Another reason why the City Design Studio is the coolest

A few of us over here at DDI were treated to a little hint of the following project in a meeting with Brent Brown, David Whitley and the Dallas City Design Studio team earlier this week.  Now it’s official…all you City Hall Plaza haters, rejoice!

In a flash-mob-Oak-Cliff-Better-Blocks- William-Whyte-style initiative called “Living Plaza”, City Hall Plaza will be transformed with a temporary installation on April 27.  We’re all invited to take part from 11:30am – 2:00pm.  To all of you who are screaming for more streetlife, activated spaces and vibrancy Downtown, this is OUR chance to prove the urbanity of Dallas.  Surprises in store, I can assure you…

More info:  http://betterblock.org/2011/04/15/living-plaza-project-april-27th-at-dallas-city-hall-plaza/

~Kourtny

Downtown Dallas 360 officially adopted by Dallas City Council

"Open Space Activation" Pegasus Plaza Furniture (humor courtesy of Jim)

Here at the DDI World Headquarters, after 18 months of gestation, we are celebrating the birth of our golden child…

Just an hour ago the Dallas City Council adopted the Downtown Dallas 360 plan.  Councilmember Pauline Medrano expressed great support for the plan, and DDI’s efforts (if I do say so).  The motion for approval was made by Councilmember Angela Hunt, who praised the collaborative process of the plan’s creation, and challenged DDI to ensure this would not be (say it with me now), “another plan that’s put on a shelf”. 

Indeed.  For those who have perused the document (available at www.downtowndallas360.com), you will find an implementation matrix in the last chapter.  This outlines the task, as well as the who, what, when and how much of every action item.  So, what will you see first?  Yes, some of those “Quick Wins”…

  • In about three weeks you will see downtowndallas360.com transformed into a dynamic implementation tracking site.  Here you can follow each task’s progress, as well as review various subsequent reports and provide comment.
  • If you have not yet been introduced, DDI recently hired Dustin Bullard, ASLA , as our Cityscape and Urban Design Manager.  From parks and plazas, to trees, benches, trash cans and pavers –  if it’s in the public realm (or even breathes on the public realm) Dustin has his eye on it.
  • Working closely with COD Public Works, the materials palette (pavers, benches, trash cans, etc) for the Main Street District is being integrated into current streetscape improvement projects on Main, Commerce and Akard.
  • Check out more sample materials in a potted landscape test area in front of Third Rail Lofts – we have a contingent of volunteers in coordination with the EPA working on this project tomorrow.

    Planter pot and contemporary bench for Main Street District (straight off the truck)
  • Street vending ordinance revisions are in process – the goal of which is to encourage a greater number and diversify offerings.
  • The ordinance which governs supergraphics and video boards is also in the revision process, following the 360 recommendations for the Main Street Retail District.
  • Watch for some bright, colorful moveable furniture coming to Pegasus Plaza this month (pictured above).
  • Several DDI task forces will kick off next month, focused on specific larger-scale initiatives in the plan like addressing mobility, tunnels, workforce housing and parking.

And those are just a few…  If you spend some time with the Implementation Matrix – you’ll soon understand why, instead of heading to the Tavern to celebrate right now, we’re right back here at hdqts…

 ~Kourtny

Downtown Dallas Roots for the RANGERS!

Chase Tower Lit up for the RANGERS
After receiving feedback from several Downtown Stakeholders, Downtown Dallas, Inc. will be showing the Rangers game instead of “The Lost Boys” this Saturday night for Films al Fresco at Main Street Garden. The game starts are 5:30 p.m. so get there early. We will continue the programming of the Pooch Parade & Pumpkin Carving Contest as planned at 7 pm., so bring your best dressed pets and carved pumpkins for some cool prizes!

Meanwhile, Downtown Dallas is celebrating the TEXAS Rangers first trip to the World Series and all you have to do is look up! The infamous keyhole in the Chase Tower is going to be lit up in red, every night during the World Series.

Are you having a heard time finding a World Series Edition Texas Rangers T-shirt? Not to worry… National Team Sports has opened an officially licensed World Series Merchandise store in the Bank of America Plaza concourse, across from Starbucks in the old Mail Room Express location.

You can find all of those hot Texas Rangers T-shirts, hats, pennants, car flags, earrings and much more.  New merchandise will be arriving daily.

The store opened earlier this week and will be open throughout the World Series. It will remain open after the World Series, should the Rangers win.

Store Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

CLAW UP – C.C.

Welcome Newly Inducted DDI Board Member Greg Morris!

Greg Morris currently serves as Executive Director & Market Leader at Ernst & Young LLP. He has approximately 27 years of corporate valuation, M&A, corporate finance, financial advisory and valuation consulting experience. Morris has worked in numerous industries including technology, oil & gas, manufacturing, healthcare, and airlines.

He has been directly involved with valuations prepare for mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, due diligence, IPO’s, purchase price allocations, tax, restructuring, bankruptcies and commercial litigation.  Morris has spoken frequently on the subject of corporate valuation and mergers & acquisitions.  In addition, he has testified numerous times in courts of law on matters pertaining to commercial litigation, bankruptcy, estate & gift tax and other areas.

Did you know?

Morris’ favorite Downtown destination is Dakota’s Restaurant.

Morris is passionate about Downtown because it is a reflection of our city to the world.

Morris’ favorite Downtown memory relates to the Jingle Bell 10K Run.  Much of the route was through Downtown and he really enjoyed a different perspective of  Downtown as he ran through the streets.

Morris supports Downtown Dallas, Inc. because it has made, and will continue to make, a difference in the appearance and culture of Downtown Dallas.  It is important to my employer, Ernst & Young LLP, that we have a good understanding of the forces that are shaping Downtown Dallas, as we have a number of employees that residing in the area.

Congratulations DERT for “Best Practices” on Emergency Response

The Dallas Emergency Response Team (DERT) is being recognized at the International Downtown Association conference in Forth Worth next month, as the recipient of the Public-Private Partnership Award. The IDA has more than 650 member organizations worldwide including: North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It’s a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities, and regions of the world.

Created in partnership with the Dallas Police Department and Downtown Dallas, Inc., DERT was designed to improve communication between businesses and public safety departments before a disaster happens. DERT brings together City officials, building owners and managers, security professionals, and other emergency planners from the private and non-profit sectors to deal with the special challenges posed by disasters and emergencies. Whether it’s the threat of a tornado or a terrorist attack, the group works together to prepare for, respond to and recover from critical incidents.

The Department of Homeland Security has asked the group to devise a template of its program that can be used by other cities throughout the nation. In a recent report released by the Government Accountability Office, the DERT project was listed in an audit of best practices in disaster response planning. DERT also is being featured on the FEMA Web Site as a Public Private Partnership “Best Practice”.

Another reason why you should venture outside of the tunnels for lunch

Jaime, DDI’s new event coordinator extraordinaire, is hot on the horn right now chasing a tip from our good pal Robert Wilonsky –  apparently Cirque du Soleil is planning quite the stunt at Thanksgiving Tower tomorrow.  Word on the street is that sometime around the lunch hour Spidey-style antics will ensue…  Emerge, tunnel dwellers!

Check out the YouTube sneak peek at Unfair Park.