Downtown Dallas: Making Progress
Dallas is home to the largest urban arts district in the US and when you toss in the relatively new Klyde Warren Park, the City is starting to put the pieces together to create a walkable, pedestrian-friendly city, says Downtown Dallas Inc prez/CEO John Crawford. About 70% of the world’s population lives in cities today, John says. More people are drawn back to the urban core in search of the live, work, play environment as a way to escape the long commutes, traffic jams, and bad evening drive deejays.
John says Downtown needs a critical mass of people living there (about 10,000 to 12,000 residents in the urban core) to drive more services and activities. More people will equate to more destination-oriented places like The Farmer’s Market, which will be huge for downtown residents, but also be a destination to attract others.
Massive redevelopment efforts (many as public/private partnerships) are the rest of the story, he says in his best Paul Harvey voice. Part of the deal: mandatory services and retail on street level, he says. The Joule hotel (with residences, retail, and restaurant component) is the CBD’s shining star and the first major step in redeveloping Downtown. Other areas following suit: Thanksgiving Tower, Mid-Elm Lofts (25 lofts, retail, open to the street), 1600 Pacific (hotel and residential), John says.
The third leg of the stool is tourism and convention business, John says. More than just enhancing the lives of the people who live here, Dallas needs its urban core to appeal to visitors. Dallas is one of seven major convention cities in the US with 1M SF of meeting space, John says. It’s an enormous hidden asset, he says. The convention center is expanding its space, the Omni Convention Center Hotel is adding four new restaurants and almost 400 new below-grade parking spaces, too.