the thrower is a girl. (Some things you just don’t try and change.) This is the time when guests are so blown away by the beauty of the production, and a time when one finally says, ‘OMG, so this is what Mardi Gras is all about.” After Tableau finishes, it time for dancing, second-line, music and grande partying.

Q. Where and When is it Krewe de Etoiles Gala Masquerade Bal 2016?
A. A Press Conference will soon reveal a venue, date and theme, as well as, unveil the official themed poster.

Old 97’s to host inaugural “county fair” and concert in Downtown Dallas in April

January 19, 2016

Received a slightly confusing email this morning from the Homegrown Festival folks announcing an Old 97’s “county fair” taking place in April at Main Street Garden. For a second there, thought this was Homegrown — the seventh, by my math. Made sense: That annual wingding’s usually in May, after all. Moving it up a month seemed perfectly reasonable.

But, no. Homegrown’s still on the calendar: May 14, with a dozen “acts with ties to the state of Texas” still awaiting their formal bow in coming weeks. (Headliners aren’t usually announced till February, so patience, patience.)


This 97’s thing — complete with a Ferris wheel — is a completely separate event. Which means you get two outdoor downtown concerts in the span of a few weeks come springtime. A win-win. And this 97’s county fair will be the first but not the last: The release that went out this morning refers to it as the “inaugural.”


As you can see, the line-up’s top-notch and includes the Drive-by Truckers, Lucero, Deer Tick, Justin Townes Earle, Nikki Lane, Brent Best (on and off of Slobberbone) and Madison King. An all-day, all-night, drink-responsibly affair. With rides. Midway games. And a Ferris wheel.

Says the release, “Old 97’s County Fair is poised to become one of the marquee outdoor events in Dallas.” I can live with that.

Tickets are $35, with VIP admission a round $100. They’ll be available here. At some point.

As reported by the Dallas Morning News: http://www.guidelive.com/music/2016/01/19/old-97s-host-inaugural-county-fair-concert-downtown-dallas-april

DDI Installs LED Pedestrian Lights

January 18, 2016

Downtown Dallas, Inc. recently paid for two new LED pedestrian lights to be installed on Akard between Commerce and Main Streets.  As part of this project, the pedestrian lights on Akard between Main and Elm Streets were repaired as well.




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