In 1965, British singer Petula Clark’s hit song Downtown painted a lyrical image of a place you could go to lift your spirits “when you’re alone, and life is making you lonely.”
The song was hit, but its depiction of urban centers as destination locations — “Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty. How can you lose?” — was just a distant memory.
Most downtown areas in the United States already were in decline for decades by the time the song was released, as post-World War II Americans fled urban areas for the promise of the suburbs.
But by the mid-1990s, a surge in redevelopment had downtown areas across the nation on the rise again, according to Realtor.com, which just released its list of the Top 10 Cities Where Downtown is Making a Comeback.
Count Dallas’ downtown among those resurgent cities, ranking No. 8 on Realtor.com’s list, topped by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at No. 1.
DOWNTOWN AREAS WERE RANKED ON SEVERAL FACTORS
Realtor.com’s data team considered several factors for downtowns in the 200 largest U.S. cities to create its list of the top 10:
• Residential population growth since 2012 in the urban core
• The number of restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and food trucks per capita, and growth since 2012
• Number of department stores and independent retailers per capita, and their growth since 2012
• Number of jobs per capita, and growth since 2012
• Home price appreciation since 2012 (it picked downtowns where the median price was no more than $400,000 in 2012, so they were really in need of revival)
• “Premium” of buying a home in downtown, compared with the median home price of the whole city
• Residential and commercial vacancy rate (the lower the better)
According to Realtor.com, Dallas has a median home price in downtown of $333,900 and has seen a 26 percent increase in home prices since 2012. Population growth in the urban center is up 25 percent since 2012.
The website said that Dallas saw nearly one-third of its central business district office space go empty in the early 1990s following the Texas real estate crash — the highest percentage of urban vacancies in the nation at the time.
Now, empty offices have become luxury lofts, with more condos going up, Realtor.com said.
A revitalized downtown Dallas now has a new life filled with permanent residents, more restaurants, new open space such as Klyde Warren Park, and the revival of the Dallas Farmers Market. It’s common to see residents walking their dogs as business people scurry to and from offices in nearby buildings.
If you work or live in downtown Dallas, you’ll know exactly what Realtor.com is talking about.
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