by Kevan McCormack

For the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, growth is not a foreign concept. In 1980, SMU was beginning its most successful era in the school’s athletic history; the Dallas Cowboys played their games in Texas Stadium; and the population of the metro area was estimated to be only 2.8 Million people.

Fast forward to today, DFW has close to 6.5 million people in its metropolitan area and by some estimates, including those by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), is projected to grow by more than 4 million more people, to 10.6 million by 2040.  In 2015, one study estimates that DFW had an economy exceeding $464.7 billion which is expected to grow to $491.4 billion by 2016.  This is a larger economy than most countries.

Hyper growth urban density growth rarely happens this quickly. It’s no surprise that since the Great Recession of 2008, Dallas has been at the forefront of job growth and the recovery, and it’s of little surprise to many who have spent their lives in the Metroplex that Dallas has become one of the most vibrant cities in North America.

dallas forth worth metroplex skyline

Dallas has more than 65,000 businesses and 269 corporate headquarters that each employs more than 1,000 people globally, and those numbers continue to grow. Leading Dallas headquarters include AT&T, MoneyGram, Southwest Airlines, Comerica, Tenet Healthcare, Brinker International, Texas Instruments, Neiman Marcus and Dean Foods.  With new business headquarters coming online in 2016/2017 like State Farm, Chase Bank, Toyota, the new Dallas Cowboys mixed-use campus, and Frisco’s 5-Billion Dollar Mile, Dallas is not only attracting the world’s best employees, but also some of the world’s best companies.

There’s no better place to identify this paradigm shift than in Dallas’ Central Business District – the urban core of the city, which has lagged the city’s growth for years. Buildings that have been vacant for years, doomed by the lack of attention given to downtown, are suddenly being acquired by real estate investors from across the globe sparking an unprecedented urban infill revitalization that Dallas has never seen. It’s come a long way since the 1990s when there were fewer than 1,000 residential units in Dallas’ CBD. Now, more than 8,200 people live in the core of downtown Dallas. (The city’s 15 downtown districts, which include Uptown, are home to a total of about 40,000 people.) Occupancy of residential space in the urban core is at a strong 94 percent. Multifamily developers have taken notice too, with a total of 3,150 apartments and lofts under construction currently.

Phil Puckett, of CBRE, has commented on the revitalization of Dallas CBD: “Millions of dollars are being spent to convert old and vacant office towers to multifamily residential or hotels. In the first quarter of 2015, CBRE deleted approximately 3 million square feet from its downtown office inventory due to redevelopment. For the first time in my career, downtown truly is becoming a live-work-play environment.”

The twin cities aspect of the North Texas region is obvious to most, but less known is the fact that Fort Worth is also among the 20 largest U.S. cities. The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area has four cities with a population greater than 250,000, and 14 cities with a population of at least 100,000; the region has three times as many large suburban cities (12) as Houston, Austin, and San Antonio combined (4).

Very quickly, you realize that “Dallas” is more than just Dallas, but a region with two major cities surrounded by large and growing suburban cities that have, over time, developed individual characteristics, leadership, evolving neighborhoods, world-class amenities, and critical mass to support corporate locations, new development, and changing lifestyles.

Metropolitan Capital Advisors is a 24-year-old finance intermediary headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Senior Directors have extensive experience in advising our clients on projects in and around the DFW area. The author, Kevan McCormack, is a Senior Director at Metropolitan Capital Advisors. He can be reached at kmccormack@metcapital.com or by calling our Dallas Office at (972) 267-0600.