Why Everyone Should Care About Downtown
It doesn’t matter if you work or own buildings Downtown, Crescent managing director John Zogg says everyone should be a passionate fan of the submarket because as Downtown goes, Dallas goes. It’s our heartbeat and where tourists come, and experts talked about its future at Bisnow’s Downtown Dallas event last week.
John, pictured here with moderator Partner Engineering and Science’s Katrine Hansen, says Dallas used to be behind the urbanization trend, but now people come to Dallas (like the delegation from Atlanta last week) to see how it’s done. Klyde Warren Park, the first highly programmed urban park in Dallas, is a big part of that. John says all the goals and dreams there have been exceeded (having events every day is key, he says), and now they’re looking into how to accommodate more people there.
CBRE/UCR EVP Jack Gosnell says Dallas is 10 years behind Los Angeles, which started redeveloping buildings Downtown and tripled its residents there in just a few years. Dallas has gone from 250 to 10,000 residents living Downtown in about 15 years. The missing pieces: sufficient sidewalks, stimulation on the streets that’ll get people out walking, and retail. Improving walkability will be a tough road, he admits. He says Downtown retail is on an evolutionary path that can’t be changed, a progression that culminates in soft goods. Those are starting to come Downtown. Jack says its great buildings are adding ground-level retail, but what Downtown really needs is large-format. Only three or four buildings could accommodate it (One Main, which hosted our event, is one of them).
Jack’s pictured here (second from left) with some of the team behind One Main’s redevelopment: Forrest Perkins’ Lawrence Adams, Amanda Jackson and Courtney Callahan.
Harwood International is doing its part to increase both walkability and retail—director of leasing Jihane Boury (snapped between Royal Blue Grocery’s Zac Porter and Cullen Potts) says the firm is putting retail in every building it develops (and is about to build 85k SF of retail in Harwood Forum), and is focusing on the connection with the street. It’s planting trees every 25 feet and talking to neighboring building owners to make sure the sidewalks and experience don’t end with its property line.
Harwood is working to elevate Dallas’ architecture, bringing in Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (who’s doing the 2020 Olympic Stadium) to design the Rolex Building and French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte to design Bleu Ciel Tower. With Crescent’s McKinney + Olive being designed by Cesar Pelli, Downtown Dallas is getting an infusion of projects by internationally acclaimed designers for the first time in 30 years.
Pictured is our first panel: Harwood International director of leasing Jihane Boury, CBRE/UCR EVP Jack Gosnell, Partner Engineering and Science’s Katrine Hansen, Downtown Dallas Inc president Kourtny Garrett and Crescent managing director John Zogg.
Downtown Dallas Inc is updating Downtown Dallas 360, a strategic plan of comprehensive development adopted in 2011. President Kourtny Garrett (here with City of Dallas’ Dorcy Clark) says five years later, it’s updating priorities and outlining the next phase. Mobility is the top priority. She says we can’t get rid of cars, but she does want to balance options and connect Dallas’ nodes of success. Walk score, a measure of how many restaurants, housing and other resources are in walking distance, is beginning to be used as marketing, with the score posted on buildings. She said developers need to start viewing buildings’ interaction with the street as a critical part of planning.