Downtown Dallas is a busy place, thanks to new developments


The biggest surprise about moving across downtown is seeing the number of people on the streets.

The Dallas Morning News’ new offices on Commerce Street face Main Street Garden Park and are a block from the University of North Texas’ downtown campus.

When it’s not pouring rain like this week, the sidewalks are busy with folks coming and going from office buildings, heading to lunch spots or stopping at stores to shop.

Back in the 1990s, when I started writing about the decline downtown, there were more pigeons than pedestrians on Main, Commence and Elm streets.

Twenty years of redevelopment have transformed Dallas’ central business district, and you can easily see it.

“In the last 24 months, the street scene downtown has really changed,” said Jim Truitt, senior vice president with Forest City Realty, which redeveloped the Mercantile block on Main Street into housing and retail. “There aren’t as many vacant storefronts.

“There are a lot of terrific entrepreneurs doing things down here. We have 2,000 new hotel rooms open downtown, and that’s making a difference, too.”

New restaurants, retail and hotels should help to lure office tenants downtown.

In the last few years, several major downtown employers — mostly law firms — hightailed it to new towers in Uptown.

But with office rents in downtown Dallas now $10 to $20 cheaper than in Uptown, landlords are hoping to get a fresh look from relocating tenants.

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