2017 was a record year for Dallas, as the city unveiled new buildings, launched exciting public projects and finalized historic initiatives—even the sun got in on the action. From our point of view here in Downtown, however, any retrospective of the best things to happen to our city over the last 12 months wouldn’t be complete without the following items.
For starters, a historic Dallas landmark, The Statler Hotel, reopened its doors after closing almost two decades ago. Now a luxury property welcoming both guests and permanent residents, the building has been completely remodeled. Utterly contemporary in its amenities, The Statler, nevertheless has preserved many of the mid-century modern touches that made it a state-of-the-art facility during its heyday in the 1950s.
The Statler isn’t the only Dallas institution to experience major changes in 2017. The Dallas Morning News vacated its longtime home at 508 Young Street and moved into the former Dallas Public Library building next door to The Statler, signing a 16-year lease. The move to these new facilities will help the Southwest’s leading daily paper continue to develop into a truly 21st-century news organization.
Meanwhile, improvements continued apace at 400 Record Street, the 1980s high-rise that has undergone multimillion-dollar renovations over the last few years. The buildings newest tenant is Bullion, a French brasserie developed for Dallas by Michelin-starred chef Bruno Davaillon. This restaurant serves both classic and contemporary French dishes and is now serving lunch and dinner.
2017 was also an exceptional year for Downtown’s green spaces. Pacific Plaza finally became a reality when Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy agreed to privately fund construction of this long-anticipated development near the Harwood Street pedestrian corridor. Over a decade in the making, the park will transform over three acres of surface parking lots into a beautiful urban oasis.
Thanks to Dallas’ successful November 2017 $1.05 billion bond initiative, Pacific Plaza is just the start. The city has now finalized plans for three other downtown parks: West End Plaza, Harwood Park and Carpenter Park. The bond will also support greater investment in the city’s libraries, cultural centers, streets, trails and more.
Dallas even hit its two-wheeled stride in 2017, with VBikes, LimeBike and Spin all beginning operations Downtown. The three bike-share companies offer a sustainable transportation option via their rentable bikes, which reduce traffic congestion, help Dallasites leave a smaller carbon footprint and encourage physical activity.
And of course, it wouldn’t have been 2017 without the “Great American Eclipse”—the first solar eclipse viewable across the entire United States since 1918. And since Dallas had a whopping 75 percent totality, the city stopped for a few breathless moments to enjoy the show. And both Downtown’s skyscrapers and open spaces provided excellent vantage points for this celestial phenomenon.
As nearly every year proves to be, 2017 was a big one for the Big D. What’s your favorite Dallas memory from the past 12 months? What unforgettable things did you do, see, hear and otherwise experience in our great city? Share your reflections and insights with us on Facebook and Twitter. And join us as we make preparations for an equally great 2018.