Making a rare appearance in Dallas tonight, J.C. Penney Co. CEO Ron Johnson talked more about his time at Apple and Target than about his ambitious plans for transforming Plano-based Penney’s into “America’s favorite store.” But during his SMU Management Briefing Series talk, Johnson (pictured) did offer a few hints about how he hopes imagination, innovation, and hard work will jump-start the venerable, 110-year-old department-store chain.
The new Penney’s, Johnson said, will be a store for everyone, not just middle-income shoppers. It will sport a “new retail interface” of some undisclosed, revolutionary sort. It will offer “fair and square pricing.” It will have unmatched merchandise and great personal service. And it will be a place to belong — a place that “cares more about me than about the clothes I buy,” he said.
Johnson added that an all-new store design will be in place in 2013, including here in Dallas, but that he expects this year to be the most difficult one for the company “perhaps in decades” because of all the changes.
Rudy Bush has the story and Columbia’s filing right here. If you’re short on time, I’ll sum up: C’mon, you didn’t mean to be that rough on us, did you? Huh? Huh? Come on. You guys! Seriously!
Still think Columbia would have been better served by going with my idea: claiming it was zebra blood, then coming up with an actual defense while everyone collectively lost their…minds.
Since our story about Museum Tower came out, I’ve been asked a number of times whether the city of Dallas should have prevented the reflectivity problem during the permitting process. A couple of out-of-towners asked me this question at the David Dillon Symposium. The short answer: no. The long answer: no, but it could have if Museum Tower had been built on the other side of Woodall Rodgers.
I ran into an architect friend of mine over the weekend. He broke it down for me like this:
There’s a planned development district that encompasses Uptown. It’s called PD 193. It has zoning requirements that differ from the standard Dallas zoning laws. One of the requirements deals with glass reflectivity. If you build a tower in PD 193, right across Woodall from where Museum Tower now stands, your glass cannot exceed 27 percent reflectivity. Museum Tower’s glass is 44 percent reflective.
The regular Dallas zoning code just says: “A person shall not conduct a use that has a visible source of illumination that produces glare or direct illumination across a property line of an intensity that creates a nuisance or detracts from the use or enjoyment of adjacent property.” (I explored that nuisance issue here. At least one good lawyer thinks the Nasher wouldn’t have a solid claim.)
Know what’s curious? The city has adopted a green building code that encourages highly reflective glass. The more reflective the glass, the less heat is generated in the building. Less heat means less AC needed. The folks at Museum Tower stressed this to me repeatedly, that they are shooting for a high-level LEED certification. But while the building itself — any building — might be greener, its impact on neighboring buildings can be amplified.
You’ll recall that two years ago a federal magistrate judge ruled that Andy Beal used a bogus tax shelter to create $153.6 million in tax losses for 2001. The judge also ruled, however, that the IRS had missed the deadline for disallowing those 2001 losses. A win for Beal.
Late last week, that win turned into a loss in the Firth Circuit Court of Appeals. Looks like the IRS didn’t miss its deadline after all. If you believe what the feds say, the loss on the 2001 tax year matter will cost Beal $70 million in tax and penalties. A pittance compared to the $5 billion his ex-wife wanted. (Of course, Beal’s ex is represented by Larry Friedman, which is all you need to know about which side you should root for.)
I’ll admit it. When I first heard about the “Yu Is My Homeboy” shirts, I kind of wanted one. (Probably not as much as I wanted this hat, after seeing the movie Bernie, but that’s a different matter.) The shirts are the work of shirt entrepreneur Eric Vaughan, who also brought us was inspired by the “Dirk Is My Homeboy.” I was disappointed when I read here and here that the Yu shirts were no longer for sale. But I just went to the web site and tried to order one. And it appears to have worked. So, I guess you should get them while you still can.
Between the poorly handled case against Range Resources and his recently released “crucify” comments, it was a matter of time before Al Armendariz either resigned or got fired. Whether it’s justified or he is a fall guy in a perpetual battle between the EPA and its enemies or both is up for debate. Either way, he’s out.
San Francisco’s a heavyweight opera town. So it wasn’t that surprising when the opera company there drew 32,000 people to a 2010 simulcast performance at AT&T Park, where the Giants play baseball. But Dallas is a different town. So it was truly impressive-sounding when the Dallas Opera announced a free, April 28 simulcast on the high-def video screens at mammoth Cowboys Stadium and, in a March 1 press release, proclaimed that “over 21,000 tickets had been requested” already for the Magic Flute performance. Twenty-six days later, a nearly identical release went out bragging that the number of requests had now risen to more than 25,000! (exclamation point theirs). Then, on April 18, the Opera touted that the ticket figure was up to “30,500 and counting.”
So yesterday, when the Opera issued its post-game story, it was interesting to note that 15,000 attended Saturday’s performance — a figure qualifying nonetheless as “the best-attended opera stadium simulcast in Texas history,” to quote the release. (It was also 7,000 more than the SF Opera drew to AT&T, back when it started the simulcast event there in 2006.) The Dallas Opera release added that when all was said and done, 34,000 ticket requests had poured in, too! The Opera said it was “very pleased” with the 15,000 number, and Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Cowboys’ brand manager in charge of flogging JerryWorld as a fine-arts venue, added: “We are thrilled with the overwhelming response to last night’s performance.” Thrilled? Overwhelming? When they’d been bragging that more than twice that number would show up? That big giant whirring sound you hear is called PR spin, and nobody can spin it like the Joneses. As they like to say at the opera, Bravo!
On a dark day for the Dallas Theater Center’s production of Next Fall, the Kalita Humphreys Theater happily does not stay empty.
Tonight, the DTC Guild has put together a staged reading of Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home, with almost all of the original 1979 cast members. This a bit of a peek back in time, if you will, that includes last year’s Best of Big D actress Elly Lindsay and the show’s original director, Chris Henrie. Henrie will join the DTC’s current artistic director, Kevin Moriarty, for a talk back after the reading. Ticket proceeds support the DTC.
Also this evening, the Texas Theatre starts up a Monday night trivia game, the increasingly popular Geeks Who Drink pub quiz. While this is somewhat less intriguing to me than a Whedonverse-specific trivia night, I am nonetheless a general sort of dork who enjoys both a good gin and tonic and the chance to see if I really am smarter than my friends. Get a team together and make up a funny name so you can win extra prizes. The overall winner gets a bar tab, which is obviously useful for all future visits.
Yesterday the Dallas Morning News published its long-awaited opus on Kern Wildenthal. Wildenthal is the former head of UT Southwestern. He currently runs the school’s fundraising charity, the Southwestern Medical Foundation. It doesn’t look good for him. While he has enjoyed enormous success getting people to donate money (more than a $1 billion), he also appears to have enjoyed himself a bit too much. The News looked at scads of his travel receipts and found that Wildenthal’s mix of business and pleasure ran at times a little lean on business.
Here are my questions:
1. The main story (there are sidebars) is 6,300 words long. For a newspaper, that’s really long. How do you write that many words about Wildenthal’s fundraising methods and not mention the whole Wendy Reves deal? You will recall that Reves’ son filed a lawsuit against the Dallas Museum of Art and Wildenthal, claiming that the two pulled a fast one in getting their respective institutions into Reves’ will. Late last year, a U.S. judge threw the case out. But it’s far from over. Reves died in France. The French courts are still busy with the matter. That Wildenthal was accused of manipulating an old widow to get millions of her money for UT Southwestern seems germane, no?
2. Why isn’t this monster story — a story that DMN reporters have been working on for something like two years — promoted on the paper’s homepage?
PS: I’m sorry. That’s actually three questions.
Dallas Needs To Accept Failure: The Super Bowl bid, DART, our ability to hit clean air standards — Michael Lindenberger might as well just tag on the Trinity River Project (no thanks to the Trinity Parkway), downtown revitalization, NFL drafts, and a litany of other ballyhooed projects to his editorial that says (paywall) that Dallas needs to learn to accept failure. But his key point is long overdue: Dallas’ fidelity to its own hype inhibits us for making key adjustments in civic planning to realize real goals. And while I like how the editorial tells us to refocus DART on moving people, and to listen to Jim Schutze more, Lindenberger kills his own argument when he says Dallas is still not “ready” for some more challenging ways to address key issues. After all, doesn’t this off-repeated attitude that Dallas is “not ready” for truly innovative policies and initiatives go hand-in-hand with Dallas’ denial of its shortcomings?
Off-Duty Dallas Police Officer Arrested For Firing Gun From Car on Highway: I suppose it was just another Saturday night for Rafael Mendoza, the three year veteran of the Dallas police department who was arrested early Sunday morning after driving around with his sidearm dangling out the window, smoking weed, and taking potshots at cars on Interstate 30.
Business Odds And Ends: Someone got paid today: the Dallas-based pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, dropped a cool $5.3 billion acquiring Philadelphia-based Sunoco Inc. And A.H. Belo Corporation announced its first quarter 2012 financials, reporting a net loss of $0.18 per share, which is less than expected, says Robert Decherd. I suspect Wick will be around to slice and dice Belo’s numbers in greater detail.