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January 14, 2010 

Please join our first ever Dallas Happy Hour & Schmooze. You won't want to miss this premiere gathering of Dallas's finest in real estate. Jan. 28, 6-8pm, Preston Center. Free drinks and hors d'oeuvres, if you Register Now!

You know you’re in for a long day when the best words to sum it up come from Will Rogers. Jackson Walker partner Susan Halsey channeled the satirist at the Tarrant County Commercial Real Estate Forecast yesterday at the FW Convention Center: “Last year, we said ‘things can’t go on like this.’ And they didn’t; they got worse.”
Texas Capital Bank prez Jeff Moten with moderator Susan Halsey of Jackson Lewis

Texas Capital Bank prez Jeff Moten with moderator Susan, who says there are many 2011 expectations when the 81st state legislature convenes, but they’ll focus on the budget. In fact, they’ll be budget-obsessed, looking for revenue. Why? The financial gurus predict Texas will face a financial shortfall with sales tax revenues down nearly $700M; natural gas taxes down $420M; and the revised franchise tax down $111M.

So, what’s the big deal with state shortfalls? Susan says it's the need for state financing for transportation infrastructure. If you’ve driven on I-35, you know the state needs to ease traffic congestion. The clogged roadways cause lost productivity and hurt the area when competing for new business, she adds. The answer? Vote.

We snapped part of the 14-block Convention Center after the event. The CC underwent a $75M renovation and expansion in 2003. Just across the street is the 33-story $225M Omni Fort Worth Hotel, which opened in January 2009. Speaking of: Dan Piotrowski was promoted to the hotel’s GM earlier this week.

Author Ben Johnson

Billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell is one of history’s greatest contrarian investors, according to a new unauthorized biography, Money Talks, Bullsh*t Walks. We met up with the Dallas-based author, Ben Johnson, who says Sam is full of colorful quotes that don’t beat around the bush. We snapped this of Ben with his book at a Plano bookstore. (Just like a cellmate in Raleigh, Sam shares a shelf with Bernie Madoff.) Released last week, it recounts Sam's life as an entrepreneur, illustrating how he built his $5 billion real estate empire and then became one of the most hated men in the media after the acquisition and subsequent bankruptcy of Tribune Co.

Cowboys Stadium

You know the adage, as goes South Africa, so goes Texas? No? Jerry World, aka Cowboys Stadium could host the World Cup. (We snapped this pic Nov. 1 after the Cowboys rocked the Seahawks.) The USA Bid Committee picked 18 cities, including Dallas, in the official bid to FIFA to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. FIFA will render its selection Dec. 2. Among the criteria: market size, geographical location, climate, existing hotel space, transportation, availability of adequate training sites, distances between facilities, diversity, and ability to provide a unique fan experience. After watching a football—not futbol—game there, Bisnow gives the Death Star two thumbs up.

Texas Stadium

Now’s an appropriate time to remind you the old Texas Stadium will be imploded on April 11 (something to the team has unwillingly done a few times over its 37 years there). The Weir Brothers were awarded a $5.8M contract to carry out the implosion plan outlined by Jacobs Engineering. The Texas Department of Transportation signed a $15.4M lease from Irving for the next 10 years to use the site as a staging area for area road and light rail construction projects. The implosion will be sponsored by Kraft (seriously), calling it: a Macaroni & Cheese Cheddar Explosion.

Send story ideas to Tonie Auer, tonie@bisnow.com
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