Monday, June 27, 2016

Downtown Fort Worth Construction Frenzy Hits Imaginary New High

In addition to this blogging being yet the latest iteration of our popular bloggings about items we read in west coast online news sources, usually the Seattle Times, that one would not expect to be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something happening in the environs of Fort Worth, this blogging is also about reality as opposed to the ignorant blatherings of ill-educated, ill-informed right wing nut job types.

Like Rush Limbaugh and his college dropout ilk.

But, before I get to that.

In all the years I lived in Fort Worth I never saw a single new skyscraper scrape the sky.

I did see some corporate sweetheart deals come to town. Like when Radio Shack convinced the easily bamboozled town into giving concessions, abusing eminent domain and other shenanigans to build the hapless corporation a new headquarters in downtown Fort Worth, which the corporation could not afford and soon lost.

Out of that embarrassing deal downtown Fort Worth lost acres of free parking and the world's shortest free subway. Both of which, pre-Radio Shack debacle, made visiting downtown Fort Worth an easy experience. Which is not the case, post Radio Shack debacle.

Fort Worth is the largest city in America without a single downtown department or grocery store, let alone a vertical mall. Downtown Fort Worth has relatively few downtown residents, per capita, compared to other big city downtowns.

Yet the locals don't ask why their downtown is so moribund. As in what is wrong with this sick city? Maybe most don't realize their downtown is so moribund and their city so sick. Maybe most don't ever visit other towns. I don't know what the explanation is.

It has been going on well over a century where an out of towner will visit downtown Fort Worth to be stunned over how sleepy it is, including a Dallas reporter reportedly stunned to find a panther sleeping on the courthouse steps.

Meanwhile, up north, in my old home zone, the big city is Seattle.

Excerpt from the Seattle Times Downtown construction frenzy hits new high article...

The building boom sweeping downtown Seattle is hard to miss, between the jostling cranes, giant holes in the ground and construction crews closing down streets. But new data show just how intense things have gotten — and how much more is still yet to come.

There are currently 65 major buildings under construction across downtown, South Lake Union and surrounding neighborhoods, more than at any point since the figures were first tracked in 2005, the Downtown Seattle Association said in a new report. The previous midyear high was 50 buildings under construction in 2014 and 49 last year.

“There is a ton of development on all fronts,” said Don Blakeney, a vice president for the downtown group.

And the frenzy isn’t set to end anytime soon: Most of the structures will take until next year to finish, and there are dozens more in the pipeline set to start in the next year and a half.

After a record-setting 2015 for new homes downtown, there are still even more on tap for this year and the next — 8,661 in all downtown, more than the entire city of San Francisco has added in the last three years. Altogether, by the time current projects are done, downtown Seattle will have added 44 percent more housing units than it had at the start of the decade.

“It’s a sign of the times that people want to live close to where they work, and have access to the things that are available in a major city,” Blakeney said.

Office buildings are still booming, too: 5.7 million square feet of it is under construction, down a little from last year but double the amount from three years ago.

More than one-third of the offices under construction is for Amazon.

The downtown group says the internet behemoth is on pace to occupy 12 million square feet of office space by the time current projects are finished. That’s the equivalent of eight Columbia Centers, the tallest building in Seattle at 76 stories.

But other companies are expanding their presence here, too, including Facebook, Expedia and Google.

Can you imagine a similar article in the Star-Telegram describing the current state of Fort Worth?

Me either.

Office space for Amazon the equivalent of eight Columbia Centers? Columbia Center is a Seattle skyscraper about twice as tall as any Fort Worth scraper.

Might I add that, unlike Fort Worth, the Facebook, Expedia, Google and Amazon building projects all came to be without Seattle giving those corporations tax breaks or abusing eminent domain, or any of the other pitiful, pathetic things Fort Worth does to try to attract a suitor to its extremely unattractive town.

Changing the subject to those under educated right wing nut jobs I mentioned above.

Back when Seattle voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, within about a week right wing falsehood purveyors started up the lie that four Seattle restaurants had already closed due to the wage increase. When legitimate, non-Breitbart,  non-Fox type media pointed out that the $15 hour minimum wage had not yet gone into effect and was to be phased in over several years, and that no restaurants had closed due to the wage increase, the right wing nut jobs sort of did a collective "never mind".

For awhile.

Then after six months, give or take a month or two, someone in the right wing nut-o-sphere cranked out the same already disputed Seattle restaurants going under due to the new minimum wage lie, including that chief spewer of ignorant nonsense, Rush Limbaugh.

Now, let's talk reality. Seattle raised the minimum wage to $15. It is not at that level yet. Yet Seattle is booming. 65 major buildings under construction downtown. Most to be completed by next year, with many in the pipeline preparing to start construction.

8,661 new homes in downtown Seattle this year.

Clearly raising the minimum wage has had a disastrous effect on the Seattle economy. (That's ironic sarcasm, to be clear, for any nimrod reading this)

Maybe Fort Worth should try a baby step. Raise the minimum wage to $10 over three years. Maybe that would be just the catalyst to cause a new skyscraper to get built in the next decade. And maybe a few downtown residential buildings. Maybe even a department store.

Imagine that.

Downtown Fort Worth with a department store.....


Anonymous said...

Since you have moved out of town you seem to have gotten even more pointed with your critiques of Fort Worth. Sick City is catchy. But why are you now referring to the former Cowtown as Sick City?

Durango said...

Anonymous, you have inspired me to think about writing about why in the world I would refer to Fort Worth as Sick City. Shall do so, today, or tomorrow, or maybe the day after tomorrow.