Jim Lob: The Allure of Dallas—A Visitor’s Perspective

Jim Lob

We’re into triple-digit temperatures again. And it’s humid. And the time it took for me to get from the west side of the Tollway to just past Central Expressway recently during the  morning commute along Northwest Highway made me want to strangle someone. Add that to the fact that my family and I just got back from a spectacular Colorado trip (including three days in Boulder). All of it made me wonder, “Why do we like it here so much? What keeps us here in Dallas?”

Then a lifelong buddy came to town and stayed with us for a weekend visit. He is well educated (SMU Law and much smarter than me!), works for a sophisticated financial services firm based in New York, and has lived in a number of major U.S. cities. Because he had not seen the latest version of Dallas, we decided to do a tour of the city. And boy, did his comments wake me up and remind me how lucky we are.

He was amazed at what our community has accomplished, despite the tough economic times, including:

• seeing for the first time the ongoing efforts to create a world class, thriving Arts District.

• the steady progress that has taken place in creating a “livable” central core, with lofts, high-rises, building conversions, restaurants, and retail in the central business district.

• the “still” incredibly affordable housing of every level and type (from that downtown core to suburbs stretching north for families for miles).

• the solid Midwestern-type values and healthy, safe  places to raise our kids.

• the George W. Bush library and SMU’s ongoing expansion—the soon to be North Texas Law School  downtown.

• sports owners with huge egos and huge drives to produce winners (i.e.,  Rangers’ in the World Series, Mavs 2011 NBA champs, “Jerry World,” etc.).

• the expansion of every major freeway and the DART Lines.

Underlying it all, as he put it, is the “so-real-you-can-almost-touch-and-feel-it attitude of, ‘We can do anything we set out to do in Dallas, Texas!’ ” More so than Chicago or NYC? In his mind, absolutely. Dallas is as entrepreneurial as it gets, according to him.

So how do you put a dollar value or emotional fulfillment quotient on that?

You can’t.

So what does all of this have to do with commercial real estate?

Everything.

People go where they feel good. People invest where they can understand the rules of the game. Executives move companies where their employees are happy.

We are blessed.

As senior vice president of UGL Services, Jim Lob co-manages the firm’s brokerage operations in Dallas. He specializes in large corporate headquarters relocations and build-to-suit projects. Contact him at [email protected]

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