It’s no secret that Texas is a great place to live and do business, and that Dallas is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, continuing to emerge as a national destination for leisure and business travel. Corporations from across the nation are looking to the competitive advantages of our region, such as low taxation, regulation, and cost of living when considering relocations. In addition, our sheer geographic location (no more than four hours by air to anywhere in the country) is a draw, and our transportation systems—from a sophisticated network of highways to the largest light rail system in the nation—position Dallas, and more particularly downtown, in the center of it all.
Many of you have heard me say that Texas has become the “Third Coast.” In relation to the importance of our transportation systems, I believe it will become even more apparent in October of 2014, when the Wright Amendment is lifted. In preparation for this change, Southwest Airlines has invested $519 million in the Love Field Modernization Program (LFMP), bringing with it a $1.2 billion economic impact.
The LFMP is a joint effort between the City of Dallas and Southwest Airlines; thanks to the investment from Southwest, the project is using no taxpayer money. Every aspect of the airport, from the ticket counters and baggage claim, to concourses, gates, and concessions will be modernized, renovated, and transformed. Essentially, Love Field will be a brand new airport when construction is complete in 2014.
Many key milestones of the project have already been met, including the opening of a new section of the Terminal 2 lobby and security checkpoint, opening of the new ticketing/check-in and installation of the first three art program pieces. The next phase of the project will be complete in April of this year, and the entire project will be finished by the time the Wright Amendment expires in October of 2014.
Corgan Associates is the designer and lead architect; Hensel Phelps Construction Co. is the construction manager. The terminal will be constructed to achieve LEED Silver certification.
Only a 10-minute drive from downtown, Love Field is a vital asset because of that proximity and ease of access. Service for business travelers provided by Southwest Airlines, includes more than 120 nonstop flights a day, with additional direct or connecting service to approximately 60 markets. This will become even more apparent after the renovation is complete and the Wright Amendment is lifted. Travelers will then be able to fly nonstop between Dallas and U.S. destinations that currently require a stop or plane change, making Dallas even more attractive for business and leisure travelers.
Unquestionably, Southwest Airlines is demonstrating its confidence in the Dallas market by investing the funds for the entire modernization project from their balance sheet. Being an employer of 7,600 people and the fifth largest taxpayer in Dallas, and a proven corporate citizen showing support of the entire community, Southwest Airlines is a true asset to our city.
We at Downtown Dallas Inc. want to thank Southwest Airlines for all its has done for Dallas and look forward to its continued growth and success. The best is yet to come!
Note: We invite you to join Downtown Dallas Inc. on Tuesday, March 5, at our annual meeting and luncheon presented by Baylor Health Care System at the Sheraton Hotel. Panelists include Joel Allison from Baylor Health Care System, Ron Spears from AT&T, and Mary Suhm, City of Dallas; it will be moderated by Matt Thomas of KRLD News Radio.
Celebrate with us as our esteemed panelists commemorate all of the hard work, dedication, and bravado that have brought downtown Dallas to where it is today, and provide commentary on what the future has in store. For more information or to register or purchase tables or sponsorships, please click here.
John F. Crawford is president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. Contact him at email@example.com.