As politicians pull us left and right, the American businessperson is simply trying to stimulate and grow his or her business. The real estate, design, and construction industry continues to go through a perfect storm. Banks are not yet lending large amounts for real estate transactions, the government has decreased capital improvements and the housing market has yet to rally. However, there are points of light occurring with public-private-partnerships, private investments, and different funds that are building projects.
My car radio preset buttons are located so that Fox News is on the right side, CNN is on the left side and BBC is in the middle. I listen primarily for the real estate and business news. It is interesting to hear the range of news that is reported each morning. Everything you ever wanted to know about Caylee Anthony is on Fox and CNN, but I have not heard it once on BBC. I do hear on CNN—by both the red and blue parties—about how Wall Street greed and corruption has bankrupted America, but little about the laws that our elected government officials put in place to encourage this to happen. Unfortunately, we all get pulled into the battles of the far right and the far left.
The design and construction industry continues to falter, with hot spots in certain industries—but is it the right type of construction? People have lost their homes, so they move to apartments, and the apartment business booms. Eventually the mortgage rates are lowered, people are able to move into homes, and what happens? Are the apartments then empty? Or, in fact, does it all coincide with population growth and shifts?
This past year was one of recovery, due to the many federal, county, and municipal projects. As this type of work pulls back in this election year, our profession may again face a slowdown. It is best to be prepared to continue to focus on markets that are moving in a positive direction. We are slowly slogging through this economy much like a plow horse through mud, but let’s keep moving our profession forward; there are so many needs in our community and nation.
Downtown Dallas has such great potential, which is being quickly realized. A place to live, work, shop, learn, play, and be entertained is the goal. I am proud of our city and the way it is developing. We have a beautiful bridge that symbolically connects North Dallas to South Dallas. A central park that we can all go to and enjoy—built over a freeway. We are in Texas after all! Let’s all work together to put the right people in place to take the United States forward, and continue to be the most innovative and creative country in the world—yes, based on capitalism. That is not a bad word either. Dallas and Texas can lead the way!
H. Ralph Hawkins is chairman and CEO of HKS Architects, one of the top five architectural and engineering firms in the United States. Contact him at email@example.com.