Pillow Talk – April 2017

Downtown Arlington

Have you ever been to downtown Arlington? Yes, Arlington has a downtown. It’s more a mid-town than downtown. Once known for used cars and a commuter-college, the area between Division and Abram from Copper to Collins is thriving.

Where car-lots used to be, entertainment venues such as Levitt Pavilion & Arlington Music Hall buzz with patrons. Trendy restaurants like Grease Monkey, Mellow Mushroom, Twisted Root, Babe’s, and J. Gilligan’s give residents, students, and tourists multiple dining options. The Public Library and City Hall are undergoing major renovations.

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), that sleepy, little commuter-school, now enrolls more than 39,000 students with more than 10,000 living near campus. That’s 10,000 apartment residents! Now that’s a submarket!

Student housing providers (our members) drove this renaissance. Multifamily development and operations positively impacts this area on Arlington. Residential rental catalyzed the revitalization of an ageing, under-served portion of the city. Apartments spurred economic development.

Like many older, inner-cities, downtown Arlington has its challenges and opportunities. Many of the multifamily communities surrounding UTA are 1970s C product. Redevelopment and repositioning are possibilities. The rail-line bisecting this area is an opportunity to bring commuter-rail and transportation oriented development to the heart of the Metroplex.

With the jobs and tourists generated by the entertainment district just to the east (Six Flags, Rangers, Cowboys, etc.) and UTA’s continued growth, this part of Arlington is positioned to sustain a high-level of activity for the foreseeable future.

2017 MUNI ELECTIONS

More than ninety (90) candidates have filed for the May 6th municipal elections in AATC’s service area. City councils and mayors are up for election throughout AATC’s service area including the entire Fort Worth city council and half of the Arlington city council including the mayor. In Arlington, first-term mayor Jeff Williams is challenged by perennial candidate Chris Dodson. Four candidates have filed in the open Arlington district 3 seat including former leasing consultant Roxanne Thalman. Arlington council incumbent Kathryn Wilemon has one challenger while fellow council members Lana Wolff and Michael Glaspie each drew two opponents. In Fort Worth, Mayor Betsy Price is opposed by Chris Nettles. Four candidates have filed in the open Fort Worth district 2 seat: Carlos Flores, Steve Thornton, Jennifer Trevino, and Michael Perez. Incumbents Zim Zimmerman, Cary Moon, Gyna Bivens, Dennis Shingleton, and Ann Zadeh each have one challenger while incumbents Jungus Jordan and Kelly Gray have multiple opponents. Bedford incumbents Michael Boyter and Roger Fisher have challengers and a special election will be held to fill the place 3 seat of Ray Champey who died last month.   Euless mayor Linda Martin picked up a challenger and council member Jeremey Thompkins has two opponents. Grapevine incumbents Chris Coy and Duff O’Dell each have challengers as do Haltom City incumbent Walter Grow and Hurst incumbent Henry Wilson. Four candidates have filed for the open Haltom City place 6 seat. In Mansfield, four candidates have filed for the open place 6 seat and incumbent Larry Broseh has two opponents. Burleson incumbent mayor Ken Shetter has two challengers while incumbent Rick Green has four challengers and incumbent Ronnie Johnson has one. Four candidates have filed for the place 4 seat. North Richland Hills and Benbrook incumbents are unopposed.

NAA CAPITOL CONFERENCE

Last month, Char McCurdy, Sherry Jordan-Aubrecht, Nicolle Block, Laura Williams, Patti Thomas and Paul Brown along with AATC staff members John Mitchell and Perry Pillow traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with the Tarrant County congressional delegation. AATC members met Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) and Congressman Roger Williams (R – TX25), as well as staffer members from congress members Barton, Burgess, Cornyn, Granger, Marchant, and Veasy. On your behalf, this group aggressively advocated for changes in federal laws and regulations that impact your business including tax reform, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reform, and national flood insurance reauthorization.

VERY APPEALING

Oral arguments are set for March 28th in the AATC vs City of Bedford appellate trail. In September 2016, AATC won a legal victory when State District Judge Melody Wilkinson denied the City of Bedford’s plea to the jurisdiction (sovereign immunity claim). That same day, Bedford appealed Judge Wilkinson’s ruling to the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. AATC has retained John Cayce to handle our appeal. Cayce is the former Chief Justice of the 2nd Court of Appeals. This trial is in addition to and parallel with the trial on the merits set for May 2017. As a reminder, Bedford properties will continue to be inspected under the current ordinance and pay the imposed fees. AATC will keep our members updated as we work through this complicated case. If you have any questions, please contact Perry Pillow by phone at (817) 616-0354 or email ppillow@aatcnet.org

JOIN AN AATC ADVOCACY TEAM

Our Advocacy Teams are hard at work on your behalf in cities throughout Tarrant County. They are hosting property tours, attending city council meetings, and engaged in local issues that affect our industry. Special thanks to the following AATC members who are captaining advocacy teams: Arlington – Nicole Block, AMLI; Euless – Cindi Scoggins, Westdale; Fort Worth – Anthony Wonderly, Olympus; Grapevine – Laurie Root, Capstone; and Hurst – Robbie Sebren-Burns, Legend Asset Management. If you live, own, or operate properties in Tarrant County and would like to be on an advocacy team, contact Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org or (817) 616-0354.

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information on any of AATC’s Legislative Initiatives, you can contact Perry at 817-616-0354 or email him at ppillow@aatcnet.org.