Dallas after 5 p.m. is depressing. The streets are left in a vacuum, nothing but panhandlers and workaholics remain. The loud hum of commuting cars, the whistle of buses passing through and the occaisional yelp from a nearby train station are the remaining voices, ringing from the pavement, echoing and reporting from the buildings once the downtown crowd clocks out.
It has been a priority for some time that downtown have a 24-hour population. People speculate that if more residential properties were delivered downtown, crime would decrease and tax revenues for the city would skyrocket. They're almost right. It's not enough that there be just any residential property downtown -- there must be affordable residential properties. The luxury tower bubble has burst, there's just no more demand in the city for pricey downtown highrises. What Dallas really needs is residential property downtown that folks who live in North Dallas, Old East Dallas, Cedar Springs and Irving can afford, not just the Turtle Creek crowd or the Preston Hollow residents. Downtown does not need to be another place for the Highland Park people -- downtown needs to be for everyone.
There are plenty of worthwhile people who would benefit the city by living downtown that can't afford the 2,000-plus monthly rents that some of these developers are asking. These are the same people that would give Urban Market its much-needed business infusion. These are the same people that have been the crux of communities throughout Dallas for years. They are voters, they are middle-class and they are educated. Why should we exclude them?