TREC Celebrate Groundbreaking of Woodall Rodgers Park

Dallas, Texas – On Monday, September 14, The Real Estate Council (TREC) will present Tony Jones, Chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, who will speak about “Millennium Park, Chicago: Art, Entertainment and Economics.” Registration for the program will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 8:00 a.m. at The Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard Street, Dallas.

The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation will commemorate the milestone with a press conference and ceremony honoring donors immediately following the breakfast. (For more details, contact Joanna Singleton/Jackson Spalding, at 214-269-4401).

Jones will share how Chicago has been transformed by the impact of Millennium Park, offering a behind-the-scenes view of the architects, artists, landscapers, planners and philanthropists who contributed to the project. Jones is an internationally known British arts administrator, broadcaster, writer and historian of art and design. He has led three of the world’s most highly regarded art academies – the Royal College of Art and the Glasgow School of Art in the UK, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the U.S.

Michelle Corson, president of TREC, said, “We are excited to hear from Tony Jones about Millennium Park, which now attracts four million visitors annually and has become a powerful economic engine for Chicago, to learn how Dallas can use the Woodall Rodgers Park as a catalyst for even more regeneration downtown.”

Millennium Park revived an area of Chicago dominated by railroad tracks into a dynamic cultural, entertainment, business, education and residential district and now serves as a model for urban regeneration for city governments worldwide. Attendees will be inspired to consider the opportunities Dallas will have as the Woodall Rodgers Park is constructed within the largest urban arts district in the country.

Michele Wheeler, chairman of TREC, added, “Woodall Rodgers Park is one of TREC’s most significant achievements and one of the most incredible economic development initiatives in Dallas history. TREC provided the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation with the original $1.5 million seed grant in 2004. This investment has spurred an estimated $100 million project, a public-private partnership between the City of Dallas, Texas Department of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments and local business leaders. We look forward to breaking ground and celebrating our downtown park.”

By investing $1.5 million in initial risk capital in the beginning, TREC served as a catalyst for the Woodall Rodgers Park, spurring a public-private partnership that has raised nearly $80 million to date. TREC staff and some member companies have also invested philanthropic capital—high-level human capital in the form of technical assistance and government advocacy—to plan the park. Each of these tools is accretive and brings additional value to the project, leveraging the initially invested dollars exponentially.

Individual cost for TREC associate members is $45 preregistered, $55 at the door or $450 for a table of 10. For nonmembers, the cost is $75 preregistered or $85 at the door. Full and sustaining members are free if preregistered. Valet parking is $12.

Those interested in attending may call TREC at 214.692.3600 or register online at by September 9, 2009.

About TREC: Founded in 1990, The Real Estate Council is a dynamic organization of 1,600 commercial real estate professionals representing more than 500 companies in the Dallas area. Through investments of financial and human capital, TREC Foundation works to improve the quality of life in Dallas’ most distressed neighborhoods with programming to address job creation, child welfare, education, community revitalization, the environment and affordable housing. Since 1990 TREC has invested $7 million in cash and $75 million in pro bono professional expertise in the community. TREC is a leader of initiatives shaping the future of our community including the original $1.5 million grant spearheading Woodall Rodgers Park, and $250,000 in funding and $6.3 million in pro bono legal and title services creating the Urban Land Bank. TREC’s Government Affairs Board pursues advocacy efforts on local and statewide public policy issues. Find out more at or by calling (214) 692.3600.

About The Park: The Park is a 5.2-acre deck park that will create an urban green space over the existing Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets. The park will provide connectivity to the city’s flourishing Arts District, bring cultural offerings together and serve as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors to enjoy.

Plans for the park include a restaurant, performance pavilion, jogging trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, a water sculpture, an area for games and much more.

Construction is funded through a public, private partnership including $20 million in bond funds from the city of Dallas, $20 million in highway funds from the state and federal government through TX DOT and $20 million from private donations. In March, the Park was selected to receive $16.7 million in stimulus funds that are specifically for transportation enhancement construction. The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation continues to raise private donations, including the naming rights for the park, to fund amenity construction, operations and programming.

The design and construction of the park is being managed by Bjerke Management Solutions, and the design is led by nationally-recognized design firms, The Office of James Burnett and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

Jody Grant serves as Chairman of the Board of the Woodall Rodgers Foundation and is joined by President Linda Owen, Leo Corrigan, Ed Fjordbak, Sheila Grant, John Muse, Rob Walters and John Zogg. The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation office is located within the Dallas Center for Architecture at 1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Suite 100.

For background information, please visit A new, updated Web site will be launched in Sept. 2009.