Monday, November 14, 2005

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News

Downtown Dallas & Uptown Real Estate News
Dallas' new day

Performing arts center will redefine downtown, says ROGER NANNEY


12:00 AM CST on Wednesday, November 9, 2005


Among the many significant dates in Dallas' history, Nov. 10, 2005, will join the list. On this day, Dallas will forge ahead on the final phase of its 25-year journey to complete the Arts District, with the official groundbreaking for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.

But it's not going to be a self-congratulatory day for those who have worked on the campaign; instead, it will be known as a day when Dallas began to determine its destiny.

Campaign fundraising for the center is approaching the $200 million benchmark ? the most raised for a cultural arts project in North Texas.

Dallas is filled with benchmarks. In the late 1800s, city leaders worked hard to bring the railroads to town and ensure a successful economic future for Dallas. In the mid-1930s, while other cities were reeling from the Great Depression, Dallas was on center stage as the host of the Texas Centennial celebration.

Groundbreaking for the performing arts center provides the city's first major benchmark in the 21st century. The center will become a cultural icon and will give Dallas what no other city in the world has created ? four buildings in one contiguous block that have been designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architects.

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, designed by Foster & Partners and led by Norman Foster, and the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture and Rem Koolhaas, will join the I.M. Pei-designed Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and the Nasher Sculpture Center, designed by Renzo Piano.

But these architectural gems represent only part of what the performing arts center will mean to this city. The scheduled completion of the Arts District in 2009 will go hand in hand with bold plans to revitalize downtown Dallas and re-energize the city center. Just as Dallas redefined itself during the height of the Depression, these plans will redefine downtown as the city's central gathering place.

The performing arts center will include much more than an opera house and theater for live performances. The completely renovated Annette Strauss Artist Square will be a wonderful venue for outdoor events, while the Grand Plaza will provide a place to enjoy the outdoors and admire the surroundings.

With plans to create a Woodall Rodgers park over the nearby downtown freeway and the construction of One Arts Plaza, bringing in corporate, retail and restaurants, the Arts District promises to be the most attractive and popular location in the area. The performing arts center will be part of that destiny, providing a tremendous boost to the arts in this community. And, by generating an economic boost for Dallas, it will mean just as much to those who never attend a performance. More than $170 million in new financial activity and at least 2,000 new jobs in the arts and hospitality industry are expected to be created by this project.

The most recent economic impact study prepared by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP reported that the economic impact of the arts on Dallas is more than $500 million. This, of course, did not include this additional economic boost.

All of North Texas will be the beneficiary of a performing arts complex, for which more than 90 percent of construction funds are being raised privately.

City leaders were visionaries when they created the concept of the Arts District more than a quarter-century ago. Their dream was to design a place where downtown business and the cultural arts could grow together.

As ground breaks for the performing arts center and construction cranes surround the area with new office, residential and retail development, that dream will be realized.

So, the celebration tomorrow isn't simply for the vibrant new arts venues that the performing arts center will bring. It is also for the bold way this city is revitalizing its central core and preparing for the future.

Roger Nanney is vice chairman and regional managing partner of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP and a member of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation board of directors. His e-mail address is rnanney@deloitte.com.