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RD Milhollin

Member Since 11 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:00 PM
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#105631 Free Downtown Parking Being Revisited

Posted by RD Milhollin on 10 September 2017 - 09:35 AM

The S-T's Bud Kennedy weighs in on the "Free Parking" question with "Fort Worth's Romance with Free Parking and Why It's Headed for a Messy Breakup"

 

http://www.star-telegram.com/living/article172092357.html 

 

He covers the old Leonard's Subway, Sundance Square and public subsidization, Will Rogers area Western Heritage Garage, West 7th / Crockett Row, The Dash, The "4-block rule", parking meters, Stockyards Disneyfication, city zoning requirements, driverless cars and possible consequences for parking

 

... and even hovercrafts and sacred cows!

 

This is necessarily a generalized review and overview, and does not attempt to go into any serious social or economic policy evaluations of the issue; and I am pretty sure all of the aspects he covers have been covered to a greater extent here on the Forum, but it might help the uninitiated citizen to better understand what the reasons might be when the can't find a free space or have to pay for a close one. As regards the title; I read the article twice and really can't see where he covered why a "messy breakup" is on the way... it seems to be an ongoing long-term relationship in Sundance Square!




#105608 Amazon in search of 2nd headquarters

Posted by RD Milhollin on 09 September 2017 - 12:54 PM

Some reasons that the Panther Island site might suit the criteria Amazon is looking for in a location for their HQ2:

 

 

  • Metropolitan areas with more than one million people:

Fort Worth is rapidly approaching the 1M population mark itself, the surrounding MSA including Dallas has more than 7M, and the Ft Worth/Arlington Metro Census Division has about 2.4M. The DFW Metro area is the 4th most populous in the country.

 

  • A stable and business-friendly environment:

The area is well-known for attracting out-of-state businesses. Dallas is ahead of the curve in this department but Fort Worth has retained Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter, Alcon, BNSF and AA for many years. No state income taxes and an affordable cost-of-living would probably appeal to many of the employees who would relocate here.

 

  • Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent:

Hmm, what is this talent pool likely to be attracted to? Education? TCU, UTA, UNT, TWU, Texas Wesleyan, TCC, UTA-FW, Tarleton-FW... Arts? FW Art Museums, Cowboy/Cowgirl, Cliburn competition, Symphony Orchestra, Opera season, Art and Music Festivals, Marathon and mudding events...  Sports: Cowboys, Rangers, Hockey and B-Ball over in Dallas 30 miles away, motor racing, Colonial Golf tournament, Horned Frogs, Vaqueros soccer, and the possibility of a minor league Baseball team right in the middle of the mix, stadium already in place. Theater? Lots of traditional and avant-garde options close by including Casa Mañana, Bass Hall, Stage West, Circle, Jubilee, Amphibian. Hangouts? Stockyards, West 7th, New Southside, Downtown, and probably a whole new area in and around Panther Island. Recreation? Forest-Trinity, Gateway Parks, New state parks west of town and the LBJ Grasslands to the north, Trinity Trails, Trinity River canoeing/kayaking, several large area lakes. Climate... well it is different than Seattle... Except for blazing heat in the middle of summer it is really not too bad. Some rain but plenty of sunshine. Mild winters on the average, nice Spring and Autumn, and who knows, maybe the Summer we are just finishing up is the new normal. I would guess that the architects for Amazon would assure that trees, accommodations for structural shade and breeze, and other climate-mitigating aspects would be built into their designs. Living right next to urban water features should be nice for the employees and residents, but it would of course not be a direct substitute for Lake Washington... 

 

  • Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options:

Is there any larger scale US publicly-directed urban real estate redevelopment currently in the works than the Panther Island project? From the beginning this was pretty audacious, many if not most residents didn't think it would ever see fruition. What was once a decrepit former industrial area with serious environmental concerns is being developed into a unique urban neighborhood... and the final word on what it could be is still very much subject to negotiation. Much of the infrastructure that a relocating company would ask for in initial negotiations is already underway (bridges, streets, utilities) and this is an ideal time in the project timeline for other options that a potential client like Amazon might prefer to be incorporated into the plan. Historically Fort Worth has planned big, ref. Air Force Plant 4, Greater Southwest/Amon Carter Airport, and later DFW Airport. 

 

HQ2 could be, but does not have to be:

  • An urban or downtown campus:

At this point if Amazon opted in they could build out Panther Island to suit what they envision as an ideal Work/Live/Play (oops, sorry) environment best suited for their business needs and the needs of their employees. This is probably where the transportation needs enter into the equation. A streetcar line bisecting the island and connecting it to the Downtown ITC and the Stockyards TEXRail station would assure quick access to DFW airport. DFW is a huge selling point for any corporate relocation as there are non-stop flights to almost anywhere in the US, and an increasing number of foreign destinations, especially in Asia. Not to be forgotten is the option of corporate aviation services at nearby Meacham Airport; If Amazon were to build here I could see that as possibly the necessary tipping-point for a commercial carrier to consider scheduled service to places like LGA, DCA, LAX, oh, and SEA from FTW. This relocation could also be the kick-in-the-pants that would get Fort Worth Transit to initiate commuter train service from Downtown up to the Alliance Corridor; Alliance Airport/multimodal facilities, and existing Amazon installations. Depending on how they were to structure their incentives there might end up being a "reverse" commuter pattern from housing in Panther Island to the fulfillment centers around Alliance.

 

  • A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus:

See above; if Amazon leadership believes that the layout/configuration/composition of their current campus is ideal for their needs they could recreate it on the Island. Alternatively, they could incorporate the best if what they currently have with the best of the environment presented by Panther Island.

 

  • A development-prepped site. We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline.

This site just adjacent to downtown Fort Worth would probably be about as turn-key for new development as anywhere they could find that fits their size criteria. Things on the Island have been seemingly dragging along for years now because of the necessity of simultaneously pursuing federal funding every two years while scheduling the spending to acquire, clear, remediate, and replat properties and constructing the new infrastructure called for. It has been a balancing act making sure the resources are there for the development phase being worked on. With a major client like Amazon willing to take up the majority of the developable land on the site I bet work could jackrabbit forward with new private-sector financing secured by a new-found certainty of successful completion; i.e. less speculation. There are also state and COG/Transportation funds that could be accessed to put infrastructure projects on an accelerated track. Panther Island is probably the closest thing Amazon is going to find in terms of a clean slate, prepped and ready to roll for what they envision.

 

That said, Fort Worth should not participate with Dallas in a regional effort; this approach almost always results in these projects ending up in Dallas or Collin Counties, or in Arlington for that matter. I can see a Dallas-Regional bid centering on the Texas Stadium site in Irving... Even the earthquakes there could help to make the Seattle-transplants feel at home. If Amazon expresses interest in the Panther Island option the City, County, COG, and other interested entities (cultural, educational, technical, complementary business) should be prepared to address any anticipated concern that could be brought up during initial negotiations. This is an opportunity that Fort Worth should pursue enthusiastically as there seems to be an excellent match here between what Amazon says they want and what the city has to offer. 




#105385 Most disaster prone city in the US is...

Posted by RD Milhollin on 02 September 2017 - 08:28 AM

Interesting that OK City is not on the list considering the tornadoes




#105093 SBC/AT&T Building

Posted by RD Milhollin on 20 August 2017 - 01:14 AM

If you are referring to "Brutalism" or "Brutalist" as an architectural style, you are way off the mark. This is a brick-sided building. Check out what the terms mean... hint: The answer  is in this forum.




#105057 Gathering Storm in College Station

Posted by RD Milhollin on 18 August 2017 - 11:51 PM

Several years ago the park shifted from using the Confederate Battle Flag (Stars and Bars) to the national flag, 13 circled stars on a blue quarter field and three stripes. I doubt if most of the torch carrying thugs at Charlottesville would have recognized that as the Confederate flag... Yeah, Six Flags probably over-reacted, but I bet their lawyers are happy. As concerns renaming Jeff Davis Park: Great idea, well past due. "Pappy" O'Daniel Park? Ornette Coleman Park? Fess Parker Park? Alan Bean Park?




#105056 Lancaster Avenue Apartments/Retail/Garage

Posted by RD Milhollin on 18 August 2017 - 11:18 PM

"Front Street"




#104856 Frost Tower - Jetta Operating to Build Downtown Office Building

Posted by RD Milhollin on 13 August 2017 - 09:27 AM

The new building is clearly distinguishable from SH-121 in Haltom City and Riverside.




#104855 Museum Place

Posted by RD Milhollin on 13 August 2017 - 09:25 AM

I have not heard sale of development rights mentioned as an option for the museum to use to control the view. In Texas, various property rights are "severable" from the surface rights; Restricting the current owner and would-be hotel developer from building to the height proposed effectively takes away value without compensation. In the negotiations about this issue perhaps the museum should offer to purchase development rights so they could set the height limit they feel is best for their adjacent property. Having the city change the zoning and other restrictions after due diligence has already been done seems basically unfair.




#103794 XTO Energy moving 1,600 employees to The Woodlands, selling six of seven buil...

Posted by RD Milhollin on 19 June 2017 - 10:56 AM

Yes, but sustainable energy companies, like any other, have needs for centralized supply, transportation, and servicing operations. Some of these are best met internally, others by specialized contracting firms. I believe, like tamtagon, that Fort Worth is in a fairly unique position to take advantage of trends already in place in the wind turbine field, and could expand that capability to be a leader in solar technology design, fabrication, and distribution. Fort Worth has an large manufacturing/industrial base with a trained workforce and surplus manufacturing/warehousing facilities, well at least locations if not buildings. Fort Worth is a rail transportation and highway hub with plenty of logistical capacity. Look at the Northside along the major trunk lines and the Alliance Corridor as examples of opportunity for a future-energy supply hub. There are major universities with major engineering and business schools here and nearby that could supply the future leaders and innovators for this sort of thing. Downtown has individuals and firms who could be a source of financing for innovative new ventures. As far as your "WAI", many homes out in the country rely on grid electricity and trucked-in propane to provide power and heat. Economical solar and wind on a personal scale would free those folks from dependence on outside energy sources brought in a great expense. Ranchers unfortunate enough to not have oil or gas below their grass have gained a new grip on the family farm by leasing to wind generator operators. Those turbines require periodic service, and Fort Worth is a short drive, and will be soon a short train ride, to one of the largest airports around with many non-stop destinations close to other wind farm centers. And on and on...




#103761 TCU, UNTHSC to collaborate on medical school

Posted by RD Milhollin on 17 June 2017 - 11:31 AM

Legislation signed to permit UNT/TCU allopathic medical school to proceed:

 

http://www.star-tele...rylink=hpdigest




#103759 XTO Energy moving 1,600 employees to The Woodlands, selling six of seven buil...

Posted by RD Milhollin on 17 June 2017 - 11:15 AM

Well...

Time to focus on attracting other companies, I guess.

 

The number of professional and managerial jobs leaving is something that is going to be hard to deal with. Other posters on this forum have identified before that many of the jobs in Fort Worth are manufacturing or service based, and that we need more professional "white collar "jobs to round out the mix. I seem to remember that the city recently began an initiative (well, at least a study) to try to attract other businesses to town, but are the successful catches going to bring in managerial and higher-paid professionals to fill the gap that is going to develop when XTO departs? Are the companies lured here going to want to locate in the downtown area? I wonder how much of a heads-up the city leadership had about this move... Departing employees will most likely put their houses on the market which will probably depress upper-middle and higher range residential property prices. Even a staged withdrawal from the large and medium office buildings downtown is going to lower lease rates there since the knowledge of many vacancies in the very near future is now widely known. Focusing attention on attracting service jobs to downtown is not going to counter these effects; Fort Worth needs company offices and the related services that support them. Two possible strategies for addressing this need come to mind:

 

There are other, smaller companies that are in the same industry as XTO/Exxon-Mobil; perhaps the city could help support an effort to match those professionals who don't want to leave town to hire on with local Exxon competitors or even better, start-up their own competing firms here. I don't have a lot of experience in this area but I am sure there are people in the city or the Chamber or DTFW Inc, etc. who do, and if not perhaps a consultant could be brought in to help set up something along the lines of a "job fair" or a referral service to help those employees/contractors match up with growing local companies looking for experienced personnel. Maybe Bob Simpson could be asked by the mayor to have a "sit-down" to discuss how best to retain key industry people in the city...

 

The other idea is to begin a concerted effort to attract the "other" energy industry to the city; The companies that provide clean and sustainable power in contrast to burning fossil fuels. If there is going to be ANY sort of financial incentive offered as part of the city initiative to attract companies to move here, the same breaks offered to old-school energy companies should be offered to new-wave firms. One way to compete with other cities that are already onboard with this trend would be for the school districts to offer more STEM opportunities and even STEM with an energy focus as a graduation track. As part of this effort UTA, Tarleton, TCU, UNT etc. should be brought onboard with guaranteed scholarships in their engineering and business programs and even collaborate support for company start-up incubators.




#101601 Affordable Housing

Posted by RD Milhollin on 11 March 2017 - 12:17 PM

Residential and true mixed use (residential +) developers are going to try to reach for the highest rent they can get since for the most part they are in business to make money. These same developers are happy to take money from the city or from other public entities as an incentive to build, sometimes refusing to even consider a deal without incentives being on the table. The taxing entity usually asks for some concessions in return, such as minority/women contractors, a minimum number of local jobs created, design criteria, etc. The city could help address the homeless problem by requiring developers receiving tax incentives to include a certain percentage of affordable housing units to their projects, especially in areas where low-wage jobs that could be held by unspecialized workers are located. Every development has floors, views, exposures, etc. that are less desirable to clients, small, no-frills apartments could be included in these parts of the complex, perhaps just above the mixed0-use storefronts where employment might be offered. If the design of the development and the surrounding neighborhood were pedestrian-friendly and included basic amenities the residents of the rent-controlled units would not have to devote scarce resources to owning and maintaining a car, and could start to save money for other things... I know this is not a new idea, and would be interested if local jurisdictions here are or have used this approach before.




#99981 The link between historic neighborhoods and minority owned enterprises

Posted by RD Milhollin on 07 December 2016 - 10:05 AM

Is anyone going to comment positively that Fort Worth was reported separately from Dallas in this study?

 

I will!




#99572 Ridglea Presbyterian Church

Posted by RD Milhollin on 12 November 2016 - 01:27 AM

I hate to see such a significant building destroyed over an issue like parking. There should have been some mechanism in place to strongly encourage the landowners and businesses the area to work together to assure adequate parking for the area, perhaps some incentive to build a multi-level structure.

 

Outside of that, I am opposed to allowing gasoline sales outside of industrially-zoned areas due to the extreme hazards involved with dispensing and storage, and the potential loss of life to surrounding residents in the event of a disaster. The middle of a crowded residential and shopping area is not the place for bulk sales of a toxic and explosive material.




#99571 Council considers incentive to attract RFD-TV to relocate to Stockyards

Posted by RD Milhollin on 12 November 2016 - 01:17 AM

A cable channel that promotes a "rural lifestyle" may soon be based in a big city. That's odd.

 

Hopefully, they promote Fort Worth as a big city instead of as a small town.

 

Nashville is a "big city" at least in the same class as Fort Worth, and it has long been successful in pulling off the "small-town"persona. Part of the history of Fort Worth and other Texas cities has been to attract residents from surrounding rural areas for happenings and events; Stock Show, cattle auctions, business/banking, etc. Much of this sort of activity has been decentralized over the years as a result of improved transportation and communication, so finding a way to link the city to the country is probably a good thing. Having the city subsidize this company... Maybe not. If there are specific and contractual obligations and benefits for both sides, that would be better than just throwing public money at something that sounds good but might not bring tangible value to the people of the city.