May. 01, 2017 by Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, Director of Programs & Partnerships, The Real Estate Council

5 Takeaways: Steve Brown’s Chat on Dallas Development

Hosted by veteran TREC member and Uptown expert, Bill Flaherty, president of Rosewood Property Company, members of TREC’s CEO & Leadership Circle recently gathered at Ocean Prime to reflect upon Uptown and downtown Dallas’ recent history and tremendous growth with Steve Brown, real estate editor at The Dallas Morning News. Industry executives from development, design and investment backgrounds reminisced about what might have been, shared projections and discussed what they are excited to see in Dallas’ city center.

Here are five highlights:

Game Changers: What’s fueling Uptown’s development?

Bill kicked off the conversation reflecting upon Uptown’s landscape at the beginning of his career as a broker compared to today’s tremendous growth and the driving factors behind that shift. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ move to Uptown from downtown, which Bill participated in, was a game-changer, altering perceptions about what Uptown could be. The forward-thinking and bold investment in the Crescent when nothing else of such scale existed in the area, and subsequent trolley line installation, paved the way for today’s plethora of impressive projects.

Biggest Wild Card: What’s shaping downtown and Uptown in the next 10 years?

Members asked Steve Brown what the biggest “wild card” downtown and Uptown can expect in the next 10 years. His answer was simple: density. He cited that driving to Skillman/LBJ can sometimes take an hour and Frisco’s congestion is a sign of things to come. It is going to be increasingly difficult to get around with our region’s rapid population growth. By 2020, there will be 8.5 million people to contend with. Prospective residents, Brown projected, will want to live near work and employers will move closer to existing residential so their employees don’t need to drive long distances. As this trend gains steam, downtown will be absorbed into Uptown’s higher priced leasing trends.

Little-Known Facts: What could have been?

Dallas’ now world-renowned Arts District serves as an anchor downtown and was once considered for an alternate site where the Crescent now sits. Resistance to move outside of downtown ultimately resulted in today’s location winning out. Before the Great Recession, downtown Dallas almost became home to a Kroger in 2007. The grocery development was eyed for the site where Dr. Jain now hopes to build the Shraman South Asian Museum.

Favorite Moments: What stands out from a career writing about Dallas development?

Asked about his favorite moments in a long and illustrious career, Steve Brown cited a late-night meal at The Mansion at Turtle Creek with Philip Johnson, the storied architect of the Crescent. Sharing his vision for the soon-to-be development, Johnson gave Brown a back-of-the-napkin sketch of the Crescent (which sadly he did not keep)! Members cited other long-lost arts such as the large physical models the industry used to produce to promote upcoming projects. While cost and digital technology have rendered the marketing use of such models obsolete, some still exist and can be seen on display today at sites such as the Bank of America Plaza.

Innovation: What should we watch for?

Brown left the group pondering parking. He suggested developers outside of North Texas, such as those in New York, claim Dallas is building parking garages that will soon need to be converted to other uses. Transportation decisions and technology, in particular, will transform the commercial real estate industry in years to come.