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Central Tourism District

Redefinding the CBD

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#1 renamerusk

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 11:47 AM

 I would like to coin a new term for Downtown - Central Tourism District (CTD) to replace Central Business District (CBD)

 

 CTD will become the major player in Downtown with new high rise residential structures and high rise hospitality structures.

 

The future of Downtown looks to me, at least, to becoming the destination for tourists, conventioneers, restaurants, entertainment and housing.



#2 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 01:21 PM

The term "Central Business District" is used to describe the commercial center of *all* large cities. It's a way to maintain consistency, as not all CBD's are called "Downtown."

 

In other words, we never really named our Downtown "Central Business District." We named our Central Business District "Downtown."


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#3 renamerusk

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 02:09 PM

Yes, historically that is correct.

 

However, the trend of traditional downtown businesses (banks,professional services, and reducing office workers) are moving out of downtown districts and choosing to build corporate campuses instead.  There is no longer a need to be concentrated in a tight geographic area such as a downtown.  What remains and what increasingly seem to be the trend is downtown becoming more a center for nightlife and tourism.  This brings me to a conclusion, yet unproven, that our Downtown will not return to a time when these traditional businesses will return in numbers to expect a building boom of commercial high rises.  I do not expect many more projects for Downtown like the Jetta Operating Tower, even though I would like to see more JOTs.

 

Instead, the recent surge in hospitality projects underway and proposed suggests to me that Downtown is already undergoing a change from a predominant business district to a entertainment and residential district. 

 

Am I alone in my observation?



#4 JBB

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 02:53 PM

I guess my question is "why?" To what end? Who is currently referring to the area as the "Central Business District" that is going to switch to the new label? People call it "Downtown" and they always will. Have you ever heard somebody say, "We're headed to the Central Business District for dinner at Texas de Brazil and a show at Bass Hall"? It just looks like a solution without a problem.

#5 Austin55

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 03:08 PM

Although I don't know how much, I'd guess a majority of downtown tourism is business related, either through corporate meetings & training, or through business meetings taking place at the convention center. I also think the capacity for tourism in downtown is much lower than the capacity for office/residential uses, limited primarily by the amount of room with which the convention center itself has to expand (the arena, essentially)

 

Fort Worth has a well defined "tourism triangle", consisting of the Stockyards, Cultural District, and Downtown.



#6 Now in Denton

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 03:17 PM

You may be on to something renamerusk. In the topic about Frost tower. That was why I never went gaga over the project. Not just Dallas, Austin. Heck even Oklahoma City built a 50 story tower in 2012 ! After Pier One. I thought DT Fort Worth would be way more far along in skyscrapers and business HQ moving in DTFW ? Seem like we get a lot name changes of our office skyscraper as oppose to building new ones ? 

 

I would point out Dallas and Austin still seem to "need a concentrated area downtown " Just look at those downtown cities building booms. City Hall looks like it is not worried about D.R. Horton moving out. But looking to build DT Fort Worth to be a cheaper western alternative for conventions that might normally go to Las Vegas. 



#7 renamerusk

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 03:52 PM

I guess my question is "why?" To what end? Who is currently referring to the area as the "Central Business District" that is going to switch to the new label? People call it "Downtown" and they always will. Have you ever heard somebody say, "We're headed to the Central Business District for dinner at Texas de Brazil and a show at Bass Hall"? It just looks like a solution without a problem.

 

Since this idea was never presented as a "problem", it was never intended to require a solution.

 

The observation that is being presented is predicated upon a couple of notions:

 

  #1. - the decentralization of traditional businesses to regions outside of downtown

  #2. - the increasing unlikelihood, though I wish for to be disproved, of a major commercial office structure being started in the CBD or for simplicity "downtown"

 

During the 70's 80's and until recent times, retail, housing and entertainment was largely becoming suburban.  What remain were businesses that were regulated, such as banks and professional services.  Deregulation of these industries made them suburban too.

 

Now, the CBD (Downtown) is undergoing a dramatic change being driven by the entertainment and future hospitality projects.  Since, in the case of Fort Worth, its CBD or Downtown is known more for its entertainment than for a vast pool of commercial office workers and companies; its seem a more descriptive way to speak of the CBD as a CTD.

 

BTW, CBD is a widely used terminology to accurately characterize the core of a city and is interchangeable with the notion of downtown.  Downtown has always been a faulty characterization of the core of the city, but it is what most people are more familiar with; and that is okay by me. 

 

When and if businesses' share of the total downtown sector is less than the number of residential, hotel, retail and general entertainment sector,  will you still call it the Central Business District or the Central Tourism District; or use the quaint term "downtown"?



#8 renamerusk

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

(1) Although I don't know how much, I'd guess a majority of downtown tourism is business related, either through corporate meetings & training, or through business meetings taking place at the convention center. I also think the capacity for tourism in downtown is much lower than the capacity for office/residential uses, limited primarily by the amount of room with which the convention center itself has to expand (the arena, essentially)

 

Fort Worth has a well defined "tourism triangle", consisting of the Stockyards, Cultural District, and Downtown.

 

 

(2) I would point out Dallas and Austin still seem to "need a concentrated area downtown " Just look at those downtown cities building booms. City Hall looks like it is not worried about D.R. Horton moving out. But looking to build DT Fort Worth to be a cheaper western alternative for conventions that might normally go to Las Vegas. 

 

(1)  I think we can see the change already underway.  At some point, the CBD will have more synenergy based on entertainment, hospitality, convention and residential than it will have of the once traditional base of business.

 

I would disagree with your conclusion that the CBD has a lower capacity for tourism than for the business that traditionally locate in the central core.  The number of tourists is only as limited as space, things to do, and the population of the central core. All which I think and know can be greatly expanded.  Recently, Bisnow reports that Fort Worth, given all the hospitality rooms currently underway or on the drawing board, is still significantly short of what is needed. Fort Worth can expect three to four times the amount of tourism when space is available.

 

 

(2) Dallas and Austin will continue to garner the greater share of traditional office projects. In all honesty, I think Fort Worth will be unable to match either of them. For Fort Worth to be a vital city, it must become a tourist and convention destination which I believe it can become if it puts in the effort. 

 

I have been very excited about the direction that Fort Worth is headed: emphasizing tourism.  It may be odd to believe, but Fort Worth now and can beat the pants off of Dallas and Austin in the area of tourism.



#9 Austin55

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 04:40 PM

Well I guess I take that all back with the XTO news.

#10 Dismuke

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 12:17 PM

Interesting thread.  Just some random observations.

 

The trends Rename identifies are just the latest in a number of evolutions that downtown Fort Worth and big city downtowns in general have gone through in the past twelve decades or so.

 

People alive today tend to associate the "business" in the "central business district" of a large city as office buildings because that is all that many of us have known it to be until fairly recently.

 

But the tall office towers in our part of the country did not begin to appear until around the 1910s.  Prior to that most of the business in downtown was related to retail and wholesale distribution.  And while there was a boom in office building construction in the 1920s, until World War II downtown continued to be the city's and the region's primary shopping district as well as the region's entertainment district.

 

Look at pre 1960s photos of street scenes in downtown Fort Worth or downtown Dallas and observe the sheer number of people on the sidewalk. I have seen a number of them on a random day of the week where the sidewalk is completely jam packed, especially near crosswalks.

 

Consider downtown's previous role as an entertainment district.  My guess is there are very few here who are old enough to have personally experienced the difference in scale with what we today think of with regard to an entertainment district.   For example, a quick look at CinemaTreasures.com shows that the old Worth Theater  had a seating capacity of 2,484.  The Majestic had 1,356 seats. The Palace had 1,468 seats.  Combined that is 5,308 seats in Fort Worth's major 1920s theaters. .  And keep in mind that, unlike today's Bass Hall, these theaters were for-profit commercial ventures. Until the advent of talking pictures in the late 1920s very quickly killed off the vaudeville circuits by the early 1930s, these theaters featured regular live programing as well as showing films. The Hollywood came online at the time vaudeville was dying and all the other theaters were primarily becoming movie houses and added 1,700 additional seats bringing up the seating capacity of major downtown theaters to 7,008 seats.  Those large and grand buildings were incredibly expensive to operate and there was no way they could have remained open and profitable had not a significant number of those seats been able to be filled.  And keep in mind that, as cinemas, they were only single-screened.

 

And that just gives an idea of how the major theaters brought people downtown.  It does not include the lesser theaters.  It does not include the ballrooms of hotels such as the Texas and Blackstone which would have been packed with people dining and dancing to big name regional and national bands that regularly came through Fort Worth.   People came from all over West Texas to experience it.

 

And as an idea of the scale of downtown's role as a shopping district - to take just one slice of the overall picture consider the size of the many old multi story department stores -  Meachams, The Fair, Monnigs, Cox's, Leonards and others that I am forgetting. Consider the cost of operating and staffing such large buildings and then ask yourself what sort of volume of shoppers they would have to have in order to have remained viable for so many decades.  And, of course, there were a gazillion other smaller retailers.

 

Then keep in mind that all of that occurred in a Fort Worth that had a population that in 1930 was only 19 percent of what it is today.  Fort Worth's 1930 population of 163,447 gave it the same population as today's McKinney.

 

The skyscraper office buildings were only part of that mix before World War II.  But by the 1970s such office buildings and government related functions were the only reason for locals to come to downtown. The primary reason that out-of-towners came was for conventions.  The retail landscape had completely changed and had no use for downtown.  Inexpensive home entertainment options made people less starved for entertainment outside of the home while rising wage expectations made large scale live entertainment increasingly cost prohibitive.   Only in recent years has downtown once again been thought of as an entertainment district.  But,even so, that primarily consists of restaurants, bars, the AMC Palace and the occasional performance at Bass Hall. Bass Hall seats 2056.  Back in the 1920s Fort Worth had the equivalent of two and a half Bass Halls that packed in the crowds with live entertainment and turned a handsome profit - in a city the size of today's McKinney.

 

And downtown Fort Worth was at least fortunate enough to have had the office buildings.  Look at the downtowns in cities too small for large office tenants to locate - for example Brownwood, Texas. They became ghost towns and never recovered.

 

As for ever taller office towers - a lot of what drove that in the past was more bragging rights than profitability.  In Dallas, for example, there was an ongoing back and forth during the 1940s through 1980s between Republic National Bank, First National Bank and Mercantile Bank over who had the tallest skyscraper.  Such prestige was considered a big deal for the big regional banks - a form of advertisement.  That ended with the oil bust and the rise of national banks.  How much of a big deal do you think it is to the top brass at Bank of America or Wells Fargo to be in the tallest skyscraper in Dallas?  How many of their customers in Dallas even know which building such banks are housed in downtown let alone actually visit the downtown branch?

 

Building skyscrapers for reasons of ego and bragging rights is increasingly foolish in today's world.  Look what happened to Radio Shack and Pier One when they built beautiful new headquarters that weren't anywhere near the city's tallest.  Why would a retail firm spend unnecessary money on anything  that isn't customer facing - especially given the changing retail landscape that should have been in the sights of the leaders of those companies at the time?

 

And, of course, companies themselves have less need for the amount of office space they once had.  How many people since the advent of desktop PCs have secretaries any more?  How many offices house large numbers of filing cabinets and employ file clerks whose job was to fetch and refile?  Think of how many companies encourage certain employees to work remotely to minimize the need for office space.  Think of how many rote administrative type tasks are now delegated to offshore companies in countries such as India.

 

For a number of reasons companies prefer campuses such as those being built in Frisco and Irving.  But what can be hard for people who live in this area to fully appreciate is the fact that such campuses being built is largely an anomaly.  In many parts of the country no large scale office complexes are being built at all. A lot of the companies building complexes in our area are firms who are either relocating or expanding away from regions of the country where the costs and red tape of conducing business are increasingly burdensome.  In today's hyper competitive world where most large companies have stakeholders around the globe it is increasingly difficult to continue to justify operating in a high cost environment for no other reason than roots and loyalty to any specific region.  Thus companies expand or relocate entirely to places such as the Metroplex - thus we have a higher volume of new office space being built in our region than we would have had all other things been equal.

 

So Rename is correct in that the future demand of downtown office space will likely be quite different than what it has been in decades past.  But since new office space continues to be built, clearly there continues to be some sort of demand for it that investors have reason to project into the future.

 

Whatever the future, I think the biggest asset downtown and the central city in general has is, to borrow a familiar expression, that it is a place where there is a "there" there.  That is something that is difficult to create out of whole cloth in cookie cutter suburbia.  The reason people are attracted to downtown and the center city today is primarily because of the experience - not so much practicality.   You can find comparable housing and office space elsewhere for less. And given that our transit systems here are not a practical means for most people's daily transportation needs, the need to search for and in some cases pay for parking makes it a time consuming hassle.  Yet people are still attracted to it

 

One theory that has crossed my mind is that there is a certain cultural memory that has managed to survive of the glory days of big cities and of certain wonderful elements of it that ended up being lost over the decades amidst constant change.

 

One thing I have observed from operating a 1920s and 1930s Internet radio station is that a lot of listeners come from the old Iron Curtain countries of Eastern Europe. Most of these listeners are young and interest in that era tends to be extremely high in proportion to the region's population.  But to me that makes perfect sense.  The 1920s and 1930s held many hardships for people in Eastern Europe.  But it was an era when those countries were newly independent from the old Russian and Austo-Hungarian empires which collapsed during and after World War I.  And whatever hardships people had in in the '20s and '30s quickly paled against what happened in the 50 years following 1939 -  invasion by the Nazis and Soviets both of which mass murdered millions of people followed by decades of the constant fear and drudgery of totalitarian rule by Soviet puppet regimes.   Many of the people in that region interested in the 1920s and 1930s decades are too young to remember or have even been born during the years of Communist rule.  Yet over the decades, their parents and their grandparents passed down and shared in hushed private conversations memories of a distant and romanticized "Golden Era" when people were free and things were comparatively prosperous and glamorous.

 

Life in the Unites States since World War II, for all of its issues and problems, has been as close to paradise on earth in terms of material well being that any human beings in history have ever known.  Americans did not suffer the horrors that Eastern Europeans had to endure.  Yet despite the wonderful standard of living and technology that our era offers, even in America there is still a cultural draw to previous eras.that people today have no personal memory of.  People pick it up both from listening to older relatives as well as glimpses they get through old photographs, movies, recordings and a comparison of old architectural styles verses newer ones. I think that is what gives the "there" there to the central city and why people of many different age ranges are drawn to it and fascinated by it. 

 

Anyhow, just a free flow of random thoughts on the subject.


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#11 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:27 PM

Renamerusk is right about companies choosing sprawling suburban campuses over urban offices... here in Texas.

 

However, in other states, companies like McDonald's are leaving suburbs for urban cores.

 

https://www.nytimes....-city.html?_r=0

 

It's frusturating that the national trend seems to be the exact opposite here.


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#12 renamerusk

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:51 PM


Whatever the future, I think the biggest asset downtown and the central city in general has is, to borrow a familiar expression, that it is a place where there is a "there" there.  That is something that is difficult to create out of whole cloth in cookie cutter suburbia.  The reason people are attracted to downtown and the center city today is primarily because of the experience - not so much practicality.   You can find comparable housing and office space elsewhere for less. And given that our transit systems here are not a practical means for most people's daily transportation needs, the need to search for and in some cases pay for parking makes it a time consuming hassle.  Yet people are still attracted to it.....

.

 

Agreed.

 

One, how important it is of being what it is - the Downtown; this should not be forgotten or overlooked.   There has been a remarkable rebirth spurred by enormously effective investments which will continue to propel it as a desirable place; and so that it will be able to take a hit such as the loss of XTO.

 

Two, how important it is for the City to view this as an opportunity to bolster Downtown.  This may actually be the time to shake off any hesitation to proceed immediately with the enlargement of the Convention Center.  I believe that by doing so, the City will put to rest the suggestion that it can not act when presented with a problem.  And if, this action were to result in hotels initiating construction ahead of schedule, then the compensation to Downtown would have negated this blimp in its growth.



#13 Doohickie

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:40 PM

Am I alone in my observation?

 

I would say you're premature in your observation.  It could work out as you envision, or the current XTO buildings could find new corporate tenants.  We'll see.


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#14 renamerusk

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:15 AM

 

Am I alone in my observation?

 

I would say you're premature in your observation.  It could work out as you envision, or the current XTO buildings could find new corporate tenants.  We'll see.

 

Fair enough; we are speaking about the future.  I would love to have GE or Allstate types relocate to Downtown.

 

But could they really find new major corporate tenants for these old buildings?  Even cities like Houston and Dallas with large surpluses of  Class A office in place are losing corporate tenancy to campus offices in places like the Woodlands and Frisco.  It is not a Fort Worth thing as much as it is a corporate culture thing today.

 

I will stand by the notion that tourism/service based industry will eventually be the predominant users of the central core, CTD.



#15 Dismuke

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 11:16 AM

 

Two, how important it is for the City to view this as an opportunity to bolster Downtown.  This may actually be the time to shake off any hesitation to proceed immediately with the enlargement of the Convention Center.  I believe that by doing so, the City will put to rest the suggestion that it can not act when presented with a problem.  And if, this action were to result in hotels initiating construction ahead of schedule, then the compensation to Downtown would have negated this blimp in its growth.

 

 

 

How much of a future do you think there is with regard to convention traffic?  There probably will always be some need for conventions so I don't think it is likely to disappear.  But is this an area that is ripe for significant disruption down the line? 

When the recession hit one of the first things that many companies did out of necessity was cut out any unnecessary business travel.  There is a tendency for much of the frugality that is forced upon people during depressions and severe recessions to continue on well after the overall economy has recovered.  Think of any person who you might have known who lived through the Great Depression.  And that is one of the headwinds retailers are facing right now in addition to online competition: the younger people who came of age during the recent recession are much more frugal than were their parents and tend not to be as interested in buying "things" as were earlier generations.  Companies tend to be the same way - they are hesitant to give up the efficiencies  that enabled them to weather the downturn.  I have always wondered to what percentage of the convention business actually contributes to the attendees' bottom line and how much of it is just an excuse to get out of town and have some fun on the company dime.

 

I don't know enough about the convention business to answer the questions that I asked.  But given the world today and the general direction things seem to be going,  I question how much growth one can reasonably expect in this area and whether the trend might actually be downward rather than upward.   And what are other cities doing?  If a whole bunch of them are also upgrading convention capacity and the overall business does not grow as anticipated, somebody somewhere is going to have a lot of empty and money losing convention facilities.  

 

Consider how some dying cities hope that legalized gambling might be the salvation that brings in tourists and dollars. But that only works on the premise that gambling will remain illegal elsewhere so that people have a reason to travel to their particular city to gamble.   To the degree that other localities jump on the same bandwagon it all falls apart.  How many people locally would continue to travel to the casinos on the Texas Oklahoma Border or to Shreveport if they were able to travel to Mineral Wells to gamble?  And how many people would travel to Mineral Wells if the same thing were legalized to revive an economically distressed neighborhood in the Metroplex?

 

And to what degree can some of the business benefits of attending a convention become available online?  Keep in mind that the benefits don't necessarily have to be equal to make more sense.  A salesperson will undoubtedly get a greater benefit from meeting and delivering a sales pitch to a prospective buyer in a face to face in person meeting.   But unless the commission on the sale is high enough, it would probably make better sense to just discuss the matter by phone or by online conferencing even though it would not be as effective as a face to face meeting would be.

 

Again - just questions.  I don't know enough about that area of endeavor to attempt an answer of my own.


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#16 renamerusk

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:30 PM

 

(1) How much of a future do you think there is with regard to convention traffic?  There probably will always be some need for conventions so I don't think it is likely to disappear.  But is this an area that is ripe for significant disruption down the line? .....(2) When the recession hit one of the first things that many companies did out of necessity was cut out any unnecessary business travel. .....(3) Consider how some dying cities hope that legalized gambling might be the salvation that brings in tourists and dollars.

 

(1) If we are to believe recent and current industry projections about Fort Worth, then I think the future is quite promising; and Fort Worth, as is usually the case, has been overlooked and underestimated as a tourist destination. Now, the hospitality industry is taking a long look at the City and its potential for becoming a destination on its own.  The best evidence of this discovery is the dramatic uptick in hotel development and projections of future hotels. And, of course, there is the Dickies Arena (DA) which is now under construction and has already secured some national dates of events.

 

(2) I have been careful to make a distinction between business travel and leisure travel.  Of course, business travel is very susceptible to technology and cost cutting measures that all businesses will do to reduce expenses.  In the future, teleconferencing and other technologies that we are yet to realize will create a continuing downsizing of personnel and will reduce travel to fit to the need where it is done only in an essential manner.

 

Leisure travel is where I believe the City is equally prepared to compete for that segment of the economy.  Assuming the economy remains strong, leisure travel will not be as hard hit as say the business travel which constantly undergoes a number of strategies to cut cost.

 

Fort Worth can have more say about leisure travel than about business travel.  The City can invest in the infrastructure that it already has and it can do things to make tourist related industries strive.  One thing it can do is to update its convention center capacity now.  It can improve transit.  It can build a convention center hotel.  There other things for sure; the list is long but doable.

 

(3)  State sponsored gambling is not the way to bring in additional tourism; gambling (lottery, casinos) concentrate expendable income into one entity: public sector.  A far more effective way to distribute expendable income within a jurisdiction is for it to be collected through taxes and money spent in the private sector.



#17 johnfwd

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 06:17 AM

We should also be cognizant that Fort Worth is not the only city whose downtown is facing some of the evolutionary changes expounded upon in this thread, if these changes are truly happening.  There should be a lot of empty downtown office buildings in Dallas or New York or Chicago.



#18 Austin55

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 06:57 AM

We should also be cognizant that Fort Worth is not the only city whose downtown is facing some of the evolutionary changes expounded upon in this thread, if these changes are truly happening.  There should be a lot of empty downtown office buildings in Dallas or New York or Chicago.

 

I would say this is only true for Dallas, but they have significant growth in Uptown to bolster that.

 

Dowtown Dallas is at 27% vacancy

Uptown Dallas is at 10% vacancy

Downtown Chicago is at 11.1% vacancy

Manhattan is at 9.3% vacancy

Downtown Fort Worth is at 9.9% vacancy (before XTO)

 

 

Renamerusk is right about companies choosing sprawling suburban campuses over urban offices... here in Texas.

 

However, in other states, companies like McDonald's are leaving suburbs for urban cores.

 

https://www.nytimes....-city.html?_r=0

 

It's frusturating that the national trend seems to be the exact opposite here.

 

 

This is a great point as well. Look at Los Angeles (Wilshire Grand Tower) Philidelphia (Comcast Center) San Francisco (Salesforce Tower), but certainly not true everywhere. Austin has built 25 buildings over 200 feet since 2005, and only two are office the rest being residential (18) hotel (3) or a mix (2)

Renamerusk is right about companies choosing sprawling suburban campuses over urban offices... here in Texas.

 

However, in other states, companies like McDonald's are leaving suburbs for urban cores.

 

https://www.nytimes....-city.html?_r=0

 

It's frusturating that the national trend seems to be the exact opposite here.


Edited by Austin55, 19 June 2017 - 07:05 AM.


#19 johnfwd

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:09 AM

I can't believe downtowns will be populated in the future soley by hotels and condominiums.  Yes, some people like to live in tall buildings.  In Japan, that is a necessity because of a scarcity of land to house their people.  Historically, in America, downtowns grew up for protection from lawlessness, to consolidate commerce in a central location, and to be in proximity to stage coaches and railroads.  Not places primarily to live as residents or visit as tourists.  The technological changes affecting commerce, security, and transportation over the past century and to the present have negated the historical reasons for a downtown.



#20 renamerusk

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:23 AM

 

.... Austin has built 25 buildings over 200 feet since 2005, and only two are office the rest being residential (18) hotel (3) or a mix (2)

 

 

I can't believe downtowns will be populated in the future soley by hotels and condominiums.....

 

For a start, you might take a look at Austin, Texas; and then rethink your assumption.

 

With this reported today in FWBP - We [Trinity River Vision/Panther Island] have a lot of multi-family interest, we have office tower interest and we have a ton of hotel interest,” he said. “The hotel demand is extremely high – it’s one of the main interests walking in the front door right now.”

 

Again, hotels and residential developers eager to get into the Central Core (CTB)



#21 Dismuke

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:36 PM

IThe technological changes affecting commerce, security, and transportation over the past century and to the present have negated the historical reasons for a downtown.

 

 

That may be true - but don't forget the power of existing critical mass, legacy momentum and old fashioned tradition.

 

Look at it this way - the technological changes over the past few decades have pretty much negated the historical reasons for Hollywood's role as the capitol of the film industry and New York City's role as the nation's financial capitol.   California and New York have both become extremely expensive and unfriendly places to operate any sort of business.  Nevertheless, if you wish to rise to the pinnacle of the film industry, Hollywood remains the place to be - and likewise with the financial industry in New York City.  It is true that both industries have shifted a lot of work to lower cost areas of the country.  But in the end, if you wish to rise to the top of the film profession or the financial world you need to be prepared to move to the respective city.

 

And people do not necessarily respond on cue to the things that technology makes possible. I remember back in the late 1990s when the Internet started taking off and it began to be possible to conceive of large numbers of workers eventually being able to work from home.  There were predictions at the time that this would be the salvation of small rural towns that had been losing population to the large cities for decades.  In a world where one could work from pretty much anyplace with a solid Internet connection, they argued, people would not have the need to move away to find decent paying jobs and those who in the past moved to the cities could come back home. But it never worked out that way.  In fact, the decline of small town America has accelerated despite the technological changes that have made small towns less isolated.  And the same thing is happening in Europe as well.  The towns and cities in the former East Germany are losing their young people to the large urban areas in the western part of the country to such a degree that former school buildings are being converted into homes for the elderly. .

 

There are some factors that are simply intangible.  If downtowns are totally obsolete, why do suburbs such as Southlake that never had a downtown build themselves faux-vintage ones?  If you have ever been to Southlake Town Square you will see that there is nothing practical about it.  If you make the mistake of driving through it instead of just parking at one of the parking lots on the perimeter you are likely to be stuck in a time sink trying to get through.  And if you do eventually find on-street parking or finally get to the parking lot, getting to the particular shop you need to go to is also a hassle, especially if you are pressed for time.   From a strictly practical standpoint, a conventional suburban shopping plaza with easy parking in close proximity to any shop makes much more sense and would certainly be more efficient.  Obviously there has to be some reason why Southlake Town Square, despite its historically obsolete format continues to be highly successful.


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#22 johnfwd

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 10:47 AM

I think the evolution of urban development in this country proceeded a bit differently west of the Mississippi River than east of it.  We need go farther back in time to the 1940s after WWII to see that residential and commercial growth spurted just outside the traditional downtowns of the major cities (from Kansas City to L.A.) and extended outward to the towns that surrounded those cities.  I think, if there is an urban growth theory, it is grounded in the evidence of urban sprawl that threatens the identify of the small satellite communities and affects the characteristic of their downtowns in contrast to the downtowns of the major cities.

 

Put another way locally, the sleepy town of Fort Worth of circa 1870s grew up independently to become a small city with a remarkable "high rise" downtown by the 1920s.  From then on, Fort Worth became a metropolitan area, expanding its urban sphere of influence outward toward the satellite communities.  In my view, this evolution has distorted whatever traditional growth patterns that the satellite communities might have experienced had FW not been in existence.  Of course I'm discounting the fact that not all these communities were small towns that became existent independent of Fort Worth (e.g., Weatherford).  Some of these communities became existent because of people not wishing to live in FW city limits but still wanting to be close enough to enjoy the major city's economic benefits.  Benbrook comes to mind in this regard.

 

I don't believe, therefore, that satellite communities such as Southlake will ever have a high-rise downtown in the same evolutionary way as did Fort Worth's--that is to say, with the concentrated centralized density consisting of high-rise towers as do the downtowns of Fort Worth, Dallas, and other major cities.  The satellite communities are enjoying modern mixed-use developments, and some may be of multi-story dimensions.  You are seeing that evolution going on in Irving, Plano, Frisco, and McKinney with respect to Dallas.  But some is going on in NRH and HEB with respect to Fort Worth.  I don't see a concentrated and centralized downtown of high-rise buildings ever for these communities.  Not even in Arlington's future, though that city, too, is experiencing more high-rise construction.



#23 renamerusk

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:48 PM

Rehashing the past is not the intent of this particular thread. It will  So what is intended?

 

Question: Is the central core, sometimes referred to as Downtown or Central Business District, to remain the same - a district that is primarily commercial/business or will and should the district evolve into a district equally shared or dominated by residential/entertainment/hospitality functions?

 

What the past has demonstrated is that commercial/business functions in this region have been largely concentrated in two districts: Downtown Dallas and 75/Tollway corridors leading northward.  This is quite likely to continue as these functions tend to cluster and strive off of this behavior. The consequences of this behavior has left Fort Worth struggling to gain a significant foothold in this arena.

 

Fort Worth can take a different path; quite frankly, it has very little alternative given current trends.  As a way of having a vibrant Downtown, Fort Worth is better served by developing its central core as a district more characterized by functions other than commercial/business - ie a district leaning heavily toward tourism and residential.

 

So, an answer to the question is being requested.



#24 AndyN

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 01:01 PM

I see entertainment and hospitality as falling under the general category of "business". Unless it becomes >50+% residential, CBD seems appropriate and a term understood by most people, No need to introduce a neologism and start confusing people.


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#25 johnfwd

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 01:50 PM

Not meaning to be argumentative but I still believe that the future model of a major city downtown as a geographically centralized concentration of commercial and financial markets, with some residential draw and tourism objectives, is based largely on its historical roots.  The term "Central Tourism District" should be used rather loosely, in my view.



#26 renamerusk

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 05:08 PM

(1)I see entertainment and hospitality as falling under the general category of "business". Unless it becomes >50+% residential, CBD seems appropriate and a term understood by most people, No need to introduce a neologism and start confusing people.

 

 

(2) Not meaning to be argumentative but I still believe that the future model of a major city downtown as a geographically centralized concentration of commercial and financial markets, with some residential draw and tourism objectives, is based largely on its historical roots.  The term "Central Tourism District" should be used rather loosely, in my view.

 

(1) I can agree with your categorizing "E/H" as business activity.  I do think that we are in agreement that there may become an appropriate time when a new neologism is needed.  However, I think that in the case of Fort Worth, "Downtown" may already be less descriptive of it now then it was just 30 years ago as a result of the direction that it has taken over that same period.  At some point in time,  having it being described as a traditional business district will be more confusing and less descriptive than having it being viewed as a place where people live and come for entertainment.

 

(2) It is hard to still believe in a centralized and concentrated commercial and financial district in all but one city: New York.  Only where there is such an overwhelming concentration of the headquarters of every major financial institution will there be a genuine financial district.  In NYC, Downtown is the Financial District where you find Wall Street. The time has long gone when the CBD of Fort Worth was the home of a financial institution. Today, finances, brokerage services, accounting and legal services can be access by a number of alternatives rather than going "downtown". 

 

So in answering you both -

At some point in time,  having it being described as a traditional business district will be more confusing and less descriptive than having it being viewed as a place where people live and come for entertainment; and using the term "CBD" will be a term that is a loosely way to describe this district as it inevitably evolves into becoming a contemporary place and not a place stuck in the past.



#27 Dismuke

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 12:37 PM

I think the evolution of urban development in this country proceeded a bit differently west of the Mississippi River than east of it.  We need go farther back in time to the 1940s after WWII to see that residential and commercial growth spurted just outside the traditional downtowns of the major cities (from Kansas City to L.A.) and extended outward to the towns that surrounded those cities.  I think, if there is an urban growth theory, it is grounded in the evidence of urban sprawl that threatens the identify of the small satellite communities and affects the characteristic of their downtowns in contrast to the downtowns of the major cities.

 

 

I think you are correct - through I would say that the threat you mention has long since happened and passed.  I can't think of any single suburb in our region where its pre-suburban downtown still maintains its role as a hub for trade and commerce. Many of them don't even promote themselves as "downtown" anymore. They are often described as the "Historic District" or as "Old Town" - descriptions that are, in fact, accurate.  Some of them, such as Grapevine's, do well - but that is because they have leveraged the history that makes them unique and special to transform them into successful tourist traps and/or restaurant and specialty shopping districts for nearby suburban residents.

 

Also, what you describe is not just limited to former small towns that have been swallowed up by urban expansion.  It is increasingly rare to find towns even far away from urban areas where the downtown still functions with its historical mix of services and businesses. 

The historic buildings in such towns are mostly obsolete in terms of any sort of retail beyond specialty stores and restaurants.  And the problem with specialty stores is that, by definition, they serve a niche market; i.e., a relatively small slice of the overall population.  Towns beyond the urban areas simply do not have the population for such niche buyers to exist in numbers large enough to make a living off of (which is why many of us who live in the city find ourselves frustrated with the extremely limited grocery, restaurant and entertainment options available in small towns and cities - our tastes have become spoiled by the options that are made possible by a large and diverse population concentration).  

To the degree such downtowns that have not been able to transform themselves into thriving tourist traps still have businesses, they are mostly antique shops and office type businesses such as real estate or lawyer's offices that don't have large parking requirements and are attracted by the low rents.  The problem with the low rents is they are often not sufficient to adequately maintain an older building.   A couple of years ago I stopped in Paris, Texas and went into an antique shop in that city's beautiful downtown, most of which was rebuilt in the aftermath of the huge 1916 fire that destroyed the downtown and even gutted a couple of high rises. The antique shop was on the ground floor of a two story building and there were buckets in strategic places to catch the roof leaks.  If this was the ground floor, I can only imagine what the second floor was like.  The owner of the shop rented the space so the shop was not in a position to repair the roof - and my guess is the rent that the shop pays is not enough for whoever owns the building to undertake massive repairs.  So either the owner is going to have to find a tenant in a position to pay higher rent (not easy in such a town) or eventually it will get to the point that the building is too far gone to be safely occupied.  The root cause is that the district struggles to bring in the money needed to keep it going - and the options to bring in money are limited in a place that is not a quick drive from a population center.

 


I don't believe, therefore, that satellite communities such as Southlake will ever have a high-rise downtown in the same evolutionary way as did Fort Worth's--that is to say, with the concentrated centralized density consisting of high-rise towers as do the downtowns of Fort Worth, Dallas, and other major cities.  The satellite communities are enjoying modern mixed-use developments, and some may be of multi-story dimensions.  You are seeing that evolution going on in Irving, Plano, Frisco, and McKinney with respect to Dallas.  But some is going on in NRH and HEB with respect to Fort Worth.  I don't see a concentrated and centralized downtown of high-rise buildings ever for these communities.  Not even in Arlington's future, though that city, too, is experiencing more high-rise construction.

 

I think you are correct.

 

The closest thing I can think of as an example of an attempt to make that happen in our area was the 1980s Los Colinas Urban Center in Irving.  It did result in a de-facto skyline that Irving would otherwise never have had.  The original idea was cool: it was to be a mix of office space, shopping residential and retail and everything would be connected by water taxis navigating the canals that run through the complex and an overhead rail line that was to connect the major buildings.  The 1980s oil bust stopped construction on the overhead rail line.   Back in the day the shopping district was neat - sort of a fake Venice.  But apart from a McDonald's, most of the shops were specialty stores.  Because the shops were located in the center of the complex and did not face any streets, the only people likely to know of their very existence was mostly limited to those who worked or lived in the complex.   Last time I was there the shops were all gone and have been converted to office space.  It is still a cool place to visit during the evening in nice weather and stroll along the canal that connects the shopping district to the Mandalay Hotel - a sort of relic of a grand premise that was probably doomed from the get-go.  The overall complex, of course, is still highly successful. But the notion of it becoming any sort of "urban center" never materialized.


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#28 Dismuke

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 02:22 PM

I see entertainment and hospitality as falling under the general category of "business". Unless it becomes >50+% residential, CBD seems appropriate and a term understood by most people, No need to introduce a neologism and start confusing people.

 

I agree with Rename that "Central Business District" is no longer an accurate term in the way that it once was.  In many respects, technology is giving us a world that is increasingly decentralized.   Just as one example, when I was a kid, there were three TV networks plus PBS plus a couple of independent stations that ran reruns. Today even cable TV with its hundreds of channels is becoming antiquated given the proliferation of on-demand content that is more convenient and easier to tailor to one's budget. 

 

As individual human beings alive today, the new ability for diverse niches to emerge and prosper is exciting and wonderful.  Never before in human history has it been so possible to aspire to and create a lifestyle in sync with one's unique tastes, passions and eccentricities - and to live that lifestyle in harmony with others.  Yes, there will always be segments of the population, sometimes of significant size, dominated by GroupThink and narrow-minded and provincial attitudes - that, too, is part of the diversity.  But I cannot think of any other time in human history where it has been as ok for a peaceful, non-violent person who is in some way eccentric or "different" to prosper and find and enjoy the company of others who do not view him as some sort of outcast or pariah.  But one of the results of this new world is that a lot of things we once all had in common are disappearing as is the notion of a "pop culture" that everybody is expected to be familiar with.  

 

A one sized fits all "central business district" in such a world is as much of an anachronism as the days when you could count on most of the people around the water cooler at work having watched the same Big Three Network TV program you did the night before.   And, in fact, such a district has not existed in decades.  Our region has all sorts of business districts - and each are very different in terms of the market it serves.

 

I also don't see any benefit in the term "Central Tourism District" and I can even see how it would be harmful in terms of causing people to pigeon-hole downtown into a self-limiting category.

 

If Fort Worth has a "central tourism district" then the closest thing we have to that is the Stockyards.  Perhaps the Stockyards district has something to offer that I am missing out on, but the only time I go there is to show it to someone who is from out of town. Like most tourist districts, it is largely Disneyfied and fake.  Nothing wrong with that - but that makes it hard to give non-tourist locals a reason to keep coming back.

 

While downtown Fort Worth does attract tourists, I would hardly call it a tourist trap.  I suspect most tourists in downtown are people who are either here on business or here to visit people in the area they know.  The tourists who are not here on business trips are probably on the streets of downtown for the same reason that locals are also on the same streets - to enjoy downtown's amenities.

 

I also don't see it being viable as primarily a residential district.  Downtown housing is not inexpensive and unless one is retired or has their own independent source of income, to live there one has to have a job.  To the degree that high paying jobs move out to the suburban campuses then downtown Fort Worth becomes an increasingly less attractive place to live because of the necessity of a commute.  Take it from someone who has had to commute to jobs in Dallas County for most of the years he has lived in Fort Worth - it sucks and it drains time out of one's life.  I love Fort Worth - but there are times I question my decision to buy a house here.  Were it not for the fact that if I were to move closer to work a change in employers even within Dallas County might necessitate a new lengthy commute, I might have moved away by now.   People who live in and own downtown housing might commute to Los Colinas or North Dallas every day if they lose their downtown job and need new employment.  But how many renters who work in Los Colinas or North Dallas are going to choose downtown Fort Worth given the amount of time out of their lives they would lose?

 

For downtown to continue to have a robust housing market, there needs to be viable employment opportunities within a reasonable distance.  For downtown to prosper and remain viable there needs to be a mix of jobs, housing and nearby amenities such as shopping and restaurants.  Without that mix it will once again go back to its former state of decline and decay.  Given the fact that we live in a world where the notion of a "central" business district is obsolete, that means that downtown must compete with numerous other business districts in our region. They way to do that is to identify a particular market and niche and serve it better than any of the other areas do. The type of person who wants to live and work in the central city tends to be different in terms of interests and tastes than the person who is more comfortable living in suburbia.  Just as soccer moms are probably not a sweet spot demographic to market downtown loft apartments to, maybe large corporations such as Toyota are not the most effective type of business to try to attract to downtown.  Again, we live in a world of proliferating niches.  The key to long term success is to find one's niche - and to be flexible enough to respond when one's current niche might end up splitting apart into even more niches.  Maybe the key is not just to identify what niche downtown ought to cater to but how many niches it can find to serve.

 

As for tourism - I think of that as something nice but extra, sort of like the icing on the cake.  Tourism enhances a local economy.  But it does not create much of a local economy.  Think of any town you have visited where the entire economy was exclusively based on tourism.  There may have been luxury shops, restaurants and hotels. But the only money in such places comes from either the out of town visitors or those who have made their money elsewhere and have moved in.  Those who actually have to earn a living off the local economy in such areas tend to be low income.  I am in no way knocking such jobs or industries - a lot of wonderful people depend on them for their livelihood and some regions of the country would be ghost towns without tourism.  But look at it this way:  if you are a hotel desk clerk in Hot Springs Arkansas your opportunities to advance economically are much more limited than if you were a hotel desk clerk in the Metroplex where the diversified economy would enable you to transfer the skills you have obtained at the hotel into a job in a higher paying industry with greater opportunities for advancement   I certainly do not see any benefit of coining a moniker that would potentially cause people to pigeon hole and thereby limit downtown as being little more than a tourist area.


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#29 renamerusk

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 03:20 PM

 

I see entertainment and hospitality as falling under the general category of "business". Unless it becomes >50+% residential, CBD seems appropriate and a term understood by most people, No need to introduce a neologism and start confusing people.

 

(1) I agree that "Central Business District" is no longer an accurate term in the way that it once was.....

 

(2) I also don't see any benefit in the term "Central Tourism District" and I can even see how it would be harmful in terms of causing people to pigeon-hole downtown into a self-limiting category....

 

(3) I also don't see it being viable as primarily a residential district....


(4) For downtown to continue to have a robust housing market, there needs to be viable employment opportunities within a reasonable distance.  For downtown to prosper and remain viable there needs to be a mix of jobs, housing and nearby amenities such as shopping and restaurants.  Without that mix it will once again go back to its former state of decline and decay. 

 

(5) Given the fact that we live in a world where the notion of a "central" business district is obsolete, that means that downtown must compete with numerous other business districts in our region......

 

(6) As for tourism - I think of that as something nice but extra, sort of like the icing on the cake.  Tourism enhances a local economy.  But it does not create much of a local economy.  Think of any town you have visited where the entire economy was exclusively based on tourism.  There may have been luxury shops, restaurants and hotels. But the only money in such places comes from either the out of town visitors or those who have made their money elsewhere and have moved in.  Those who actually have to earn a living off the local economy in such areas tend to be low income.

 

 (1) I agree. In today's world, using the term CBD will be more confusing in the future.  Holding on to the term seems based upon tradition and nostalgia.  We will soon, if not already become accustomed to the term TRV for the Trinity River development; we became accustomed to the term "West 7th".  Both were and still are confusing.

 

(2) Not so fast. CTD (Central Tourism District) does not harm the central core; I don't see how it could.  It simply would market the central core as a district where tourism and entertainment is concentrated.  Think "Theater District" in Manhattan.

 

(3) Here is where the opportunities to evolve the central core into a different and more sustainable place/neighborhood.

  DFWI published its 2014-2015 Downtown Residential Survey of 2,456 households.  The study found that these households spent each visit, $100.64 at clothing/retail businesses; $76.63 at restaurants; $48.49 at bars/pubs; and $35.99 at sundries.  The average monthly spending by these households was $1,229.14. or $4 million spending per month from 2,456 households.

 

 (4) If Downtown Households could be increased (doubled), Downtown would be even more sustainable.  The target should be 10k households.  It is the city that should be giving incentives to achieve this goal. If new hotels are added; an the goal is to double or even quadruple the rooms currently existing in Downtown, then one can easily see that an evolution is not only possible but desirable. Fort Worth can not afford a decline of its central core area to be repeated.

 

(5) That's just it in a nutshell.  North Texas is populated by a number of communities competing with one another for redevelopment of their central core or attracting businesses in the model of corporate campuses.  Corporations are mobile - here today; gone tomorrow.  If Downtown Fort Worth is a different model;and if it creates a sustainable neighbor in the core with residential and hospitality/entertainment representing a larger piece of the core than employment, Downtown Fort Worth will standout against cities that have to continue to give breaks to corporations in order for them keep them to stay.

 

(6) Tourism is really more than something nice.  The reality is is that Fort Worth has really not been a significant player in that business because of an inadequate supply of hotels and outdated convention facilities.  The tourism/hospitality industry is now poised to change things here.  The Dickie's Arena and the development of the Stockyards will bring in numbers of tourists that the City has never experienced before.  Wages will be dependent upon supply and demand.

 

If XTO has taught this City anything, it is that commercial business and their employment is never a sure thing.  There is a real opportunity to look at the CBD as a tourist/entertainment district (CTD) . If it is comforting to continue to call it a business district (CBD), there probably is no true harm.  Acknowledging its logical transformation makes me feel more exacting in how it is to become.



#30 tamtagon

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:52 AM

I've got to come back to this with an actual attention span. I'm good for a short paragraph, but that's about it right now, and there's some thoughtful stuff to read....

 

I totally agree with notion advanced by renamerusk that a tourism/hospitality economy hold great potential for downtown. 



#31 renamerusk

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 10:06 AM

....I totally agree with notion advanced by renamerusk that a tourism/hospitality economy hold great potential for downtown. 

 

 Well at least I hope that I have gotten underway a discussion about the pros and cons of a different model for Downtown.

 

BTW, in an unrelated, but telling story in the Texas Tribune, tourism is cited as the second largest industry in Texas.



#32 Dismuke

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 01:55 PM

 

(3) Here is where the opportunities to evolve the central core into a different and more sustainable place/neighborhood.

  DFWI published its 2014-2015 Downtown Residential Survey of 2,456 households.  The study found that these households spent each visit, $100.64 at clothing/retail businesses; $76.63 at restaurants; $48.49 at bars/pubs; and $35.99 at sundries.  The average monthly spending by these households was $1,229.14. or $4 million spending per month from 2,456 households.

 

 

But where does that spending power come from?  Where do the people downtown who have it get it from?   Before people can spend wealth, they must first somehow acquire it. 

My strong guess is most downtown residents pay their bills out of the cash flow the get from having a job.  Among the reasons people want to live in a downtown/urban setting is so that they can live close to work and not have the expense,time drain and hassle of sitting in traffic jams.  To the degree that jobs leave downtown so goes a major reason why people want to live their in the first place - which means that such people will choose to live elsewhere and take the purchasing power from their jobs elsewhere..

 

And every single one of the examples of spending you mention are to industries that are notoriously low-paying and in which a large percentage of employees are part time.  Not many, if any, retail, restaurant,or pub employees downtown earn enough money to afford to live downtown and and most probably don't earn enough to even patronize other downtown shops, restaurants or pubs very often.  

 

And retail stores?   We now live in a zone where Amazon Prime is able to offer same day shipping - even on Sundays. And there is now a beta test of Prime Wardrobe - you pick out some clothing items and Amazon will ship them to you to try on.  Don't like them?  You get free scheduled UPS pickup to send them back.  Want to keep them?  You get a discount depending on how many items you choose to keep. We are getting to the point where people like me who HATE the hassles associated with shopping will rarely have to go shopping.

 

My wider point is this: At the end of the day downtown's residential viability depends on decent paying jobs in reasonably close proximity.  And high paying jobs are pretty few and far between in the retail, restaurant and hotel industries unless one happens to work in the corporate offices

 

 

(4) If Downtown Households could be increased (doubled), Downtown would be even more sustainable.  The target should be 10k households.  It is the city that should be giving incentives to achieve this goal.

 

Gee - you know it would be even more sustainable if the number of households could be tripled instead of doubled!  Heck, while we are at it, why not just increase it ten-fold?  Let's make the target 100k instead of 10k!   With that kind of population, all sorts of cool things could be possible for downtown!

 

The only problem is: Where in heck are these additional number of households going to come from?  Where are the jobs that will enable them to pay their rent and other bills going to come from?

 

City incentives?  Where are they going to come from?  The City of Fort Worth doesn't have a money tree. The only way the city can fund incentives is by either cutting existing services or by confiscating the funds from existing downtown or other Fort Worth residents.  To the degree that existing residents begin to look upon this as a burden they will leave Fort Worth just as many people in our area came here in the first place to escape similar declines in services and the tax burdens which were imposed on them and their local economies in other regions of the country.

 

Doubling the population downtown is great.  But that extra population must first have a reason to live there.  And merely wanting to live there is not sufficient. I can think of any number of places where I would like to live.  But I don't live in such places either because I cannot afford to or because it is difficult to earn a living in such places.

 

When areas experience a decline or rise in population (for reasons other than war or political upheaval), it is usually the result of the availability of jobs.  The reason why cities and towns in many regions of the USA are smaller today than they were 100 years ago is because the jobs are no longer there. And those that are currently experiencing experiencing explosive population growth do so because people come from elsewhere to find better employment opportunities.

 

It is simply not possible to set a "target" to double the population of an area and achieve it without first addressing the fundamentals that make such an increase possible in the first place. In this case the fundamental is why will people want to and how can they afford to live downtown if there are not a sufficient number of jobs within a convenient radius to support their living there.  Without addressing such things the "target" becomes little more than an exercise in wishful thinking.   One can certainly do that if if one wants to - but why?   Wishing does not make it so.

 

At the end of the day, if your premise is correct that downtown is no longer viable as an employment center for decent paying office jobs and that such jobs are doomed to move to the suburbs then that has serious ramifications about the continued viability of downtown as a desirable place to live.

 

 

 

If XTO has taught this City anything, it is that commercial business and their employment is never a sure thing.  There is a real opportunity to look at the CBD as a tourist/entertainment district (CTD)

 

Please tell me of ANY sort of business or employment in today's world that is a "sure thing."  If you know please advise as there is no shortage of people who would love to know what it is. 

 

In truth, such a "sure thing" has never existed. But as technology continues to accelerates the speed of change, it is easy for people to look back at a period when the speed of change was slower and perceive it to have been more stable by comparison.

 

As the old saying goes "the only constant is change."  I would go further and say that the only thing riskier than change and risk itself is the quest for a "sure thing."

 

And an entertainment district is anything but a "sure thing."  Look at the turnover in tenants in the competing entertainment district down the street on West 7th.  Bars, restaurants and entertainment are discretionary expenditures and tend to be the first area in which people cut back during economic downturns.  A lot of very smart and savvy people in the restaurant and retail industry circa 2006 looked at current trends and aggressively opened new locations. The data they used suggested that the future demand was there - so they seized the opportunity to get in on the ground floor.  In hindsight, of course, it is now clear that they simply did not realize how much the assumption behind their trends and thus their risk exposure was based on the overall health of the housing market and the stock market. 

 

A hundred years ago the entertainment industry was dominated by vaudeville and silent pictures.  Song hits were tracked by sheet music sales.  Radio and a reduction in the price of phonograph records killed off sheet music sales.  The advent of talking pictures killed off the vaudeville circuits in less than five years and threw thousands of musicians out of work because there was no longer a need for musical accompaniment to silent pictures.  The big name stars of network radio were either thrown out of work by the advent of television or had to make the shift to television. The disc jockeys who subsequently dominated radio began to disappear with automation and satellite feeds - and now the future of both broadcast radio and television is in doubt with the advent of the Internet.  Records gave way to CDs - and who buys those anymore?

 

Conventions and tourism?   Both are mostly discretionary expenditures that get cut in a downturn.  And there is no guarantee that such expenditures will return to their previous levels when the economy recovers.  A hundred years ago Mineral Wells was a major tourist destination.  In 1929 the lavish 14 story Baker Hotel whose ruin still dominates the skyline opened right as the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.  When the Depression ended the tourist trade never came back - the only thing that kept the hotel and the city limping along was a military base that came along as the result of World War II.  When the base eventually closed so did the hotel and the city and hotel declined to the state that you see them in today. 

 

One of the things that is hurting retailers other than the rise of online sales is the fact that, after the economy began to recover, it became clear that Millennials turned out to be quite frugal and have nowhere near the degree of  interest in buying "things" that their parents did.  That has huge long term implications for industries that depend on discretionary consumer spending. Economic downturns lead people to make new habits.  People who used to have a habit of eating out several times per week develop new habits of cooking at home or picking up prepared meals at the grocery store. When the economy recovers the new habits are set and they never again eat out with the same degree of frequently

 

And with regard to the tourism industry - that, of course, is closely tied to the health of the airline industry.  Remember how airline travel and thus the tourism took a nasty hit in the aftermath of 9/11?    What if such attacks return with regularity?  Will people be less inclined to make business and leisure trips by plane?  Will the security needed to prevent such attacks get to the point where travel related lines and hassles are even worse than they are now?  If so, will people be therefore less inclined to travel?  A few years ago energy prices were sky high and people were squawking about "peak oil."  Then energy prices collapsed as new technologies and massive new discoveries of supply emerged. How many people at the time predicted this would happen?   What if, for some reason, the situation completely flips back again?  What impact would high fuel prices have on travel and tourism?  When such factors eventually fade away, will people return to their former travel habits? 

 

So you are correct.  Commercial business and its employment is never a sure thing.  And neither is anything else.

 

My point is that commercial business and it employment is currently one of the pillars that hold up the viability of many downtown buildings both in terms of the space that they occupy and the jobs they provide to the people who live in downtown housing.   If commercial business goes away so does their demand for space and so do the jobs that make it possible for people to live downtown.  There is a limit to how much hotel space downtown can support.  And if we get to the point where downtown buildings become empty and downtown housing becomes increasingly low rent, then that is going to be a downward cycle that will make the area increasingly less enticing to tourists - just as there wasn't a lot of tourist activity in downtown in the 1970s when the area was depressed and many buildings were empty.   One can't just say "well, if this pillar of economic activity that holds the area up goes away we will just do something else and it will work out because it is desirable and a lot of people wish for it to happen."

 

And, for the record, I have no particular reason to believe that commercial activity and jobs are going to be leaving downtown Fort Worth anytime soon - and there are some very smart people whose last name is Bass who will certainly do everything they can to prevent that.  I am merely accepting your basic premise for the sake of argument and challenging you on what the implications would be.


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#33 renamerusk

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 08:03 PM

 

(1) . But where does that spending power come from?  Where do the people downtown who have it get it from?   Before people can spend wealth, they must first somehow acquire it. 

My wider point is this: At the end of the day downtown's residential viability depends on decent paying jobs in reasonably close proximity.  And high paying jobs are pretty few and far between in the retail, restaurant and hotel industries unless one happens to work in the corporate offices

 

(2) Gee - you know it would be even more sustainable if the number of households could be tripled instead of doubled!  Heck, while we are at it, why not just increase it ten-fold?  Let's make the target 100k instead of 10k!   With that kind of population, all sorts of cool things could be possible for downtown!....Doubling the population downtown is great.  But that extra population must first have a reason to live there.  And merely wanting to live there is not sufficient. I can think of any number of places where I would like to live.  But I don't live in such places either because I cannot afford to or because it is difficult to earn a living in such places....At the end of the day, if your premise is correct that downtown is no longer viable as an employment center for decent paying office jobs and that such jobs are doomed to move to the suburbs then that has serious ramifications about the continued viability of downtown as a desirable place to live.

 

(3)  Please tell me of ANY sort of business or employment in today's world that is a "sure thing."  If you know please advise as there is no shortage of people who would love to know what it is....And an entertainment district is anything but a "sure thing." 

 

(4) Conventions and tourism?   Both are mostly discretionary expenditures that get cut in a downturn.  And there is no guarantee that such expenditures will return to their previous levels when the economy recovers....And with regard to the tourism industry - that, of course, is closely tied to the health of the airline industry.  Remember how airline travel and thus the tourism took a nasty hit in the aftermath of 9/11?    What if such attacks return with regularity?

 

I am merely accepting your basic premise for the sake of argument and challenging you on what the implications would be.

 

(1) If you can cite another neighborhood in the Fort Worth is the source 100/75/50/25% employment to 100/75/50/25% of its residents, it would be important to this debate to know.  What I am reading is that parameters are being placed upon Downtown that are not placed upon other neighborhoods in the City.  Your argument that people live where they work is quickly disproved by the countless commuter patterns crisscrossing the region; commuters where people drive 30-90 minutes per day traveling between home and work.

 

Providing labor and wages will remain virtually the same as it does currently.  Employers will commuter to Downtown to work at hotels and restaurants just as they do today.  What evidence is there that the support service jobs you reference are being filled by the residents of Downtown in which case the current businesses offering these support service jobs could not exist.  Is it to be expected that the yard man who provides "support service" in any particular neighborhood actually lives in high/middle income neighborhoods where he or she earns their wages. 

 

(2) Why shouldn't the goal be and why shouldn't it be attainable to double or triple the present number of 2,450 households?  Is there a ceiling as to how many household can be created in Downtown? If demand is created, then a supplier will meet that demand.  My premise by the way is that the status quo is failing or is stagnant; and that thinking outside of the box and redeveloping Downtown into a real neighborhood where people go and where people are after work is a way to stabilize Downtown into the future. This isn't a novel idea; after all, isn't it the model being put forward by Panther Island?

 

(3) I never argued that employment is a sure thing. I argued focusing primarily on luring corporations back to Downtown is in the long run a policy of diminishing returns.  If Fort Worth could not convince either one of its legacy corporations,BNSF or AA to headquarter in Downtown, it is evident that Downtown will continue to stagnate as a corporate center because as we are witnessing; corporations of today want to build campus settings for their operations.  If Downtown  does not reshape itself to adapt to the new reality, it will continue to experience loss of commercial activity due to a highly competitive environment, and a changing corporate culture.  So, I will affirmatively advise that developing a combination of residential/entertainment/hospitality (REH) is as surer thing then implementing the old traditional approach of offering tax payer funded incentives to lure "temporary" corporate tenants; and yes,  I am advising against that approach.

 

(4) It is correct to suggest that downturns do have a chilling effect upon spending.  No one expects another 9/11; our guard is imminently superior to what it was 9/10.  Even during the downturns, consumer spending seems more resilient than corporate and business spending; perhaps because consumerism is a universe of choices patronizes a universe of suppliers.  And too, unlike the other cultures (Japan/China) where government actively encourages consumer spending over savings, the American Culture is an high octane consumption driven culture with a growing population.  There are millions of Americans who would be and aspire to be tourists.  Since Fort Worth has largely been a relatively quiet aspirant of tourism, one would expect that the steps it is now taking will advance its positioning in the tourism  business. 

 

If the argument against a REH strategy is that (#1) the status quo in Downtown is just fine or that (#2) there is too much uncertainty in changing course, then it is really up to someone who holds these positions to give their own vision of what Downtown's future will look like.



#34 Dismuke

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 05:31 AM

 

(1) If you can cite another neighborhood in the Fort Worth is the source 100/75/50/25% employment to 100/75/50/25% of its residents, it would be important to this debate to know.  What I am reading is that parameters are being placed upon Downtown that are not placed upon other neighborhoods in the City.  Your argument that people live where they work is quickly disproved by the countless commuter patterns crisscrossing the region; commuters where people drive 30-90 minutes per day traveling between home and work.


 

 

Yes, of course, lots of people in our region have such commutes.  But unless they are low income and thus are limited in housing options, I would speculate that most of them are people who own their homes rather than rent them.  Selling one's house to move to the other side of town to be nearer a job is more difficult than simply signing a new apartment lease elsewhere when the current one expires.   Plus one has other factors such as desirability of schools and the fact that kids may have developed beneficial roots n their current schools.

 

Most downtown residents rent and not own. And most do not have kids. And a motivation for many living downtown is the benefit of avoiding a commute. If downtown's proximity to large numbers of nearby jobs changes, then so will the mix of people who live downtown.  Sure, SOMEBODY will rent downtown apartments just as SOMEBODY will rent the rooms of a motel on a highway that gets bypassed when a new highway opens and traffic patterns change.  But the owners may not be able to change the same rent as before and those somebodies might not be one's first choice in tenants. And they most likely owners will not be looking to expand the number of units any time soon.

 

 

 

Is there a ceiling as to how many household can be created in Downtown?

 

 Yes, at any given time, there is absolutely a ceiling as to how many households can be created downtown - just as there is, at any given time, a ceiling on how much in wages you or I could realistically expect to earn from an employer. 

 

Unless you just happen to be serious underemployed, one's answer to some sort of immediate challenge in one's life cannot be "I will just double or triple my income."    To realize such a dramatic change on one's wages one usually has to do something significant such as acquire more experience, learn new skills, change jobs, etc.  And there are factors beyond your control.  If the overall economy is bad that is going to be something that will likely make it more difficult.  If you are, to just pick a random profession, let's say, a restaurant manager there is an upper limit to how much you can earn without changing professions entirely.   Such a manger, for example, cannot hope to earn on the job more than the restaurant takes in.

 

Yes, one can certainly aspire to double or triple one's income.  But one must almost always put in a lot of time and hard work to do so and hope for the best.  And there is a limit to how much one can realistically aspire to even with hard work, dedication and ambition  - limits such as one's intelligence, talent and age.  For me personally to aspire to earning as much money as Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates - that is just not real-world.  For me to talk about what I will do when I make as much as Bill Gates would be to indulge in a flight of fantasy.

 

Saying "let's just double the number of residents downtown" is no different than most people saying "I'll just double my income."  It is easy to say but much more difficult to do.

 

 

 

 

If demand is created, then a supplier will meet that demand.

 

 

"Demand" alone is not sufficient.  Lots of people would love to have a fancy new sports car - so there is a "demand" for it.  Problem is that most people are not in a position to afford one.   So nobody is going to be cranking out extra sports cars to meet such "demand." 

 

Again, easy to say much harder to accomplish.

 

If it were that easy then all sorts of towns in other regions of the country would not be in the dilemma they are in dealing with declining population.  All someone would have to do is say "let's just create demand for people to live here and people will move in."  Sure, if such demand were to be created, so would the new residents.  And that is, again, the same as my saying "If I just doubled my income I could afford......"

 

 

No one expects another 9/11; our guard is imminently superior to what it was 9/10

 

 

YIkes! Please don't say stuff like that - that is approaching "famous last words" category.

 

And I don't think the people who are tasked with keeping guard on such matters are as blase about it.  Chances are the odds of an exact replay of 9/11 are slim as people now know what to look for.   But what happens if terrorists get hold of anti-aircraft missiles?   All the airport screening, air marshals and passenger awareness in the world won't help then.


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#35 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 02:35 PM

More tourism would be nice, but what we really need is more office space and employment in this city. It does not seem like we're building enough office space (downtown or suburbia) to keep up with population growth.

 

If we want Fort Worth to remain a largely self-sufficient city, we can't rely on Dallas and its suburbs for employment.


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#36 renamerusk

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 02:17 PM

There seems clearly to be a double standard being applied to Downtown where the standard is that it must incorporate jobs to be sustainable neighborhood while other neighborhoods get a pass.

 

Now when you look at the proposed neighborhoods of Walsh Ranch or Chisolm Trail Ranch, jobs are not an essential or even a  component to either of them being declared as sustainable.

 

I believe the CBD should be given the same standard or at least not be held to a much narrower standard when seen as being a qualifying as a sustainable neighborhood.

 

https://walshtx.com/facts

 

/http://ctr-ftw.com/



#37 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 04:46 PM

Downtown Fort Worth is more of a Central Business District than a neighborhood. It's the main hub of employment for this side of the metroplex.

 

IMO, downtown should have more employment than any given suburban neighborhood. It's a freeway and public transit hub located in the center of our massive city (and county).

 

That said, if a company insists on building a sprawling suburban campus, I'd rather them do so in suburban Fort Worth than in Plano or Irving.


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#38 Dismuke

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 09:17 PM

There seems clearly to be a double standard being applied to Downtown where the standard is that it must incorporate jobs to be sustainable neighborhood while other neighborhoods get a pass.

 

Now when you look at the proposed neighborhoods of Walsh Ranch or Chisolm Trail Ranch, jobs are not an essential or even a  component to either of them being declared as sustainable.

 

I believe the CBD should be given the same standard or at least not be held to a much narrower standard when seen as being a qualifying as a sustainable neighborhood.

 

https://walshtx.com/facts

 

/http://ctr-ftw.com/

 

 

There's no double standard at all.  Those neighborhoods are subject to the exact same laws of economic cause and effect that downtown is subject to and every single one of is subject to

 

Unless their purpose is to attract retirees, the success of the proposed neighborhoods you mention will be dependent upon the existence of jobs within a reasonable distance that will enable prospective residents to feel confident enough to buy and pay for houses there.   If a significant amount of the jobs in the central portion of Fort Worth move away to Collin or Dallas County suburbs or even to Fort Worth's Alliance district, that would have an adverse impact on those developments just as it would downtown.

 

People's primary consideration in where they live is based on their ability to find a way to make a living and pay their bills. If you can't pay your bills, then finding an income stream becomes your primary objective - other desires and goals become secondary.   I suspect a great many people in the Metroplex would prefer to live elsewhere - but they don't because it would be difficult to impossible for them to make a decent living in such places.  

 

That is why many more houses and apartments are being built in Dallas and Collin County than in Fort Worth.  It is not because such locations are necessarily nicer places to live - it is just that there are a whole lot more jobs available there than there is here.

 

The only real difference between downtown and those proposed neighborhoods is the type of housing.   Downtown consists mostly of renters who do not have children.  As such, that tends to be a much more transient population - so if their job moves to a location where they are suddenly faced with a brutal commute it is comparatively easy for them to move with it.   The other difference is that living in very close or even walking distance proximity to one's job is one of the reasons why people are attracted to downtown.   If the jobs go away so goes the appeal downtown had for them to be there in the first place.

 

Sure, downtown has bars and restaurants.  But so do the suburbs.  And, even if one prefers the downtown bars, restaurants and amenities such as Bass Hall, having to waste one's life in a nasty commute five days per week isn't worth the convenience of being in close proximity to an entertainment district on the one evening per week when one's after hours time is not drained away sitting in traffic.  If one were a renter, it would make much more sense to live close to work and simply drive to downtown for its entertainment offerings - which are typically in highest demand after the rush hour traffic dies down.

 

At the end of the day, you cannot separate the vitality of a residential neighborhood from the need for nearby jobs for its residents.  To the degree the jobs go away so does the vitality of a neighborhood.   To the degree that the jobs that are available require lengthy commutes the less the people who live there have to spend on housing due to the higher costs associated with the commute.  That places a downward pressure on housing prices/rents. And because most people would prefer not to waste precious time sitting in traffic they tend to place a premium on housing that is close to where they work - and conversely are not as willing to spend top dollar on housing of equal desirability if it is far away.

 

The same is true even in highly urbanized areas.  Rents in Brooklyn or Queens that are in very close waking distance to stations on the subway lines into Manhattan go for much more than a similar amount of square feet in a neighborhood that requires a lengthy walk or having to catch a bus to get to the same station.  It is all about access to the employment centers where there are a concentration of higher paying jobs.


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#39 renamerusk

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:03 PM

Downtown Fort Worth is more of a Central Business District than a neighborhood. It's the main hub of employment for this side of the metroplex.....IMO, downtown should have more employment than any given suburban neighborhood. It's a freeway and public transit hub located in the center of our massive city (and county).....

 

I agree with you that Downtown should have more employment than any given neighborhood.  But as is the case with any given neighborhood, when it begins to lose its traditional occupants, it usually signals the beginning of its decline.  We are in a period of corporate downsizing and technological job displacement.  This of course is not the case with the Hospitality/Entertainment/Residential sector; a sector that Fort Worth is poise to seize with new infrastructure and an outstanding, widely acclaimed Downtown.

 

One way for any neighborhood to continue to be vital is to evolve into something different or to include different and new types of activity.  Some neighborhood go through Gentrification; Downtown can add more types of activity. Injecting new and different activity will make it less susceptible to the danger of having most of its activity in one basket. 

 

Hospitality/Entertainment/Residential is the next growth area in Fort Worth's future.



#40 renamerusk

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:14 PM

 

There seems clearly to be a double standard being applied to Downtown where the standard is that it must incorporate jobs to be sustainable neighborhood while other neighborhoods get a pass.

 

Now when you look at the proposed neighborhoods of Walsh Ranch or Chisolm Trail Ranch, jobs are not an essential or even a  component to either of them being declared as sustainable.

 

I believe the CBD should be given the same standard or at least not be held to a much narrower standard when seen as being a qualifying as a sustainable neighborhood.

 

https://walshtx.com/facts

 

/http://ctr-ftw.com/

 

 

There's no double standard at all.  Those neighborhoods are subject to the exact same laws of economic cause and effect that downtown is subject to and every single one of is subject to

 

 Sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with your denial.

 

 Unless I missed it, there has never been any objection to the either Walsh Ranch or Chisolm Trail Ranch because of the absence of "jobs" within their prospective development.  The objections have been largely concerns about sprawl and decentralization.

 

Arguing housing and jobs statistics in Dallas and Collin County is irrelevant to singling out Downtown as not being viable without jobs when the standards are not being applied elsewhere. We can debate what is the better direction for Downtown, but there is little debate about whether Downtown and the neighborhoods that are cited have been given the same treatment.

 

If Downtown does not change and continue to depend upon a old model, then we will continue to lament the gap between Dallas' Downtown and Fort Worth's Downtown; as the business decision makers in the region have shown where their preferences are.

 

Downtown can become a special place if it can imagine a different future for itself.



#41 JBB

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:33 PM

Am I a petty simpleton if I think that downtown Fort Worth became a pretty special place a long time ago?  I'm not saying there's not room for improvement or room to grow, but I've lost track of the number of times I've heard and read people refer to the greatness of Fort Worth and their envy of having such a great downtown.



#42 Dismuke

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 05:31 AM

 


 

 Unless I missed it, there has never been any objection to the either Walsh Ranch or Chisolm Trail Ranch because of the absence of "jobs" within their prospective development.  The objections have been largely concerns about sprawl and decentralization.

 

 

I have addressed this - I am not sure what i can say to make it more clear. Let me give it one more try.

 

The proposed developments you mention will be, to the best of my knowledge, primarily bedroom communities.  People move to such developments knowing full well that they will not likely be able to walk or bike to work and will have a commute.   The issue for them is how far the commute is. My guess is most prospective buyers in that area will have jobs within the central portion of Fort Worth or at least Tarrant County.   I seriously doubt many people who have jobs in North Dallas or Plano will be interested in living in Walsh Ranch.

 

By contrast, one of the major appeals of living downtown is a lifestyle where it is possible to walk or bike to work or, at the very least, have an extremely short commute.  If as you suggest, most decent paying jobs downtown leave downtown,then downtown will no longer have such an appeal to that particular segment of the market that it currently serves - a segment of the market a place like Walsh Ranch is simply not able to serve in the first place.

 

People choose live in places such as Walsh Ranch for reasons that are entirely different from those who choose to live downtown.  That is why there is no "double standard." For the context of this discussion we are talking about apples and oranges.

 

 

If Downtown does not change and continue to depend upon a old model, then we will continue to lament the gap between Dallas' Downtown and Fort Worth's Downtown; as the business decision makers in the region have shown where their preferences are.

 

And if jobs disappear from downtown Dallas the way you say that they will disappear from downtown Fort Worth then the exact same thing will happen to downtown Dallas but more so.   Getting around in Dallas traffic can be brutal.  Have you looked at rents in central Dallas lately?  It is difficult to find anything that is not a run down dump with sketchy tenants for less than $1,000 per month - and not just downtown but also Old East Dallas and The Cedars.  I know because a friend of mine is currently looking for a place.  A big reason people pay such prices is so they can live close to work.


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#43 renamerusk

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:20 AM

Am I a petty simpleton if I think that downtown Fort Worth became a pretty special place a long time ago?  I'm not saying there's not room for improvement or room to grow, but I've lost track of the number of times I've heard and read people refer to the greatness of Fort Worth and their envy of having such a great downtown.

 

 In my opinion, you are not!  It could have been worded with greater qualification.  

 

As to what you have heard and are hearing,  Downtown is great and lots of cities, even one as near as 30 miles, have expressed envy even while these cities are experiencing booming high rise construction. 

 

Continuing to do what Downtown has done to win acclaim is a proven pathway. Doubling or tripling down on this strategy is the prescription for keeping Downtown healthy, vibrant and an attractive and special place.



#44 renamerusk

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 09:03 PM

 

 


 

 Unless I missed it, there has never been any objection to the either Walsh Ranch or Chisolm Trail Ranch because of the absence of "jobs" within their prospective development.  The objections have been largely concerns about sprawl and decentralization.

 

 

I have addressed this - I am not sure what i can say to make it more clear. Let me give it one more try.

 

(1) The proposed developments you mention will be, to the best of my knowledge, primarily bedroom communities.  People move to such developments knowing full well that they will not likely be able to walk or bike to work and will have a commute.   The issue for them is how far the commute is. My guess is most prospective buyers in that area will have jobs within the central portion of Fort Worth or at least Tarrant County.....

 

(2).... If as you suggest, most decent paying jobs downtown leave downtown,then downtown will no longer have such an appeal to that particular segment of the market that it currently....

 

(3) People choose live in places such as Walsh Ranch for reasons that are entirely different from those who choose to live downtown. 

 

That is why there is no "double standard." For the context of this discussion we are talking about apples and oranges.

 

 

If Downtown does not change and continue to depend upon a old model, then we will continue to lament the gap between Dallas' Downtown and Fort Worth's Downtown; as the business decision makers in the region have shown where their preferences are.

 

(2a) And if jobs disappear from downtown Dallas the way you say that they will disappear from downtown Fort Worth...

 

  I know because a friend of mine is currently looking for a place.  A big reason people pay such prices is so they can live close to work.

 

 

 #1:  So giving a pass to those who choose to live in places like WR and CTR that do not have jobs is fine; but for those who choose  to live Downtown where they may or may not be jobs is not fine? ----- "Double standard!"

 

#2-2a:  But I never made a statement like that. You surely must know that it was you who made that assumption. Then you once again repeated a statement attributed to me and is incorrect.  Never say anything of the kind. ----"Double standard plus misrepresentation"

 

#3 Another assumption that gives a pass to those who choose to live in places like WR and CTR because they are viewed as "livable neighborhoods" and not giving the same credit to those who choose to live Downtown.  If Downtown is as livable as WR and CTR, then people will choose it as a place to live as they would choose either WR or CTR.  --- "Double Standard"

 

And I know a friend, my broker, who lives in an Uptown Dallas high rise who fellow tenants consist of a broad range of types: young professionals, college students and empty nesters who have moved in from the outer suburbs for the convenience of not owning a house w/yard, no longer drive, like to travel and enjoy living near the Dallas cultural scene and entertainment in the Arts District. I met one day while riding TRE, a couple who was a retired commercial pilot from Houston and his wife, who now lives in Uptown Dallas.  I suppose that he could get to Love Field or DFW to make multiple getaways without the burden of home with a yard.  Your assumptions may have been valid post WWII and up until the turn of the Century, but it is a old model and does not suit many people, working or retired.  The reasons for living in Downtown are no longer simply because it is a place of employment; it is a place with lots of urban amenities that people like.

 

If you need further evidence, that the old model is on its way out in a different genre, look at Ridgmar Redevelopment.  It is evolving into a place where people live and come for entertainment; it is no longer seeking "legacy anchor' department stores.  Downtown Fort Worth should evolve and will evolve also; it should not be seeking "legacy employers" as if they will bring and keep jobs in the Downtown permanently. 

 

The purpose of this discussion is to acknowledge that the old model for Downtown is disappearing; and that a different model can be achieved by primarily becoming a neighborhood of residential/entertainment and hospitality activity.  Looks like the old models still has its proponents, but I am not one of them.

 

In closing, I think any job is a good job if it provides dignity and respect to the job holder.  Many people hold jobs that you may not find attractive, but these workers make certain industries possible.  I never categorized the jobs; never will.  I think if you read some of the remarks made by you and others you will find the individuals who did so.



#45 Dismuke

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:38 PM

 

In closing, I think any job is a good job if it provides dignity and respect to the job holder.  Many people hold jobs that you may not find attractive, but these workers make certain industries possible.  I never categorized the jobs; never will.  I think if you read some of the remarks made by you and others you will find the individuals who did so.

 

 

 

Let's see... for some reason that I can't quite figure out you claim that I have misrepresented you by suggesting you said something that you didn't say.   But you then do the exact same thing you accused me of doing by suggesting that I disparage certain types of jobs.  I have done no such thing - that is so far from factual and my actual views that it is downright bizarre.

 

What I did say was that people who support themselves with low paying jobs are not in a position to afford things such as pricey downtown apartments and frequenting downtown restaurants and pubs.  That is a simple observation of an obvious fact.  If people don't earn much money they don't have much money to spend.

 

I also pointed out that local economies where the only jobs are low paying jobs are limited in terms of opportunities for economic advancement. That again is a statement of obvious fact.   All one has to do is look at places such as West Virginia or rural Kentucky where what jobs do exist mostly pay minimum wage.  Such places have high rates of poverty and the only hope to escape it for most people is to move someplace else.

 

Making such observations of fact in no way constitutes disparaging certain types of jobs.

 

And pointing that higher paying jobs have a more beneficial impact on an economy is also a statement of the obvious.  Higher paying jobs create a ripple effect in a local economy which makes a wide variety of other jobs possible - jobs that would disappear if the high paying jobs were to disappear.  A local economy that is able to generate high paying jobs is an economy that is able to provide opportunities for those in lower paying jobs to improve their standard of living by moving into different jobs.  To suggest that some jobs are "better" than others does not disparage any job.  It is a statement of fact - a statement of fact that anybody who has ever worked a low paying job knows very well through first hand experience.


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#46 renamerusk

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 09:15 AM

(1) People's primary consideration in where they live is based on their ability to find a way to make a living and pay their bills. If you can't pay your bills, then finding an income stream becomes your primary objective - other desires and goals become secondary.   I suspect a great many people in the Metroplex would prefer to live elsewhere - but they don't because it would be difficult to impossible for them to make a decent living in such places.  

 

(2) That is why many more houses and apartments are being built in Dallas and Collin County than in Fort Worth.  It is not because such locations are necessarily nicer places to live - it is just that there are a whole lot more jobs available there than there is here.

 

(3) The only real difference between downtown and those proposed neighborhoods is the type of housing.   Downtown consists mostly of renters who do not have children.  As such, that tends to be a much more transient population - so if their job moves to a location where they are suddenly faced with a brutal commute it is comparatively easy for them to move with it.   The other difference is that living in very close or even walking distance proximity to one's job is one of the reasons why people are attracted to downtown.   If the jobs go away so goes the appeal downtown had for them to be there in the first place.

 

(1) If people live in WR or CTR, they will be living there for reasons other than employment.  Why can't people live in Downtown for reasons other than employment?

 

(2) It is generally an accepted fact that a significant amount of workers commute from Fort Worth to Dallas. If the jobs are in Dallas, why do people continue to live in Fort Worth.  Again, it seems evident to me that people live where they live for reasons other than employment.

 

(3) Of course the type of housing is different for Downtown and out laying neighborhoods; the desire for greater space is primarily the factor.  If Downtown is populated by a greater proportion of renters than ownership, what is the harm to Downtown.  When consuming services, purchasing food, patronizing restaurants, entertainment and cultural events, what does it matter to the businesses in Downtown how the customer provides for their lodging.......Austin, Texas seems like a perfect example of what I am saying: It is a city with a high proportion of residents being transient/college students.  The demand for apartment living there is why there are so many towers in its Downtown Austin and why there is such a thriving entertainment district along the lake front.  Austin has also established itself as a tourist and conference destination; and hotels have been built to meet this demand.  This is proof that the downtown can evolve from the old model of business, and more business to something that is more of a place to live than to work and that it is possible......Citing the difference between Downtown and suburbs is "living in very close or even walking distance proximity to one's job is one of the reasons why people are attracted to downtown" is your way of equating jobs with residential choice.  The equation falsely handicaps Downtown when its mandates this upon Downtown yet does not mandate it elsewhere.  It can not be a reason applicable to Downtown and not applicable to other neighborhoods.  Either people live where they live because of jobs being in immediate proximity/walking distance or they live where they live for other reasons. 

 

The question for me is why can't Downtown Fort Worth become a place where people live for reasons other than for employment?  And holding a position that requires it to be both a place where people live and must work is a double standard.  It is just as easy to commute to a job in other parts of the metropolitan area from Downtown as it is from elsewhere.  With the coming of Tex Rail and the now well established TRE, commuting from while living in downtown and an expanding hotel/entertainment/tourism sector makes Downtown become an even more of a livable neighborhood.

 

So to distill this down to an even larger question is to decide whether Fort Worth/Downtown and its future is better going with the old model (CBD) or will it be better off going with a new approach in its effort to sustain the CBD by way of evolving into a Residential/Tourism/Entertainment center?



#47 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 02:43 PM

Don't agree with #2 as of now (which is a subjective opinion, not an accepted fact). However, that could change if employment continues to not keep up with population growth.

 

If you were to replace Fort Worth with Tarrant County, I'd agree with you more. I'm sure there are a "significant" amount of people along the 360 corridor that commute to Dallas. But I disagree that a "significant" amount of people in Fort Worth itself commute to Dallas. Fort Worth is still an employment hub.

 

As for downtown, I agree with striving for more residents and tourists, be we can't neglect employment.


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#48 renamerusk

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 05:16 PM

Photo from skyscraperpage

 

Construction4_zpsd3xyulvi.jpg

 

 

 Could this be a similar picture about Fort Worth someday? 



#49 Dismuke

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 12:44 PM

 

(1) If people live in WR or CTR, they will be living there for reasons other than employment.  Why can't people live in Downtown for reasons other than employment?

 

 

People can and do live downtown for reasons other than proximity to employment.  And that completely misses the point.  People currently do live downtown because of its proximity to their jobs.  If those jobs go away so will the people who live downtown for that reason - and thus downtown will no longer be able to serve that segment of the residential market that it currently serves. 

 

If such people cannot live in close proximity to their jobs in downtown Fort Worth they will find someplace else to live - and not necessarily in the Metroplex.  There are  people who put up with punitive taxes and high costs of living in certain cities simply because they offer lifestyle options that places like Fort Worth are not in a position to provide. Residential districts in other parts of the Metroplex are not the only competition the downtown housing market faces - people can always choose to move to another part of the country altogether.
 

 

2) It is generally an accepted fact that a significant amount of workers commute from Fort Worth to Dallas. If the jobs are in Dallas, why do people continue to live in Fort Worth. Again, it seems evident to me that people live where they live for reasons other than employment.

 

 

 

And the operative word here is: such people "continue" to live in Fort Worth.   My very strong hunch is that most people who have nasty rush hour commutes to Dallas/Dallas County are those who already lived in Fort Worth before beginning their current jobs and either cannot afford to relocate or have the logistical difficulty of having to sell a house before a relocation is possible or because their spouse still works in Fort Worth or because they have school/social ties that they do not wish to break.

 

Not many people who have a Dallas County job that pays well enough to afford a downtown Fort Worth apartment are going to choose to relocate all the way out to downtown Fort Worth where their free time will be sucked away sitting in one hour plus traffic congestion two times each weekday.

 

If Downtown is populated by a greater proportion of renters than ownership, what is the harm to Downtown. When consuming services, purchasing food, patronizing restaurants, entertainment and cultural events, what does it matter to the businesses in Downtown how the customer provides for their lodging..

 

 

It doesn't particularly matter to retailers and entertainment venues whether their customers own or rent - they are more than happy to take anybody's money. In fact, my hunch is that a high proportion of renters is a plus for such businesses because the types of renters who have plenty of disposable income tend to place a higher priority on restaurant and entertainment venues than do people who "settle down" and live in the suburbs whose time and spending priorities tend to be in other areas.

 

Again, all of this misses the point.  Where rent verses own is relevant in this context is not how people spend their money but the degree of people's mobility and thus their stability in terms of how long they tend to stay in one place.  

 

A neighborhood where people own is more able to withstand changes in the overall marketplace because it is not as easy to relocate if one owns a home as when one rents.  If the economy takes a nosedive people may be "stuck" in their houses and unable to move without extremely adverse consequences if they are upside down in their mortgages.  Renters in a down economy have more flexibility to seek opportunities elsewhere when their leases expire.  And rental districts are much more subject to fluctuations in terms of what is popular and trendy.  If some other part of town becomes "hot" or newer apartments with more enticing features are built somewhere else, higher income renters can and will move in a heartbeat.  Meanwhile, people who buy houses are not likely to be as quick to move simply because some other neighborhood that is nicer or more trendy springs up elsewhere.

 

And, by the way, one of the potential pitfalls of an area having a high concentration of renters - even if they are high end renters - is the area can go into a downward spiral very quickly if it falls out of favor.  That can happen to areas where most people own as well - but because owners tend to stay longer and be more stable it takes much longer for it to happen. 

 

I remember in the 1990s aftermath of the 1980s apartment building boom and subsequent real estate crash going through parts of North Dallas that were built in the 1960s and 1970s.  The houses in that part of town remained solidly middle-middle to upper middle-class.  But many of the apartment complexes built along the major thoroughfares had completely fallen out of fashion and in some instances spiraled down into pockets of poverty and crime  surrounded by a sea of fairly affluent neighborhoods.

 

 

Austin, Texas seems like a perfect example of what I am saying: It is a city with a high proportion of residents being transient/college students. The demand for apartment living there is why there are so many towers in its Downtown Austin and why there is such a thriving entertainment district along the lake front.

 

Yes.   And if the university were to close its doors or the state government were to relocate to Amarillo those apartment towers would start emptying very quickly.

 

Any human life as well as any building, neighborhood, city, business, institution or other human endeavor must have some sort of economic basis on which its future viability and existence will depend.  If one of its current means of economic support go away then either some new source of support must be found or that person, building, city or institution will be forced to go through significant changes in order to adjust.

 

If the downtown Fort Worth housing loses an important portion of its current market then either new markets must be found or downtown Fort Worth will undergo some not necessarily pleasant changes. 

 

You seem to think that just replacing that lost market (and a whole lot of other things as well) is easy because you see it as good and desirable.  Very few things that are worthwhile in life are easy - and dead-ends and failures are always more frequent than successes. 

 

Desire and optimism are great - but only when they are exercised in the context of looking at cold hard reality.  Otherwise it is no different than the child who, in response to being told by his father that the family is unable to afford a trip to Disney World replies: "That's silly Daddy - all you have to do is ask your boss for a pay raise. I'll start packing now."


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#50 Austin55

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 06:08 PM

Bud Kennedy proposes something a little different. Central Education District?

http://amp.star-tele...e159270849.html




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