Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is America's Biggest Boondoggle Stopping Downtown Fort Worth From Being A Boomtown?

In yet one more variant of our popular series of bloggings about things I read in west coast online newspapers, usually the Seattle Times, which I would not likely be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, yesterday I saw that which you see here, an article titled Five takeaways from the downtown Seattle boom.

I have mentioned previously that hardly a week goes by without me reading about some new construction project in downtown Seattle.

For some time now I have known Seattle and Western Washington are booming, but I did not know til yesterday the extent of new project construction in downtown Seattle. The following paragraph is where I learned why I'm constantly reading about new projects...

The Seattle Times Sunday Buzz logged the report in, noting, “Thirty projects were completed in 2014. But, with 24 projects completed in the first six months of 2015 alone, and 36 scheduled for completion by the end of the year, downtown Seattle is on track to see the largest number of completed projects in the last decade…”

Can you imagine reading in the Star-Telegram about 24 projects completed in downtown Fort Worth so far in 2015, with 36 more scheduled for completion by the end of the year? It takes Fort Worth four years to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the mainland to an imaginary island.

Another interesting paragraph from the Seattle Times article...

The “back to the city” movement has legs. All over the country, millennials and others want to live in vibrant central cities with walkable neighborhoods, real downtowns and good transit. In Chicago, giant Kraft Heinz is the latest company to abandon suburbia for downtown.

Los Angeles is also seeing a big boom in its downtown as people and corporations return to the city center.

A few days ago in a blogging titled No Sturgeon Dying In Trinity River While Largest Hotel In Texas Is Not Built In Fort Worth I made mention of a comment made by Mr. Spiffy, where Mr. Spiffy opined along the line that America's Biggest Boondoggle boondoggling along in slow motion is the reason nothing of the big project sort is happening in downtown Fort Worth, due to no investor wanting to invest in downtown Fort Worth when there is a chance that the Trinity River Central City Uptown Gator Island Vision Boondoggle might actually become viable, with that being where one would want to invest, not in the existing moribund downtown.

Regarding America's Biggest Boondoggle, I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I think the actual concept is a good idea. Turning a large area of urban blight into an urban village with water features, restaurants, residential towers, public transit.

It is the way Fort Worth has  gone about actualizing this "vision" that I find objectionable. Hiring the unqualified son of a local politician to run the project. Not having the public vote to approve and fund the project. No project timeline. Over a decade and a half after its inception, very little to show, except  for a slow motion boondoggle sponsoring floating beer parties in a polluted river, which really is just shameful.

Though the locals really do not seem to mind.

Which is baffling.

America's Biggest Boondoggle is basically killing downtown Fort Worth, with the town stuck in neutral while other towns in other areas of America are in boom town mode.

Regarding that "back to the city" movement mentioned in the Seattle Times article, where people are drawn to city centers with real downtowns, walkable neighborhoods and good transit. Fort Worth fails miserably on all three of those draws.

Fort Worth is the biggest town in America without a single department store operating in its downtown. Fort Worth is the biggest town in America without a single grocery store operating in its downtown.

Not enough people visit downtown Fort Worth to support a department store. Not enough people live in downtown Fort Worth to support a grocery store.

These are symptoms of something being not quite right with downtown Fort Worth, despite the downtown cheerleader's constant attempts to pretend otherwise.

How many department stores are in downtown Seattle? Several. Along with several vertical malls. And multiple grocery stores. And a huge public market drawing tourists from all over the world. With good public transit in the form of a transit tunnel running under the downtown zone.

Can you imagine a transit tunnel running under downtown Fort Worth? On the plus side, it would not need to be a very long tunnel...


Anonymous said...

Does fixing the Fort Worth Convention Center's "deplorable" seats count as a downtown Fort Worth project?

Durango said...

Anonymous, I assume the convention seat fix would be considered a major downtown Fort Worth project. I have read of no timeline for this project. It will likely take years to complete....