Someone’s Watching You: Mike Rawlings’ Plan to Make Downtown Dallas The Envy of All Texas

Tony Tasset's "Eyeball" going up across from The Joule. (Photo by Jeanne Prejean)
Tony Tasset’s “Eye,” as it was going up in September across from The Joule. (Photo by Jeanne Prejean)

The Great Gatsby‘s valley of ashes had the Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. Now Mayor Mike Rawlings apparently wants downtown Dallas to become known for the spirit of Tony Tasset’s Eye sculpture.

Rawlings, it seems, thinks upping its “cool index” could propel downtown to another level. So he wants the area to get organized and get funky and make the rest of Texas sit up and take notice. Delivering his “State of Downtown” address at a luncheon today at the Omni Dallas Hotel for Downtown Dallas Inc., Rawlings cited Tasset’s 30-foot-tall sculpture, installed across from The Joule hotel, as a model of aspirational coolness.

“You want to work near that eyeball!” the mayor enthused. “Imagine if we had that throughout downtown. Guys, I’m as serious as a heart attack. Let’s … make downtown the coolest, most artistic, most fun place around.” For example, downtown residents could “get funky … with Christmas lights,” he went on, in to order to attract the attention and envy of people “who live in the boring parts of town, like where I live.” Rawlings suggested that a “change team,” like one he had while running Pizza Hut, could be organized to drive this “new spirit” in an organic way. The team might consist of 30 or 40 people. He’ll be happy to coach.


  • Anonymous

    Really, Mike? Christmas lights will make people think downtown is cool? Tell us what other cool ideas are in that brain. We must know.

    • Steve Hunter

      Sarcastic AND anonymous? That brings a lot to the table. I’m glad we have a Mayor that’s trying to be positive.

  • Heart Surgeon

    Rawlings is not running for Mayor again, and I would like to know if Mayor-elect Griggs thinks we should be spending so much money in one neighborhood. I am also serious as a heart attack.

    • Steve Hunter

      Downtown has been chronically underfunded for decades. Why should Dallas not have a vibrant Downtown like every other major city in Texas?

  • Greg

    First of all, one thing you don’t do if you want Dallas to be the funky, cool place you want it to be, Mike, is tear down (or allow First Baptist Dallas to tear down) all the old buildings in the city only to put up more (MORE) expensive condos that remain half empty. They remain half empty, by the way, because no one wants to live in a downtown that shuts down at 5pm. The only things open downtown after 5, are the douchiest night clubs in Texas. Also, one of the perks of living in a great downtown in a big city… public transportation. If you guys would treat DART as a “build it… and they will come” project, the city stands a chance at having an amazing downtown. But not until DART gets useable bus routes, and that damn train gets its ass under ground, and spreads out more.

    No one worth anything will pay downtown Chicago prices to live with downtown Dallas amenities.

  • tested

    I admire the mayor for wanting to do something to make downtown cool. Christmas light are a good starting place. But can we get these politicians a better hyperbole handbook? “Serious as a heart attack” is just stupid and offensive.

  • Brian

    I dont think you know what you are talking about. Average occupancy in downtown is 94% which is above the rate of Dallas as a whole. Tons of reasons why people can get better value on residential than Uptown.

  • Steve Hunter

    I’m all about more art Downtown. I’ve been working on community-murals/mosaics/art classes Downtown for years now, and i’d love to be part of a team that brings more public art and murals to Downtown.