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Making Dallas Even Better

City Council Gives Zale Corp. $450K to Sort-of Move to Dallas

The Dallas City Council just voted this morning to grant Zale Corporation up to $450,000 to move out of Irving. Luring a corporate headquarters to town is generally considered an accomplishment worth crowing about, but take a look (above) at where the company plans to build its new $45 million complex.

The dark gray line represents the city limits. You can see on the map that Zale’s plan is to move just a couple miles away to the little island territory of Dallas around North Lake, as part of the Cypress Waters development. It’s an area even farther from the center of Dallas than is Zale’s existing headquarters. Some of you may not even have realized that land was part of the city. It was annexed back in the 1950s when Dallas Power and Light (which became TXU) needed a cooling reservoir for a new electric plant.

In return for the city’s largesse, staff members estimate the economic impact to the city of $11.3 million over 10 years. Outlaying $450,000 for a return of $11.3 million obviously seems like a no-brainer.

However, when Councilman Mark Clayton probed for more information about the estimate during the council’s discussion period, it was disclosed that only about $800,00 would come back to the city as direct tax revenue. The vast majority of that $11.3 million is based on estimating the impact of the hundreds of new employees that will, according to the underlying logic, come to live, work, and play in Dallas (spending money all along the way).

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AT&T’s Q1: Highlights From the Latest Earnings Call

AT&T Inc. beat analysts estimates during its first quarter, when it also experienced a rise in revenue due to the DirecTV acquisition. The quarter represented the fourth straight quarter of double digit growth for adjusted earnings per share. During the earnings call, the company announced video streaming services, updated investors on DirecTV cost efficiencies and progress in Mexico, and discussed its transition to becoming a software-defined network.

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No One Is Drilling in the Barnett Shale

The Star-Telegram reported on natural-gas industry data that shows that there are no active rigs drilling anywhere in the two-dozen county region of North Texas under which the Barnett Shale formation sits. A decade ago, there were nearly 200:

Plummeting oil and gas prices, along with the seductive lure of bigger payouts in other parts of Texas and across the country, have brought exploration in North Texas to a halt. In March of last year, the count dropped to one rig for a week, then stayed under 10 since then.

Things have gotten so bad that the Powell Shale Digest in Fort Worth, once a must-read for those following industry activity in the Barnett, is publishing its last edition on Tuesday.

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Forget About Buying a New Home Under $200K in North Texas

Citing a report by housing-market data service Metrostudy, HousingWire says anyone looking for a brand-new starter home for under $200,000 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is out of luck:

“First-quarter starts data presents further evidence of Dallas-Ft. Worth’s market shift in price,” said Paige Shipp, regional director of Metrostudy’s Dallas office. “Historically, most of DFW’s starts and closings occurred below $200,000. The new normal reflects a meteoric rise in starts above $200,000.”

According to Shipp, housing starts to be priced between $300,000 and $349,999 jumped 81.2%, which is almost twice the increase in closings.

On the other hand, starts below $200,000 dropped 14.6% from last year and closings plummeted 31%, Shipp said.

And Shipp said that there’s not much hope on the horizon for those looking for a new home priced under $200,000.

“Due to rapidly rising land and development costs, developers argue there is little hope for the revival of the sub-$200,000 new-home market,” Shipp added. “This will remain an issue until municipalities, developers and builders understand and deliver higher-density lots and smaller homes to the market.”

Author: Glass Ceiling Won’t Shatter Until Men are Caregivers, Too

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, is a big fan of Anne-Marie Slaughter, who’s written a new book about attaining “true equality” between women and men, including in the workplace. The author “has given us a blueprint for the future in which women truly have freedom to choose,” Hutchison wrote in a […]

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Why TV Networks Love the Dallas Cowboys

Here’s Ad Age on why your Dallas Cowboys — a team that finished a lousy 4-12 last season — are set to have 11 of their 16 games this fall broadcast nationally, including five in primetime:

“America’s Team” last season still managed to reach a massive TV audience. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Dallas over the course of its 11 national games averaged 24 million viewers and a 13.5 household rating, making it the No. 2 draw behind the Green Bay Packers. During their own 11-game stretch, Aaron Rodgers and Co. delivered 24.4 million viewers and a 13.8 household rating, offering further evidence that (in the NFL, at least) the size of one’s home market has no bearing on one’s national footprint. (With a reach of just 433,860 TV homes, 68th-ranked Green Bay-Appleton is the NFL’s smallest DMA.)

The meeting of the league’s two biggest ratings dynamos is obviously good for business, and securing a rare rematch of last year’s Cowboys-Packers game was a top priority for Fox.

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Kinky Friedman Brings His Irreverent Satire to The Lodge

It was an eclectic group that gathered at The Lodge last night to mark the establishment’s 20th anniversary with a special appearance by Kinky Friedman, the iconic, irreverent Jewish Texan singer/songwriter/novelist and sometime political candidate. There in a private back room at the “classy gentlemen’s” club were people like the Lodge founder and CEO Dawn Rizos, Robert Wilonsky and Gromer Jeffers Jr. from The Dallas Morning News, The Ticket’s Mike Rhyner, and Ruth Buzzi. Ruth Buzzi, the Laugh-In lady who’d whack the old man with her purse? Yep; turns out she and her husband Kent Perkins are old friends of Friedman’s, and often put him up at their ranch near Stephenville. It’s a good thing all these people in the private room understood and appreciated Kinky’s offbeat brand of satirical humor, because some people at the upscale strip club didn’t.

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Fed Says Oil Decline Won’t Create Another Dallas Banking Bust

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has released a collection of essays — called “After the Boom” — that look at the effects of the oil price decline of the last year on various segments of the economy, including housing and banking.

Bottom line for Dallas is that with Texas’ more diverse economy, and with Dallas less energy-industry dependent than other cities like Houston, today’s relatively low oil prices will likely slow things down a bit but shouldn’t blow up into a full-on bust. Yes, we’ve talked about this before.

Furthermore, much as D CEO argued last year, structural changes that occurred following the painful, oil-collapse-driven banking crisis of the 1980s will prevent that the local financial industry from falling apart:

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Ross Avenue Mechanic Who Fought For Property Rights Can’t Sell Shop

Tristan Hallman at the Dallas Morning News followed up on the case Hinga Mbogo, who fought for (and lost) the right to keep his auto shop in business on Ross Avenue in violation of zoning that was changed 11 years ago:

But in his latest crusade to borrow more time, Mbogo withheld a key piece of information about his suddenly illegal 30-year-old auto repair shop.

Even if he wanted to sell his shop, he couldn’t.

“Somebody is crowding the title,” he said.

That somebody is Mbogo’s former business partner, who claims he still has an ownership stake in the business. Mbogo, whose plight has been nationally showcased as a government infringement on property rights, has spent the last year trying to secure the full rights to his property, according to Dallas County civil court filings.

Mbogo’s long-ago partner Mohamed Ahmed contributed $30,000 toward the down payment and never sold his share. The two went into business together in 1990.

Mbogo and Ahmed disagree about what their deal was when Ahmed left the day-to-day business of the shop in 1997.

This helps explain why Mbogo claimed her couldn’t get a good offer for his shop, despite 30 years of appreciation for his property values. But why didn’t he mention it before the council? All he told Hallman was “That’s not their business. That’s my business.”

Mbogo says he’s not shutting down until the city comes to forcibly close his doors, which would presumably happen next month.

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Leading Off (4/19/16)

Continental Avenue bridge might be renamed. Soon, the pedestrian bridge might be called the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, after the former Dallas mayor. The name change will be voted on next month.

Dallas not doing well in water conservation contest. Two years ago, the city won a national water conservation contest. Now, we’re ranked 12 out of 26. It’s true that water was more scarce then than it is now, but still.

Judge will rule on Exxxotica case. Was the City Council within its rights to ban the sex expo from the convention center? U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater will decide. If Fitzwater rules in Exxxotica’s favor before the end of the week, the expo could still happen. If not, it would be too late this time. We’ll have to wait and see.

How ’bout them mavs? Their 85-84 victory over the Thunder in Game 2 yesterday was pretty crazy after the previous game’s intense humiliation. The rookies had a big night, and defense was strong. It’ll be tough to keep this going in the next game, but, hey, the Mavs have surprised us before.

Foundry Club Rebrands KoWork with New Franchise Model

The Foundry Club is rolling out a franchise model that will help serve as a growth vehicle in upcoming months, as it continues to expand at Mockingbird Station. The club, which offers coworking space, executive offices and resources, is launching its first franchise in partnership with KoWork, a three-month old coworking space at the Hartford Building in downtown Dallas.

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