The state bird—the steel crane—proudly flies high on the Dallas skyline once again. Dirt is flying on commercial developments and public works projects in every corner of North Texas after three years of dormancy. But that’s not where all the digging is going on! Over the next few months, local commercial real estate pros will be digging up historical facts, pop culture, info on the arts, significant factoids about many of our buildings, and other interesting data within the Dallas central business district. The goal is to ultimately create a walking trail of interest that connects different areas of the CBD.
Boston has its Freedom trail, right? So why not something similar in Dallas? With the flow of conventioneers and tourists now flocking to the Arts District and West End entertainment District, it only makes perfect sense to enhance the visitor’s experience when they visit downtown.
The epiphany came a few months back while working on assignment with a tenant looking to expand their business in the CBD. It was a Chamber of Commerce day and we decided to walk the tour rather than drive to each of the prospective buildings. As we crossed Pearl Street and headed down Bryan Street to our first appointment, I pointed out Cancer Survivors Park. I didn’t tell my client that I had never visited the park, and I was profoundly moved when he asked if he could stop for a minute and say a prayer for a relative that recently passed away. I immediately thought that this is what a pedestrian-friendly city is all about. Wow!
We continued on to our first appointment at Bryan Tower where the agent, after giving a professional elevator pitch, asked me a question that stumped me. He asked what famous gunfighter had a dentist office on the site back in the 1870s—and he wasn’t kidding! After a minute or so I said “uncle,” and the agent revealed that it was Doc Holliday. That’s right—Wyatt Earp’s old buddy, famous for his involvement in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, had an office on the site in 1873. I couldn’t believe it, but it is true!
A few weeks later I traveled back to the building, where I found a long-forgotten plaque that corroborated the agent’s story. In fact, the plaque went on to say that the building’s site was located at the edge of Dallas’s first Red Light District, known as “Scream Town.” My mind was immediately flooded with other questions about downtown, and I wondered what other hidden treasures exist that have been lost to progress and time.
At that moment I endeavored to round up young and passionate real estate professionals to help uncover the forgotten treasures of our city. We held our initial forage this past weekend, with Skyler Baty of Merriman Associates Architects Inc. helping to round up 25 young professionals to participate. The “Urban Armadillos” had a great time, digging up historical factoids, pop culture nuggets, and other interesting CBD tidbits. Hope you can join us on the next hunt!