Rename - nobody in this thread has been preaching austerity and the sky is falling. What they have been doing is taking cognizance of the facts of reality - facts which can't be just wished away or negated by good intentions.
Discussions over proposed skyscrapers, residential developments and retail developments must necessarily include a discussion of economics. Buildings of any kind cost an enormous amount of money - and somebody has to come up with that money. For such developments to be viable and sustainable they have to have tenants. And for there to be tenants there have to be certain preconditions in terms of the local economy. There have to be enough jobs that pay well enough to enable people to afford the new housing. And there have to be enough people in the local population who are doing well enough and are willing enough to spend to make the local retail viable. And there have to be enough companies doing well enough to make the additional office space viable.
Those are simple facts of reality - which, again, is something that can't just be wished away or will somehow be negated by one's refusal to take into consideration. One can talk all day long about how cool various proposed developments might be and even have fun doing so - but unless one's proposals take the economic facts of reality into consideration they are nothing more than fantasy. There is nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in fantasy as a form of entertainment - so long that one remains aware that it is a fantasy and does not expect others to take it seriously.
With regard to other cities such as Dallas, Houston and Austin, to make such a comparison is not particularly valid. Those cities each have a unique set of circumstances - i.e., facts of reality - that differ from Fort Worth's. Dallas and Houston both have vastly larger local economies than does Fort Worth. Austin is the primary city in its metro area - not the secondary city as is Fort Worth. And all of those cities have, as a result, achieved a certain amount of critical mass that works to their advantage. That is a fact of reality - one may not like it and one may wish things were otherwise - but facts are facts. And, as a result of those facts, there are going to be occasions when those cities are going to get certain really cool things that Fort Worth does not get to have in the exact same way and for the exact same reason why Fort Worth gets certain really cool things that cities like El Paso and Abilene do not get to have. If one thinks this situation is somehow unacceptable and wishes to work to change things - then by all means go for it. But the first step is to understand and embrace the facts of reality so that one can know what one is up against and must do - not escape into flights of fantasy along the lines of "wouldn't it be wonderful if......."
Furthermore, judging one's own success or the success of a city on a comparative standard is counterproductive and can even be self-destructive. The fact that some other person has a nicer house than you do does not make your house somehow less nice than it already is. The fact that another person earns more money than you do and has accomplished more than you in no way undermines whatever degree of success you have earned and should make you no less proud of all that you did to achieve that success. If a person judges his self-worth and success based on what other people do and think - he is in for a life of heartbreak. And the same is true for a city. If one judges Fort Worth's success based on what cool things are happening elsewhere, one will always end up being disappointed.
As to "austerity and the sky is falling" - well, Rename, you are the one who brought that up because the points that you are taking exception to are equally valid in both good times and bad. But since you brought the subject up, let's discuss if for a moment because it is actually highly relevant for the times in which we live and to this subject.
The fact is this entire discussion would be regarded as an outright absurdity in pretty much any locality right how outside of Texas. In most parts of the country the discussion isn't about what sorts of new development ought to take place - it's about depressed property values and how to make/keep viable the buildings and housing that already exists.
And, while we here in Texas are fortunate to be far better off than most parts of the country, we are still in a very tough economy. I know from first hand experience: I spent eight months of 2012 out of work actively looking for a new job. Unlike in other parts of the country, there were jobs for me to apply for - but for every opening I was qualified for there was very stiff competition between others who were just as, if not more, qualified than I was. I was very fortunate because, when I did eventually find another job, I did not have to take a cut in pay. I consider myself fortunate because I had mentally braced myself to do just that - and there are a great many people out there who have had to do so.
I rather doubt there are very many people who have not, in some way or another, been impacted by the economic events of the past five years. Austerity? Given all that we have already been through, I would go so far as to suggest that any person who has not given serious consideration to what would happen and what they would do if either they or their customers found themselves out of work for an extended period of time and/or were forced to take a pay cut (or, if retired, if the value of one's assets took a severe hit) is a fool.
The sky is falling? Well, in Europe, it is falling. It is just reaching the ground faster in some places than it is others. If you live in Cyprus, the sky has already fallen - the only question at this very moment is what is going to be left in the aftermath. In Greece, unemployment is over 26 percent and for workers under age 25 it is around 55 percent. Youth unemployment is similar in Spain and in Italy it is over 34 percent. And Greece, Spain and Italy have yet to hit bottom in terms of their crisis of insolvency. That is pretty scary when one considers that Europe's knee jerk answer to Euro-socialism is not free market capitalism but rather nationalism and fascism - as indicated by the recent electoral success of certain implicitly neo-nazi third parties in countries such as Greece. In a continent that has always been rife with anti-antisemitism, racial tensions going back hundreds of years plus a discontent, largely segregated and increasingly radicalized Muslim minority - well, that is kind of frightening to think about and a potential powder keg that make events in history books from 1914 and 1933 seem a lot less abstract and far away.
But that is in Europe, you say? But we are heading down the exact same economic path as Greece and Spain. We are just not as far down the road - yet. Will the same thing happen here? It will if we don't change course. Will we change course? Is there even enough time left for us to change course? I don't know. We were heading down a similar path in the 1970s and we managed to change course. But consider what it cost us to do so - Paul Volker essentially threw the country into the worst, most painful recession since the Depression in order to purge the economy to clear way for its subsequent renewal and relative stability. At the very least, a reversal and cure for the long-term fiscal disaster we are heading towards is going to require a similar period of sharp, short-term pain. Will the political will exist for it to happen? Let's hope so - because we are already witnessing the alternative unfold in places like Cyprus and Greece. I saw an article online the other day trying to offer reassurance that what is happening in Cyprus could never happen here because, unlike in Cyprus, our Fed has the ability to print all the money it needs in order to prop up banks and keep depositors whole. Gee whiz - so instead of outrightly confiscating a certain percentage of one's savings as in Cyprus, the Fed would just print up more money and inflate away the purchasing power of our savings by a similar percentage. That is real comforting.
I don't know how things are going to turn out anymore than anybody else does. But anyone who knows anything about economics and is paying attention cannot help but be disturbed by current trends. As already mentioned, anybody who has not already asked themselves what they would do if they and/or their customers suddenly had to deal with lengthy unemployment or took a significant hit to their standard of living as a result being forced to accept a pay cut or saw their wealth eroded through possible high inflation needs to give the subject some serious thought. How prepared are you to, if necessary, drastically cut your expenses for a possibly lengthy period of time so that you could get by on some fraction of the income you are bringing in right now and still have a happy life and come out ok? That is not "sky is falling" thinking - is is prudently contemplating a possibility that, for many people in southern Europe right now, is current reality.
I know that this is a bit of digression. But Rename, you are the one who brought the subject up - and it is certainly relevant to the root of your disagreement with myself and others. In your posting, you did not just merely overlook economics and the facts of reality - you imply a certain amount of contempt for even considering those things. One is certainly free to ignore economics and the facts of reality. But that doesn't make them go away - and one does so at one's own risk. Unfortunately, both the laws of economics and the facts of reality tend to be very unkind towards those who choose to ignore them.
In the end whether or not a building is viable is entirely about economics, The fundamental difference between Fort Worth and Detroit and that one is growing and the other is becoming a ghost town is entirely due to economics. And the same is true when it comes to the type and the amount of development in Fort Worth verses Dallas, Houston or Austin.