Spotlight : Andy Taft

We sat down with DFW Inc. President, Andy Taft to discuss the growth that Downtown Ft. Worth has experienced, current projects for the area and the partnership between CityCentral & DFW Inc.

“DOWNTOWNS ARE BUILT ON PEOPLE EXCHANGING IDEAS.”

Downtown Fort Worth is experiencing its urban renaissance. In less than twenty years, the downtown area has seen an influx of roughly eight-thousand new residents. Of course, with the growth in residents also comes the growth of businesses. With new money and residents reinvigorating the area, investment has also grown in infrastructure and urban development.  Helping to foster this development is Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.

Enter Andy Taft. Mr. Taft has served as the president of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. for more than sixteen years now. In that time,  DFWI successfully assisted many developments that have transformed downtown Ft. Worth into a clean, safe, and fun area for both businesses and residents alike. The key, he says, is focusing on the community. By building up an area with exciting new restaurants, parks, and local offerings while also cleaning up downtown to make it visually fun and inviting, you create an area that residents want to spend time in. As more and more residents decide this is a place they want to live, more businesses are popping up to accommodate them. 

“JUST A PHONE CALL [AWAY]”

One could be forgiven for believing Mr.  Taft to be a hospitality professional given his focus on the comfort and entertainment of DFW residents, but make no mistake, Andy has his finger on the pulse as an urban developer for the downtown area. Mr. Taft began his career in Tampa, Florida as a commercial real estate professional, a background which certainly lends some insight into identifying the value of metropolitan properties. Then in 1997 he worked to redevelop the downtown area of Shreveport, Louisiana and in in 2003 he was recruited by Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. to serve as their new president. After sixteen years of robust growth and development, Andy believes the future is brighter still.

“GROWTH IS GOING TO INCREASE WITH CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION.”

Mr. Taft's sees residential and hospitality growth as the near term Downtown Fort Worth market leaders. Currently, there are several different residential developments under construction in the downtown area, and they are certainly hard to miss. These developments account for 2,400 new residential units.  Accommodating new residents goes beyond simply housing them. DFWI has launched an ambassador team to make sure residents, workers and visitors feel safe and welcome in downtown.  They also promote local and regional public transit that serves the downtown area. Furthermore, DFWI recognizes the importance of making public spaces both appealing and functional for downtown residents. 

That said, Mr. Taft also recognizes the need to expand businesses in Downtown Ft. Worth. Over the years, DFWI has helped set the stage for new restaurants, retailers, and entertainment providers to move into the downtown area.  They have helped recruit new office users, redevelop historic buildings and find sites for new hotels.  This has created a diverse market that suits the lifestyle of the many young and seasoned professionals and entrepreneurs moving into downtown neighborhoods. These investments have also made Downtown Fort Worth a popular stop for tourists. Luxury hotels have begun opening in the area to meet the demand. However, Andy believes a new Convention Center will promote even more growth in the area. The Convention Center will soon undergo a half-billion-dollar expansion. This expansion is projected to bring in even more businesses and residents, and serve as an attraction for more tourists. Downtown Fort Worth is undeniably a hotbed of opportunity these days.

“NOTHING HAPPENS UNLESS TWO PEOPLE TALK TO EACH OTHER”

In addition to being leaders in the Downtown FW community, Andy Taft and DFWI are now CityCentral partners.  The partnership is an ideal match.  CityCentral and DFWI are dedicated to the growth and prosperity of businesses and the greater Downtown Fort Worth community. However, Andy believes CityCentral’s contribution to the Downtown Fort Worth area goes beyond its tangible offerings. According to Andy, innovation comes from the interactions of ambitious minds. Communities, like that of CityCentral, provide a platform for ambitious entrepreneurs to interact in the real world and develop new and innovative ideas. He hopes that the innovators in these communities come to love Downtown Ft. Worth and bring their ideas and business downtown. 

When he began his real estate career, the best piece of advice he got was that “nothing happens unless two people talk to each other,” Taft said, “...that is what happens at CityCentral and in Downtown Fort Worth. Entrepreneurs and creatives and businesspeople working in these collaborative office spaces share ideas and create new ones.  That’s what civilization is built on, it’s what breeds success and success is why we are all here.”