City of Dallas Job Opportunity: Chief Innovation Officer



This position is responsible for managing the innovation process within the City of Dallas and providing the necessary ecosystem that allows ideas to germinate, take root and flourish.  It works closely with the City Manager’s Office as a management consultant to City departments to develop and inspire the development and implementation of data-driven best practices in municipal government and foster a culture of innovation, efficiency, and process improvement. The City of Dallas is focused on identifying and scaling creative ideas that work throughout the City organization and implementing solutions in partnership with internal and external stakeholders. This strategic and forward-thinking individual will be a catalyst for change throughout City Hall and have the freedom to move nimbly within the organization to identify opportunities for improvement and adapt or implement creative, data-driven, comprehensive solutions to traditional problems, both technological and operational, and drive the organization towards innovative solutions. 


 (These are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work performed. The omission of specific duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.)

§ Formulate and implement effective new ideas and innovative strategies and incorporate them into the City’s plans; 

§ Research and analyze trends in local government to forecast future changes in practices, processes, and programs; explore and import innovations from other communities for testing where they may be applicable;

§ Utilize quantitative and research methods to identify opportunities for improvement in operations and services throughout the City of Dallas.  Analyze and research a variety of administrative and operational issues/problems/opportunities and provide sound solutions or courses of action; establish and maintain systems for measuring, monitoring and reporting on operational and management performance Citywide; 

§ Formulate solutions and provide implementation alternatives to various governmental systems, processes, and service delivery models and deliver recommendations to the City Council, City Manager's Office, Departments, and outside agencies;

§ Evaluate the progress of innovation and adjust the pace or direction of new projects in accordance with the City’s various strategic priorities;

§ Work in coordination with Executive Leadership Team to implement the Dallas 365: Performance Management Program and provide quarterly reports to the City Council on city services performance outcomes;

§ Provide citywide oversight of metrics and data analytics to facilitate strategic utilization of data; 

§ Lead the implementation of the City of Dallas smart city framework into government operations;

§ Work in coordination with the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Government Affairs to monitor and pursue grants (i.e., local, state, federal, private) to add innovative capacity to City operations;

§ Forge partnerships with local community groups, companies, universities and school systems that can support the research and development of innovative solutions; 

§ Work in partnership with the Chief Information Officer on identification, development, and testing of civic technologies and projects that advance the City’s Open Government mission; ensure a forward-thinking, cohesive, and strategic approach to technology in support ofall municipal business units;

§ Represent the City and serves as liaison and convener with other local, state and federal agencies and related NGOs to align community innovation with broader regional and national programs;

§ Lead multi-functional, cross-departmental teams that may consist of employees from all levels of the organization;  

§ Select, motivate, develop, manage, and evaluate staff; 

§ Develop and equip managers in their role as change agents and leaders of innovation in their respective departments;

§ Perform highly responsible and complex administrative work related to planning and managing the activities of assigned departments and units; develop short- and long-range plans, goals, and objectives with clear objectives, outcomes, and performance measures; 

§ Advise City management and the City Council on the effective, efficient, and economical management of the areas of assignment; submitting reports; monitoring grant opportunities (i.e., local, state, federal, private) to add innovative capacity to City operations;  

§ Oversee the development, preparation, and administration of budgets;

2018-2019 PRIORITIES:

§ Transition the organization to a more innovative and tactical environment to become a partner in the external entrepreneurial process;

§ Instill a culture of innovation, professionalism and continuous improvement in the City organization, and develop a more adaptive and dynamic organization receptive to new ideas and operational enhancements;

§ Serve as a consultant and facilitator for City employees, local businesses, and organizations seeking to develop new solutions to civic challenges and city-wide systemic issues; 


Ability to Envision and Communicate the Future: 

§  Have a well-developed analytical and predictive sense based on previous experience and thorough review of current and historical facts.  

§  Able to see where the organization might be going, anticipate future needs, formulate non-traditional approaches and solutions to problems, and be able to communicate the opportunity associated with these solutions.

§  Able to communicate the vision of the future state in a manner that would resonate with others within the organization. Skilled at explaining the process by which conclusions and roadmaps are developed and how the organization might implement and rip the benefits of the new state. 

Ability to Drive Ideas and Action Around a Common Vision: 

§  Have the skill and knowledge to drive ideas and actions and to turn vision and creativity into reality. 

§  Able to ideate, plan, prototype, launch, and implement solutions in a team environment, taking advantage of the organization’s strengths. 

Ability to Anticipate, Identify, and Counteract Resistance to Innovation: 

§  Must be able to address organizational dynamics, systems, and processes that may stand in the way of innovation and positive change.

§  Must be flexible, resilient, and adaptable to changing priorities;

Data Analysis, Governance, and Inventorying Skills: 

§  Capable of developing cross-organizational programs, processes, and initiatives for data collection, inventorying and analysis.

§ Ability to apply mathematical and statistical methods to organizational studies; 


Strategic Insight and Ability: 

§  Ability to plan, design, implement, evaluate and coordinate delivery of services, determine and implement appropriate changes and improvements to ensure effective, cost-efficient solutions.

§ Experience in policy analysis, strategic thinking, policy development, and public process facilitation;

§  Able to assemble and lead a diverse team that blends analytical, deductive reasoning with creative thought and foresight.

Collaboration, Negotiation, and Influencing Skills: 

§  Able to analyze complex organizational structures and functional internal and external relationships; 

§  Demonstrated skill and experience at prioritizing and building connections, both within a complex organization and with other organizations.

§  Able to influence stakeholders and gather support for initiatives, based on a track record of previous successful innovations and experiences that inspire buy-in from the organization’s leaders and support for a common vision.

§  Able to work across the organization and the City Manager to facilitate an improved culture of innovation, accessibility, efficiency, and accountability; understand how to foster openness and transparency to drive collaborative change and create the best possible environment for innovation by tapping into all relevant stakeholders and available resources.

§ Able to work in a collaborative manner with City departments to foster high-performing project teams dedicated to achieving innovative and inspiring results; 

§ Able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with City staff, other government officials, community groups, the general public, and media representatives; 

§ Be comfortable dealing with an engaged public in a highly visible environment.

§ Inspire, manage and collaborate with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders at all levels;

§  Ability to identify and respond to community and City Council issues, concerns and needs promptly;

§  Ability to be flexible, resilient and adaptable to changing priorities;

Communication Skills:

§  Ability to write clear and concise reports; 

§  Ability to prepare and deliver effective presentations for individuals and groups;


Any combination of training, education, and experience equivalent to graduation from an accredited college, or university with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Business Administration, Information Technology or a related field.  This position requires a minimum of 8 years’ experience in one or more of the following types of organizations: (a) a private sector firm with a culture committed to performance improvement measures and best practices; (b) a management consulting firm dealing with organizational efficiencies, cost-saving analysis, and performance enhancements; or (c) a forward-thinking government entity that has embraced change management and innovative techniques. Ideal candidates will also present progressively responsible managerial, supervisory experience with major emphasis on strategic program development and business model development and change leadership. 

A comparable amount of training and experience may be substituted for the minimum qualifications.

How to Apply

Interested qualified candidates must submit an application online via NeoGov at:

Applications must be complete, including previous salary history and (3) required references.  A resume and letter of interest are recommended.  Application must be submitted by the deadline noted on the application submission site.

Note:  Under the Texas Public Information Act, information from your resume may be subject to public disclosure. 




Innovative Solutions Addressing Traffic, Parking, Conservation, Connectivity and Mobility to Launch in Dallas



Innovative Solutions Addressing Traffic, Parking, Conservation, Connectivity and Mobility to Launch in Dallas

Dallas Innovation Alliance Begins Second Phase of Smart Cities Living Lab. Second Quarter of Living Lab Results Show Potential for Tens of Millions in Savings to City of Dallas

DALLAS, Texas –  January 23, 2018 – Dallas is not just growing fast, it’s also becoming a ‘smarter’ city.  Six new programs designed to improve access, increase conservation, bridge the digital divide, and navigate through the city more easily will soon be integrated into the “Living Lab”, a corridor in the West End Historic District in Downtown Dallas.

The effort is led by The Dallas Innovation Alliance, a non-profit that brings the public and private sector together to design and execute a smart city strategy for Dallas. Smart cities use technology, data and community initiatives to increase economic development, resource efficiency and improve quality of life.

Projects announced today include:

·       Smart irrigation offering smart controllers that utilize weather data to improve water conservation and leak detection, at Dealey Plaza from partner HydroPoint Data Systems;

·       Smart water management, including metering to provide more granular interval data for customer conservation, as well as leak and tamper detection via water analytics dashboards from Itron;

·       Smart parking efforts with utilization, traffic flow and spot availability from Dallas startup ParkHub;

·       AT&T Smart Cities Digital Infrastructure powered by City IQ by Current delivering nodes with initial applications that will include “TrafficPulse,” “ParkingView” and “CitySight,” respectively;

·       Public Wi-Fi in the Living Lab led by the City of Dallas and powered by AT&T, Cisco, Nokia and Scientel; and a

·       Mobility initiative with Toyota Motor North America in South Dallas, currently in the research phase.

“It is only through key partnerships and the vision of the City of Dallas that we have been able to build the most robust and fastest-to-market smart city pilot in the country here in Dallas,” commented Jennifer Sanders, executive director, Dallas Innovation Alliance. “With the launch of this second phase of projects in the West End, Living Lab data will grow more robust and provide even better insights  as we look to scale more broadly across the city.”

The Dallas Innovation Alliance Smart Cities Living Lab powered by AT&T launched in March 2017, and today works with more than 20 city departments and 30 partner organizations to create solutions to benefit the people of Dallas.

“Ultimately, a smart city works to solve city problems, conserve resources and create an inclusive and prosperous city; the technology itself is not enough without measurable insights provided by data,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “The work of AT&T and the Dallas Innovation Alliance in building a Living Lab has provided a great platform to test and share results of projects that could broadly impact Dallas for the benefit of our citizens. We look forward to continued progress in creating a truly smart city for all of Dallas.”

“Investing in smart cities technology is a commitment to address the needs of citizens today and in the future,” said Mike Zeto, general manager, AT&T Smart Cities. “The City of Dallas is doing important work, testing solutions that can lead to improved public safety, citizen engagement and environmental sustainability.  Key learnings from the Living Lab will prove invaluable as we work to scale these types of solutions to more cities across the country.”

The Dallas Innovation Alliance currently is working with leadership within the City of Dallas and Dallas County, as well as civic, academic and private sector partners to design additional projects for launch in 2018. This includes a mobility initiative in South Dallas in partnership with Toyota Motor North America.   

“By creatively combining our know-how and resources and partnering with others, we can tackle problems that affect people’s ability to fulfill their potential and move in the world,” said Ryan Klem, who leads mobility programs for the Social Innovation team at Toyota Motor North America. “Together with Dallas Innovation Alliance, we look forward to deploying a mobility solution that helps improve quality of life for those in need in South Dallas.”

Initiatives announced today build on current projects including intelligent LED street lighting from GE and Philips, solar-powered environmental sensors from Ericsson,  the Interactive Digital WayPoint kiosk from CIVIQ Smartscapes and pedestrian beacons from EB Systems.

Selected results for projects underway include:

·       Local West End businesses are utilizing data on foot traffic to best match marketing and operational investments to capture additional business. Revenue grew 16.9 percent year-over-year, and customer traffic data has shown nearly a 7 percent increase;

·       Decreases in crime are often seen as a result of factors including an increasing residential population, business activity and improved lighting. In the West End, crime has decreased 6 percent year over year [2016 vs. 2017]; and crime in December 2017 was down 27 percent from the same period in 2016;

·       The strongest example of operational savings and return on investment from the Pilot has been the Intelligent Streetlight Project, which saved 873 kW Hours in Q2 based upon installation of 23 lights in the Living Lab.  Extrapolating these small-scale results to the full network of 85,000 streetlights in the city show a potential for millions of kW hours of energy saved annually on a citywide basis.

·       This Living Lab experience appears to show that replacing legacy lights with LED bulbs across the entire city network could save tens of millions of dollars over 10 years, which is a conservative life assumption for LED bulbs. The DIA is working closely with the City and Oncor to refine these calculations by focusing on specific factors, including capital and installation costs, O&M cost and labor parameters and to quantify additional operational efficiencies resulting from the intelligent controls system. The DIA appreciates the outstanding input from the front-line experts at the City, as well as our partners, who made this test and these findings possible.

Full second quarter results will be available this week on the Dallas Innovation Alliance website, at

About the Dallas Innovation Alliance

The Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA) is a 501c3 public-private partnership dedicated to the design and execution of a smart cities plan for the City of Dallas, which integrates social, data and technology initiatives to accelerate economic growth, resource efficiency, and most importantly, improve quality of life for citizens. DIA is supported by an outstanding group of Partners, including: 2017-18 Organizational Partners AT&T and Toyota Motor North America; Pivotal Partner Cisco, Lead Partners Current, Powered by GE and Gardere; Partners AECOM, Granite Properties and Universal Mind; and Lead Community Partner United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Members of the Dallas Innovation Alliance include: City of Dallas, Dallas County, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Visit Dallas, Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), Dallas Regional Chamber, Downtown Dallas Inc., The Real Estate Council (TREC), Texas Research Alliance, CIVIQ Smartscapes, Deloitte, EB Systems, entegra Technologies, Ericsson, IBM, Microsoft, ParkHub, Philips and Schneider Electric. 



BBC Wires | January 10, 2018

LAS VEGAS — AT&T is currently testing a new structure monitoring solution that will help improve the safety of roadways and railways as part of its effort to continue developing and delivering Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to help make our cities and communities smarter, safer and more efficient.

This comes in addition to the company’s smart cities work with several U.S. spotlight cities and its recently launched digital infrastructure solution.

Remote Monitoring of Roads and Railways
U.S. infrastructure is aging and in disrepair. Almost half of U.S. bridges are more than 50 years old. Organizations normally rely on visual inspections to assess the state of roadways and railways. Since many are in remote locations, it is difficult to regularly assess. And many of the remote monitoring alternatives use older technology solutions that are bulky and not suited for the long-term.

AT&T is set to deliver a solution so teams can monitor structural and environmental factors remotely in near real time.

“Safety is a top concern of citizens and cities alike. This concern extends beyond the realm of crime and natural disasters. It also includes the safety of our infrastructure,” said Mike Zeto, general manager, AT&T Smart Cities. “We’re pleased to test this solution, which will allow for smart infrastructure analysis and monitoring.

With AT&T Smart Cities Structure Monitoring, selected infrastructure will receive AT&T LTE-enabled sensors to remotely monitor structural factors. The sensors, which measure things like cracks and tilts, also feature alert triggers and email alerts to capture significant events.

How will this benefit organizations and the community?

  • Help improve safety and planning.
  • Fewer manual inspections can lower operational costs.
  • Organizations can monitor structures in near real time using the internet. All they need is a web-enabled device.

The company’s new AT&T Smart Cities Structure Monitoring product will join its growing Smart Cities solutions suite which includes AT&T Smart Cities Digital Infrastructure, AT&T Smart Irrigation, AT&T Smart Cities Operations Center, AT&T Smart Grid – Solar Solution and AT&T Smart Grid Solutions – Prepay Energy.

An AT&T Smart Cities Update
AT&T launched its Smart Cities organization in the fall of 2015. Since then, the company has worked closely with cities and their citizens to better understand key challenges and help them create impactful solutions. AT&T has formed strategic alliances with technology companies, the developer community and other leading organizations. An example of this collaboration is its spotlight city program, an  initiative that tests AT&T’s smart cities framework in select cities and municipalities across the country.

Atlanta: The City of Atlanta was one of the first cities to join AT&T’s spotlight city program. The company’s close collaboration with city leaders is helping to bring Atlanta’s smart cities vision to life. Utilizing AT&T Digital Infrastructure with Current, powered by GE’s CityIQTM, AT&T is working with the local utility to transform the city’s existing lighting infrastructure into a sensor-enabled data network that will accelerate the digital era of urban development. To date, two hundred sensors have been added to previously installed LED streetlights encompassing key areas in the city. The sensors will help Atlanta address issues such as traffic flow, parking optimization and gunshot detection, and create a platform for citizen engagement. We are also part of a broader effort to help the city strategically address road safety challenges as part of their Smart Corridor project. From innovative programs like the Atlanta Civic Coding Competition to our work with the IoT.ATL initiative, our commitment to helping Atlanta become one of the first true smart cities remains strong.

Dallas: We teamed with the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA) and other technology leaders in the city to create a living lab. The solution addresses key challenges like sustainability and parking. To make the city’s historic West End more sustainable, the city installed 22 new smart lighting solutions using connected LED and intelligent controls. The new lighting used 35% less energy in its first 90 days.

“A smart city works to solve city problems, conserve resources and create an inclusive and prosperous city. The technology itself isn’t enough without measurable insights that come from data,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “The Living Lab from AT&T and the Dallas Innovation Alliance provides a great platform to test and share results of projects that could positively impact Dallas citizens. We look forward to continued progress in creating a truly smart city for all of Dallas.”

The second phase of the DIA Smart Cities Living Lab powered by AT&T will launch later this month. For details, go to

Montgomery County: Montgomery County Maryland has a large commuter population. Together with some of our strategic alliance members, we worked with them to enhance ridership through the use of technology, such as informing the public about transit time delays in real-time and improving the riders’ experience. To address these issues, Wi-Fi was installed on targeted buses and bus shelters. Early research suggests the county will see increased ridership.

Mexico: Mexico City’s Ministry of Economic Development (SEDECO) recently signed an agreement with AT&T to run an Internet of Things (IoT) market pilot. This initiative, part of SEDECO’s “Program to Promote and Improve Public Markets in Mexico City,” reaffirms their interest in Smart Cities projects that are designed to promote sustainable development and effective management by using technology and connectivity.

To learn more about AT&T Smart Cities, go to

Smart Cities Dive: Dallas partners with Ericsson for smart traffic solutions system


Dallas partners with Ericsson for smart traffic solutions system

Dive Brief:

  • The City of Dallas selected Stockholm-based communications technology company Ericsson to install and host an Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), based on the company's Connected Urban Transport solution. The system will include a central dashboard for monitoring, key performance indicators to track goals and a degree of automation, where systems can trigger or notify each other when certain conditions are met.
  • With the system, city officials will be able to monitor real-time data from traffic sensors and cameras, and also control traffic lights, school flashers and message signs. Some intersections will come equipped with cameras and sensors that automatically dial 911 and allow dispatchers to select an appropriate response, according to the Dallas Business Journal.
  • Ericsson started implementing the system at the end of 2017 and plans for the system to be operational by 2020, according to ZDNet.

Dive Insight:

In addition to synchronizing traffic signals and automating emergency response to accidents, the Ericsson system would allow Dallas to share data with adjoining cities to improve traffic conditions in the entire region. Implementing the technology on existing roads and at intersections is likely to be a much cheaper — and quicker — process than adding lanes to existing roads or other similar physical infrastructure projects would be.

Congestion has been a long-term struggle in the city, and the Dallas Innovation Alliance is already working in the West End to improve multi-modal transit and accessibility. Logistics companies list traffic congestion as one of their top concerns and traffic has been shown to cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars each year — and $2.9 billion in Dallas alone.

In Pittsburgh, an AI system that allowed traffic lights to adapt to traffic conditions was shown to reduce travel time by 25%, braking by 30% and idling by more than 40% — and that was only in a pilot area. Given that Dallas is implementing a system in a wider swath of the city, and that the Ericsson system allows for automation and dynamic, real-time intervention, the city seems well-positioned to implement a system that makes traffic smarter and increases mobility for many of its residents. 

D Magazine: The End of the West End As You’ve Known It

The End of the West End As You’ve Known It

Julia Bunch, D Magazine | January 2018

In July 2015, the West End Marketplace—a former cracker and candy factory turned shopping mall and movie theater turned eyesore in Dallas’ West End Historic District—had sat empty for a decade. When the property came up for sale, it caught interest from local investors who came out to kick the tires. But it was a tough sell. The property had great bones, sat in one of Dallas’ few truly walkable neighborhoods, and had a compelling history. But historic renovations like West End Marketplace present a lot of unknowns. To make the deal pencil, the new owner would need to get cozy with the city and historical organizations to capitalize on tax credits and incentives.

Then Granite Properties, a developer that was better known locally for its suburban office parks—such as Plano’s Granite Park and Addison’s Spectrum Center—purchased the property from ECOM Real Estate Management. And, within the next 18 months, most of the West End’s office properties also would trade hands, going from family-style ownership to institutional landlords who promised renovations, better property management—and steeper rents. “Every developer in town was looking for the next infill location,” Granite Properties CIO Bill Brown says. “If West End was ever going to be turned around, now was its time.”

For the last 120 years, the West End has been scarred by a number of people who underestimate the district, and helped by handfuls who see opportunity. As former owners like ECOM and Owen Hannay’s Five Smooth Stones began selling their properties, institutional landlords like Granite, Crescent Real Estate, Lincoln Property Co., and Spear Street Capital stepped forward. And now, as the first wave of the new ownership’s renovations come to fruition and new developments break ground, the next chapter of the storied district is unfolding. But not everyone is thrilled with the results.

Renewed Purpose

In the recent past, the West End had been a mix of mom-and-pop-style landlords who charged modest rents and kept buildings reasonably full, and neglected properties that sat in some form of transition or disrepair.


July 2015
Granite Properties purchases the West End Marketplace from ECOM.

December 2015
Spear Street Capital buys Landmark Center from Foundry Capital Partners and Argosy Real Estate.

Crescent Real Estate buys three properties—501 Elm, 211 Record, and 800 Jackson—from Five Smooth Stones.

March 2016
Crescent buys three more West End properties—208 Market St. and two parking lots—from Hannay.

December 2016
Lincoln Property Co. buys Market-Ross Place from ECOM.

September 2017
Crescent buys Corgan’s headquarters and adjacent land for an office development.

October 2017
Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum breaks ground.

November 2017
Granite reopens the former West End Marketplace as Factory Six03.

Crescent breaks ground on The Luminary office building.

Dallas residents approve a $1.05 billion bond, including funds for a new West End park.

Mesirow Financial buys 555 Ross Avenue apartments from Fairfield Residential.

When Granite entered the neighborhood, the West End—roughly bounded by Woodall Rodgers, Interstate 35, Lamar Street, and Jackson Street—wasn’t solely untapped potential, of course. Much of it had already been realized. Owners like Five Smooth Stones, longtime restaurants like The Palm, and newer innovators like the Dallas Entrepreneur Center had already become cheerleaders for one of the oldest districts in Dallas. Such stakeholders, primarily through the neighborhood advocacy group called the West End Association, were improving the neighborhood. But when Granite purchased the West End Marketplace with plans to redevelop it into an old-meets-new office space dubbed Factory Six03, the ears of every major landlord in town pricked up.

A few months later, in late 2015, Spear Street Capital, a national landlord known for owning and operating tech-related real estate, purchased Landmark Center at 1801 Lamar St.

Around the same time, Crescent and private equity firm Long Wharf Real Estate Partners snapped up Five Smooth Stones’ West End portfolio—which included 208 Market St., 800 Jackson St., 501 Elm St., 211 Record St., and two parking lots—in an off-market deal. More recently, Crescent bought 401 Houston St. and the adjacent parcel of land, on which it will construct an expansion of Corgan’s architecture firm and about 80,000 square feet of speculative office space in its new building called The Luminary. In December 2016, ECOM sold Market-Ross Place, the 1905-era three-building complex, to yet another well-known owner, Lincoln Property Co.

Each landlord claimed nearly identical reasons for buying. The neighborhood’s brick-and-timber real estate is arguably the most unique in the city, they knew. Every DART rail line runs through the West End Station. The walkable neighborhood has over a century of history. Adjoining neighborhoods, such as Victory Park and the Arts District, were going through renaissances of their own. The Dallas Holocaust Museum, the Sixth Floor Museum, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center keep a steady flow of tourists—over 7 million annually—coming to the West End.

Owen Hannay’s Five Smooth Stones bought the empty and dilapidated Awalt Building in November 2000.

But these landlords also saw a good business opportunity. “The previous owners were not putting a lot of capital into their buildings, not giving much [tenant improvements], and therefore weren’t pushing rates,” Granite COO and president Greg Fuller says. “We will put all the capital we need to into this building, and I think the Crescents and Lincolns saw that and felt they could do the same.”

Several of the new landlords who owned similar spaces in different cities knew creative-type tenants would pay a premium to office in such cool spaces. New owners could increase rents, after various upgrades to the building and improved property management, and still keep rates at a discount to Uptown. As a result, the exodus of previous landlords also meant the exit of many tenants unable or unwilling to pay higher rents.

Highs and Lows

Throughout the West End’s 120-year history, the neighborhood has slipped in and out of prominence, seeming to often take two steps forward and one step back.

In the early 1900s, the neighborhood became a thriving manufacturing hub, serving as a crown jewel for Dallas’ budding economy. On a November afternoon in 1963, President John F. Kennedy took some of his last breaths in the West End’s Dealey Plaza before being shot and rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital. The country’s mourning, however, brought a subsequent boost in tourism as people flocked to the Sixth Floor Museum and surrounding area. As tourism surged, many warehouses fell into disarray.

In 1975, the Dallas City Council, “concerned with the gradual decline and decay of the area,” unanimously approved plans to create the West End Historic District. Over the next decade, investors started staking claim on the neighborhood. Entertainment tenants like Planet Hollywood brought locals back to the West End, making it something of a tourist haven by day and a local watering hole by night. But by the end of the 1980s, many of the area’s most notorious bars and restaurants—like the drug-fueled Starck Club—had closed up shop. Around the same time, rowdy club goers, in part, caused the neighborhood to become known as unsafe, a label the West End Association has been trying to reconcile.

“If the West End was ever going to be turned around, now was its time.”


The FBI moved into Landmark Center on Lamar Street in 1980, making it one of the largest tenants in the neighborhood, with more than 130,000 square feet. But after the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, the agency moved into a more secluded division headquarters, citing “rigorous security standards needed for the 21st century.”

Ellen’s Southern Kitchen opened a 55-seat restaurant in 2012, and quickly reached capacity. By 2016, owner Joe Groves opened a bigger restaurant just across the street from Ellen’s original concept. A year later, and with only a month’s notice to longtime customers, The Palm, a 33-year restaurant veteran of the West End, closed its doors, citing safety concerns. When pressed, The Palm declined to disclose specific safety incidences, frustrating neighbors trying to combat the West End’s reputation as a dangerous spot, which had been caused in part by the number of homeless and panhandlers in the area.

In June 2016, Trey Bowles’ and Jennifer Sanders’ Dallas Innovation Alliance unveiled plans to create a “smart city living lab” within the West End, generating buzz from movers and shakers in the innovation space. Days later, the world watched in horror as the Dallas police shootings ended in a gun battle at the West End’s El Centro College, where the shooter was finally killed by a robot-delivered bomb.

Days apart from each other in fall 2017, Crescent’s The Luminary, and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, broke ground on new buildings. Further marking the West End’s upswing, Dallas residents voted yes in November to a $1.05 billion bond, effectively paving (or un-paving, as it were) the way for a park to be created in place of the parking lot between Market-Ross and Spaghetti Warehouse.

Realities of Progress

When Crescent bought 208 N. Market St., one of the larger buildings in its West End portfolio at 62,000 square feet, the rents were $17 per square foot, plus electric costs. Now, rents there range from $17 to $21 per square foot triple net, according to CoStar. (In triple net leases, a landlord’s property taxes, insurance, and maintenance are passed on to tenants.)

“We always thought rents were artificially low there, because owners were not investing in those buildings. But now that people are, you will see a significant increase in rent,” Granite’s Fuller says. “But there’s a significant increase in cost too, so it’s not like you’re making a killing.”

Artificially low or not, pushing up rents was not a priority of previous-generation West End owners like Hannay. “My primarily objective was to keep [the buildings] full,” Hannay says. “The new buyers believe they can move rents pretty significantly. They’ve got deeper pockets and can take time to get the best rate … I hope they get their asking price.”

Five Smooth Stones sold its West End portfolio, including the Awalt Building, to Crescent Real Estate in 2015 and 2016.

But that increase in cost varies widely by property. Granite took an empty building in disrepair, spent $77 million flipping it, and has been quoting leases at $35 per square foot, with a $8.26 Common Area Maintenance (CAM) expense that makes it the most expensive in the neighborhood—and a rival to some Uptown buildings. Other properties, such as 501 Elm St. and Landmark Center, were decently updated and occupied when they traded.

Several tenants have already exited the neighborhood, mainly blaming rising rents for their exodus. And Crescent Vice President Stephen Luik and Lincoln Property Executive Vice President Matt Craft agree that tenants will continue to leave, as more and more leases come up for renewal.
“[Previous to Crescent’s ownership,] you weren’t getting premium rents,” Luik says. “We noticed that issue, and thought we could come in and re-tenant the buildings. We did that with the understanding that we were going to lose customers, but we would backfill it.”

Co-working concept The Grove was one such tenant that moved out of the neighborhood after Crescent bought its building. Justin Nygren and Ken Janke opened The Grove in one of Hannay’s buildings in 2013. Like many landlords, Nygren saw the value in the neighborhood. “The West End is where the city started,” he says. “It has a pioneering and innovative spirit. We felt like we had an opportunity to tap back into that with The Grove.”

The Grove entered the neighborhood under Hannay’s objective to keep his buildings full, but closed up shop in August 2017, after Crescent bought the building. When The Grove closed after failing to come to a rental agreement with Crescent, Nygren said there was a spirit of frustration in the neighborhood, with a handful of tenants who had exited or planned to exit the West End because of rapidly rising rents.

Part of Crescent’s higher rents are due to expensive building systems that were updated, with the likes of new roofs and fire life systems, and on-site management and security, Luik says.

Lincoln is in a similar situation. “We don’t want to lose any [tenants], but people have to make financial decisions,” Craft says.

Lincoln has nearly doubled rents, according to CoStar, without yet starting several million dollars in planned renovations on the three-building office complex with ground-floor retail known as Market-Ross.

Regardless of owner, the West End struggled to maintain its approximate threshold of 170 tenants in 2016 and 2017. “Net absorption in the West End office market was basically zero in 2016 and is positive by 60,000 square feet so far” in 2017, as of mid-November, CoStar Senior Market Analyst David Kahn says. “Retail net absorption was around 10,000 square feet in 2016, but negligible in 2017.”

Rising Tide

As for reconciling the two perspectives—a business owner whose rent has just doubled, and a landlord who sees a business opportunity—Lincoln’s Craft says that is commonplace in an evolving submarket. He compares the office gentrification in the West End to Uptown a few years ago: “Some tenants paid, and others went up Central Expressway. That helped Central. I think it can be positive.”

From a business perspective, that’s true. As tenants leave the West End, the rest of downtown, the Cedars, and the Design District benefit.

And, that “rising tide lifts all boats” mentality is one the West End Association appreciates. As apartments bring in more residents, restaurants get more customers. As offices tighten up on security, the whole neighborhood gets safer. As Victory Park becomes a hot destination, that vivacity spills over Woodall Rogers.

“We don’t want to lose any [tenants], but people have to make financial decisions.”


But Crescent’s Luik, who is also president of the West End Association, admits the perception of the West End is lagging reality. “There’s still this perception that it’s not a vibrant district,” he says. “But if you talk to retailers, they’ll tell you their sales are as strong as they’ve [ever] been …”
It takes work to change perceptions, though. And the West End Association is doing the work. Luik details four distinct goals for his tenure as president of the WEA: Increase security, create and refine programming and events, better market the neighborhood, and light Market Street (to be reminiscent of Highland Park Village’s wrapped trees). The association has committees for each objective, and says it’s making progress on all four.

At Factory Six03, Granite scored a big win when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas leased about 30,000 square feet for its C1 Innovation lab. But leasing has otherwise been a little sluggish, because it’s tough to sell tenants on a space when it’s still under construction. “It has been such a war zone that it’s difficult to show the space and have people get it,” Granite’s Fuller says. That logic could be applied to the whole neighborhood: it’s hard to say just how much better the area has become until stakeholders have a little hindsight.

“I do see a renewed sense of purpose for the West End,” Fuller says. “But the proof will be when more occupants are down there.”


DIA Job Posting: Program Manager




Overall Description of Work:

The Program Coordinator (PC) will perform intermediate professional level work on a variety of projects that help move forward the Dallas Innovation Alliance mission. The employee will coordinate and support execution of smart city and community programs, principles, and practices. All work will be performed under the direct supervision of Executive Director Jennifer Sanders and Cofounder Trey Bowles. This is a great opportunity for a driven and motivated person to be a part of the early stages of the growth and success of the Dallas Innovation Alliance where they will play a key role in the strategy and implementation of the Smart Cities Living Lab pilot project taking place in Dallas’ West End Historic District.

Key Areas of Responsibilities:

·       Assist the organization in the overall coordination and administration of Dallas Innovation Alliance current projects in the Smart Cities Living Lab, as well as strategic planning for future projects.

·       Support data gathering and resulting analysis, measurement and reporting.

·       Assist the organization in events with coordination, communications, outreach, logistics, planning and execution.

·       Manage the implementation and ongoing maintenance of a database for contacts and network members. Ensure integration into website and social media output;

·       Support maintenance and updates of website and social media;

·       Support the planning and implementation of community, education, outreach and training events.

·       Performs applied research duties in support of programming;

·       Oversee, monitor and report grant related activities, including local and national foundations, state and federal grant opportunities. Ensure that the Executive Director is kept abreast of progress and key decision points;

·       Interface with key local, national and global partners who are a part of the Dallas Innovation Alliance membership network; and

·       Other duties may include database entry and administrative tasks.

Qualifications and Requirements:

·       3-5 years of related project management or organizational experience preferred;

·       Bachelor’s Degree preferred, but not required;

·       Excellent organizational skills combined with the ability to work well under pressure;

·       Strong time management skills with the ability to prioritize work and meet deadlines;

·       Proven ability to execute and meet deliverables and timelines;

·       Excellent communication and writing skills;

·       Self-motivated, creative, self-directed, and responsible;

·       Comfortable multi-tasking, as well as working independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment;

·       Strong, proven project management skills;

·       Ability to support several small to medium-sized projects in addition to working on long-term projects;

·       Experience in community relations, including light event planning;

·       Good knowledge of Microsoft Office, Squarespace, Mailchimp and social media tools and programs;

·       Strong database management/CRM and operation skills preferred;

·       Experience in basic graphic design preferred;

·       Interest in urban innovation and smart cities is a plus.

The Dallas Innovation Alliance is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We offer competitive salaries and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.

To apply, please email your resume and cover letter with the subject line referencing this job posting. Initial application period will close on November 30th. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. Dallas Innovation Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Xconomy: Five Questions For … Chelsea Collier, Smart Cities Advocate in Austin

Xconomy: Five Questions For … Chelsea Collier, Smart Cities Advocate in Austin

Angela Shah - Xconomy, October 20, 2017

Austin—Call her the accidental innovator.

Chelsea Collier didn’t set out to be part of Austin’s innovation ecosystem, she says, adding that “it just sort of evolved over time through a sense of curiosity.”

After working in a variety of marketing roles, including a job with the Office of the Governor for the State of Texas, Collier served as executive director of Texas for Economic Progress until 2015. It was then that she became a co-founder of Impact Hub, an Austin-based branch of Impact Hub International, which is a social venture incubator and co-working space.

“Innovation and technology is just a way to optimize our current experience,” Collier explains. “We are at this time when technology can be leveraged to help humanity. It’s the people part that fuels my interest.”

Today, after having spent a year as an Eisenhower Fellow, Collier is involved in the Smart Cities movement. An effort she’s following is in Dallas, which is working on an intelligent light project that enables environmental sensors to measure pollutants, humidity, allergen levels, and other factors, among other projects.

Last spring, the Dallas Innovation Alliance launched a “Living Lab” in the city’s West End district along with telecom giant AT&T. The plan is that all of the data collected, which is owned by the city of Dallas, will be crunched to see how effectively the city operates.

“The more people that are innovating on top of the data that’s being derived from these sensors—will then come jobs, will then come investment, will then come an increase in GDP,” said Mike Zeto, general manager of AT&T Smart Cities in a Dallas Business Journal article last March.

In this week’s “Five Questions For …,” Collier speaks about the importance of female role models in the professional world, her focus on optimizing rather than perfection, and the joy of running in the woods with friends. Here is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Xconomy: Tell me about your early influences.

Chelsea Collier: My early influences, the people that I really look to and sought examples from were women in the professional world—my mom being one of them; my aunt being one of them. I always looked around for other professional women. Unfortunately, a lot of the time where I found them was in the media, on TV. I watched very carefully how they represented themselves, how they created their own space, like Susan Dey in “LA Law.” I had no intention of being a lawyer but I looked at how she could command a space and said, ‘One day I want to do that.’

I don’t think it was a conscious choice [to seek out female role models.] I knew what I gravitated toward and what I thought was interesting. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to create something. Just being able to navigate your life and not have to follow rules set in places, by society or tradition. I certainly wasn’t a rebel, but is there another way other than just what I see everybody doing each day?

X: What’s your favorite book? Or maybe one you’ve read recently?

CC: My favorite book of all time is “Everything Belongs” by Richard Rohr. He’s a Catholic writer. The religious part isn’t really the important part for me. He’s very inclusive, and has an appreciation for all of the different religious traditions. It’s the personal development piece that’s interesting to me. There is no good or bad; it’s being able to appreciate the way that things are and understand they have a purpose and always something that can be learned or that you can teach others. It does a beautiful job making even painful things OK.

I’m just so conditioned to optimize things. I’m always looking at ways that I can improve something. It’s this notion of perfection either within ourselves or in the environment around us that can be a bit of a trap, the pursuit of making things idealized. We miss the best part, which is sometimes messy and sometimes difficult. We need to just understand that sometimes it’s the messiness that is really the beautiful part.

X: What’s your blind spot?

CC: In business, my blind spot is definitely finance. That to me is a language that I just never learned. My motto is, Do what you do best and then link to the rest. I’m always looking for folks who really enjoy finance and have that specialty and can help navigate that piece of things.

On the personal side, I am a very trusting person, and someone where I literally leap before I look in terms of diving into relationships. I’m wanting to be supportive and helpful without always understanding [that] sometimes it’s OK to go slow and honor the process.

X: How do you relax outside of work when you want to tune out the noise?

CC: Trail running. I was introduced to trail running just a few years ago from my really dear friend, Robyn Metcalfe. It’s just the notion of running through the woods with your friends, even if it’s for many, many miles is just so liberating and so fun. You’re out in nature and exercising, and feeling strong and just seeing things you can’t see any other way other than on foot.

X: Where do you think your drive comes from?

CC: I think it just goes back to that need to optimize things. I certainly saw it and had a beautiful example from my mom, who is always creating a program or a partnership or some way to help others and create a healthier world. I’m certain that’s a huge part of it. Even though we exercise [that drive] in very different ways [she’s a psychotherapist], she’s a strong influence for me. The rest of it, I think, is just being a type A Scorpio with Irish blood and fire in the belly. That part of it is just in the DNA.

Business Insider: The 25 most high-tech cities in the world (Dallas #11)

The 25 most high-tech cities in the world

Chris Weller, Business Insider

Cities are the way of the future.

In less than 35 years, the World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas. That's an additional 2.5 billion people. The cities that will flourish the most are those that rely on cutting-edge technologies and create opportunities for people to develop new ones.

To get a sense of which cities do that the best, Business Insider consulted 2thinknow, a research firm that specializes in analyzing innovative cities, to rank the most high-tech cities in the world.

The firm chose 10 factors related to technological advancement — including the number of patents filed per capita, startups, tech venture capitalists, ranking in other innovation datasets, and level of smartphone use— weighted them, and ranked a list of 85 cities accordingly.

If you want to know what the future will look like, these are the cities to keep an eye on. [Please visit link for the full list]

11. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Just within the last couple years, Dallas has established itself as a startup hub.

In 2thinknow's analysis, the Texas city climbed from 28th in 2016 to just outside the top 10 because of its rapid growth in the number of venture capitalists and integration of technology into the city landscape.