Making exceptional deals for Dallas

Major economic development deals will ensure Dallas remains the premier city in the American southwest.

The following was adapted from my email newsletter. To sign up, visit MayorofDallas.org.

These are challenging financial times for many families.

Gas prices are hitting record highs. Mortgage interest rates have jumped significantly. Airfares have skyrocketed just in time for summer travel. Inflation and the prices of goods are continuing to climb. Your 401ks are likely falling (free advice: don’t check it if you don’t have to).

Even with incredibly low unemployment across the country, your family is likely feeling the financial squeeze. Paychecks simply aren’t going as far as they did last year. Worries about the future are constant and seemingly unavoidable. COVID-19 is still spreading. Your long-awaited vacation plans might have been scaled back or scrapped.

What was supposed to be a summer of fun for many families is turning into a summer of belt-tightening and anxiety.

But even with everything happening at the federal level and across the world, there’s a silver lining: if you live in Dallas, you’re in a great place. Today and in the years to come.

Dallas is the engine of the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States. And this city is racking up some enormous wins.

Last week alone, the Dallas City Council approved some huge economic development deals and new policies aimed at growing the city in the years ahead.

First, Goldman Sachs has made a massive commitment to Dallas. With the help of an economic incentive deal awarded by the Dallas City Council, the global financial giant will bring 5,000 good-paying jobs (at least $90,000 annually) to a new office tower that will be built in the city center near Victory Park. The minimum required capital investment in the construction is a whopping $390 million.

This will make Dallas a major hub for Goldman Sachs for years to come.

Click here to read the story

As part of the deal, Goldman Sachs is also committing to partnering with Dallas College, the University of North Texas at Dallas, and Paul Quinn College on workforce development programs. And the office tower project will have a goal of 32% minority-and-women-owned business contract participation.

Second, new development is also coming to southern Dallas. The Dallas City Council approved a tax-increment financing plan to help provide the infrastructure for the first phase of the University Hills development near the University of North Texas at Dallas and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Blue Line station there. This development will mean more office space, retail options, and hundreds of new single-family homes and apartments.

Third, the Dallas City Council also unanimously approved zoning changes that will facilitate the construction of a new Four Seasons development in the Turtle Creek area. This $750 million luxury hotel and condo tower development is another tremendous economic win for Dallas — and it brings another iconic global brand to the city center.

Click here to read the story.

Fourth, a $400 million development — called Newpark — is coming to downtown Dallas in the area near the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas City Hall, and the Cedars. This 38-story mixed-use development will help transform an area that has been defined by surface parking lots and a lack of vision.

Click here to read the story.

These are the kinds of game-changing deals that Dallas needs to compete regionally, nationally, and internationally. In total, these projects will mean billions of dollars of new development in Dallas. They mean thousands upon thousands of new jobs. They mean a much larger tax base that can pay for critical city services, thereby reducing the tax burden on existing residents and businesses. They mean more economic vibrancy that is sure to have spillover benefits and catalytic impact in the future. And they mean dense, walkable urban development — headlined by marquee global businesses — that will help Dallas meet its full potential as the premier city in the American southwest.

A path forward

Speaking of deals, as you likely have seen, the city manager and I have agreed to a path forward. You can read the joint statement here.

Here is the bottom line: you deserve the best city government possible. You deserve to live in a city that is safe, a city that provides opportunity, and a city that delivers on basic services. That’s what everything over the past two weeks was ultimately about, despite any noise to the contrary.

And now, after some serious and frank discussions with the city manager, he has assured me that he is ready to make the necessary changes to address issues that are critically important to Dallas residents.

Here is a look at some of the key deal points in the agreement:

  • Permitting: This has been a significant issue. The city manager will develop a clear action plan for fixing the city’s development services backlogs and delays on an expedited timeline. The plan will incorporate feedback from builders and developers and focus on improving the customer experience. It will also focus on both short-term triage and systemic change that will ensure smoother operations in the future.
  • Public safety: The agreed-upon goal is to work together to make Dallas the safest major city in the United States. The city manager is committing to active and timely meet-and-confer negotiations with police and firefighters. The city manager will also collaborate on improving community-based public safety initiatives such as violence interruption services, blight remediation, and lighting improvements in high-crime areas.
  • 911 call center: The city manager will continue to make improvements to the 911 call center to ensure reliable, efficient, and high-quality service and public safety for residents.
  • Focus on high-priority issues: The city manager will work collaboratively to address top citywide issues, such as enhancing the city’s international stature, continuing to develop an Economic Development Corporation that puts the City of Dallas’ economic interests first, and passing and implementing policy priorities given to Dallas City Council committees.
  • Communication: The city manager will enhance communication about progress on high-priority issues. The city manager will also develop a protocol for surfacing problems for Dallas City Council discussions, input, and feedback. The city manager is also committing to promoting citywide initiatives such as the “Summer of Safety” campaign (more on this below).

The discussions have also focused on the need to address other crucial issues, such as the city’s technological infrastructure, the concerns of Dallas firefighters, and the city government’s need to attract and retain top talent.

These issues are vital to making the city a better place for everyone. The city manager has now made clear he understands what is at stake — and that he knows he is accountable and responsible for implementing the agenda of the people of Dallas.

He also understands, more clearly than ever before, that I will always be willing to go to the mat for the people of this great city. That will never change.

Dallas is a beacon of hope and opportunity — a place that gives people a chance to improve their lives and the lives of their families. And it is my job to make sure that city government never stands in their way. That’s why this deal came together.

So now, it’s time to move forward — relentlessly — on your behalf.

Summer of Safety

Finally, it’s worth saying again that these wins won’t continue if Dallas isn’t safe. That’s why it’s so critical that public safety continues to be the top priority.

Click here to read the story.

The Dallas Police Department plays a vital role in helping to keep people safe. And it’s crucial that the city continues to hire more police officers to help reduce response times.

But this isn’t just a law enforcement problem to solve. Public safety is everyone’s responsibility.

That’s why the Summer of Safety campaign is so important. This is a collaborative effort to reduce crime in Dallas by encouraging community involvement, volunteerism, and engagement with the city’s summer activities for young people.

Hundreds of minors are arrested for violent crime in Dallas every year. Keeping them safe and busy while they’re out of school is paramount to making the city safer and to providing them with opportunities to learn and grow.

You can be part of the solution by taking the Safe Summer Pledge. Follow the link and sign up now.

Thanks for all that you do for this city. Thanks for reading. And have a great week.

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Mayor Eric Johnson

Mayor Eric Johnson

Official account of Eric Johnson, the 60th mayor of Dallas, Texas.