I was recently asked by the president of the International Downtown Association, “Why is downtown Dallas in growth mode, when so many cities are either stagnant or still facing decline”? What a story we can tell.
It starts with the competitiveness of our region. In a recent publication from the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, Texas was compared line-by-line with California, Illinois, and New York. The research compares 14 factors, from corporate income tax rate to a cost of doing business index and state reserve fund. On nearly every count, Texas and Dallas prevail.
We are a right to work state with nearly twice the labor force of Illinois. Dallas’ cost of doing business is 10 points below the nearest competitor, Chicago. Our CNBC State Business Rank is No. 2, with again the closest competitor being Illinois at No. 22. Dallas’ cost of living index is far below the comparison cities at 91.8, compared with 163.8 in San Francisco and 136.2 in LA; 116.8 in Chicago; and 216.4 in New York. Our state reserve fund is $6 billion; California, Illinois and New York sit at $0.
We then narrow our focus to down Dallas. Landmark projects like the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Belo Garden, Klyde Warren Park, and Perot Museum of Nature and Science, are making national news, not to mention the international spotlight that our Arts District and its latest addition, the City Performance Hall, has generated for the city. So it’s no wonder that investment continues to pour into the area.
We’re completing, filling and starting new residential projects at a pre-recession rate. Companies that have been “tire kicking” for the last two years are securing their downtown relocations. And the intangible, though oh-so-critical, vibrancy of downtown is reaching a new high with activity on the streets, in our parks and at our restaurants and entertainment venues.
Telling this story is key. To that end, DDI is thrilled to announce the launch of a new radio show that will air on Sunday mornings from 9-10 a.m. on KRLD, beginning September 2. ”The Pulse of the City” will discuss all things downtown, from the business climate and new development projects to art, culture, and special events.
Host Matt Thomas and I will examine downtown’s role in the Dallas and North Texas economy, from the perspective of several news-making guests; and show sponsor Munck Wilson Mandala will provide a legal and philanthropic take on issues within the city. For the show’s debut, KRLD’s David Johnson will join the roundtable, providing his own valuable insights and perspectives.
We hope you will tune in, learn, and help to spread the word. Because as goes downtown, so goes Dallas!
John F. Crawford is president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.