Yesterday, Downtown Dallas Inc. hosted its annual forum and luncheon, featuring Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Mayor Rawlings gave a state of downtown address to a record-breaking crowd of more than 900 people. He offered a quick update on all things downtown and asked each attendee to invest in the city’s revitalization.
“Years ago we realized there was a tide moving out of downtown, and it was happening in other cities,” Rawlings said. “The tide is rolling back in guys—let‘s take advantage of it.”
Some of you heard my call to “invest yourself” back in January at our annual meeting. Some of you are already heeding our call to action. In fact, it’s a great day in downtown Dallas, cranes are flying high, new residents are moving in, occupancy is on the rise, and more landmark projects are taking shape, bringing more than a decade’s worth of vision to reality.
“Fortunately the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan was created with a purpose to create a 24/7 downtown,” Rawlings told the luncheon crowd. “I love the fact that it was strategic and that the City Council adopted the plan.”
Texas has become the “third coast,” and downtown Dallas has become the epicenter. We’ve moved from a one-dimensional commercial office center to a multidimensional, live, work and play urban environment. In the last 10 years, great change and progress has been made commercially, culturally, recreationally and residentially.
Now 125,000 people strong, downtown has the largest work force in North Texas. It’s growing and continues to be an important part of our future. One such company investing itself downtown is Neiman Marcus. It has been a downtown anchor for 105 years! Together we recently made a video, challenging the downtown business community to get off the sidelines, get in the game, and enjoy all downtown has to offer. I encourage you to share it with your friends, employees, and associates. And why not put the video on your website to highlight the changing face of downtown?
By investing yourself, all of us will ensure tomorrow’s future success and have a lot of fun along the way. Downtown has more than 250 bars and restaurants, we host more than 300 events a year to provide something for everyone. Culturally, the world is turning to Dallas.
“We have one the largest continuous arts districts in the world, and people and businesses from around the globe are looking at us,” boasted Rawlings.
We are preserving downtown’s rich history while we embrace the future. We recently partnered with Preservation Dallas, as it unveiled five signs around downtown’s Main Street Garden that highlight the architecturally significant historical buildings surrounding the park. The signs were dedicated in memory of Gail Thoma Patterson, past president of Preservation Dallas and historic preservation leader, and are the first in a planned series of signs in downtown Dallas.
Speaking of parks, downtown recently celebrated the opening of Belo Garden. It has already proven to be an oasis in downtown for employees, residents, and visitors. It’s the second park completed as part the downtown parks master plan. Main Street Garden was our first urban green space; later this year, Klyde Warren Park will make its debut, providing yet another urban park, downtown.
“I love it when I hear that that there isn’t enough equipment at the park” Rawlings said at the luncheon. “It means that kids are standing in line to play at Downtown’s Main Street Garden.”
So here’s the question: Have you been investing yourself in downtown? Whether by relocating your company’s headquarters, by choosing to make downtown your home, keeping your money in Dallas, by holding your company meeting or event downtown, or simply bringing the family to one of our stellar new parks.
As Mayor Rawlings said, “Downtown is the face of our city. It’s the core of our region. Now is the time to invest yourself.”
As goes downtown, so goes Dallas! The best is yet to come!
John F. Crawford is president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.