Dallas-Fort Worth stakes claim as a place with a shared civic vision

By David Pendered

A full-page ad that ran last week in The Wall Street Journal promotes the Dallas-Fort Worth region as a “well-oiled machine” that’s becoming known as “the DFW.”

Briggs Freeman, Dallas-Fort Worth

A unified vision for Dallas-Fort Worth is being promoted by a real estate firm, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. Credit: briggsfreeman.com

This type of ad is about more than regional bragging rights. It speaks to the very real economic competition between two mega regions anchored by Dallas-Fort Worth and metro Atlanta, the later being a place where many are careful not to refer to the region as the ATL.

DFW has been trying to brand itself as a region since 2002, when the chambers of commerce for the two cities set off to Montreal on their first joint branding campaign.

Metro Atlanta is no slouch at self-promotion. But the region’s strongest calling cards of late have been Atlanta’s airport and proximity to the Port of Savannah.

This is why a full-page ad run that trumpets the DFW is of note – especially when that ad appears to have been purchased by a single business.

The ad contains a brief, but adequate, description the region by Robbie Briggs, president and CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

Briggs Freeman, Dallas-Fort Worth

Robbie Briggs, CEO of Briggs Freeman, appears in a full page ad in The Wall Street Journal to promote the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Credit: The Wall Street Journal

Briggs writes about how DFW residents roam the region to take in cultural or sporting events, or to enjoy boating on Lake Lewisville. He winds up with a few thoughts about the Dallas Cowboys and how they are a team for the region:

  • “The team relocated from the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park to Texas Stadium in Irving back in 1971. Today they play home games in Arlington, have practice facilities in Valley Ranch, and plan to introduce a new Frisco headquarters in 2016. Yet they’re still known to the world as the Dallas Cowboys. There is no doubt that including ‘Dallas’ in the team’s name, even though they haven’t been in the city for years, remains an important part of an overarching brand strategy.”

Somehow, Briggs’ comment strike a different tone from a now infamous quote that emanated from Atlanta City Hall as the Atlanta Braves announced their relocation to a new ballpark in Cobb County.

Atlanta officials clearly were miffed that the Braves had left Turner Field. The departure smacked a civic pride that has long relished the can-do spirit reflected in the words of Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., who said in 1965 that the original stadium was built in 364 days:

  • “On land we didn’t know, with money we didn’t have, and for teams we had not signed.”

Forty-eight years after Allen’s remarks, this is how Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s deputy COO characterized the Braves relocation to Smyrna:

  • “They are still the Atlanta Braves. They are not going to call themselves the Cobb Crackers, or the Smyrna [expletive deleted]. They will still be the Atlanta Braves, and that is an indication of the value of the city,” Hans Utz, the deputy COO, wrote in an email. Utz, the city’s top negotiator with the Braves, was suspended after the email was made public.

Briggs’ remarks conclude with this paragraph:

  • “Clearly, there is something for everyone in this expansive place we call home. The entire space works together today, much like a well-oiled machine. That is why Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty recently announced the opening of our next office in Fort Worth. With offices all over the area now, we can best represent this sprawling area increasingly known to the world as the DFW.”

The ad does recognize the old saying that everything’s bigger in Texas. That includes real estate, such as the spread the ad describes as, “A Giant TEXAS Opportunity.” The ranch covers almost 800 square miles, with 510,000 contiguous acres across six counties. The ranch is described as the largest U.S. ranch, “under one fence.”

The price tag is $725 million.

Briggs Freeman, Dallas-Fort Worth

A Texas-sized spread is offered for sale, for $725 million, in an ad that promotes the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Credit: The Wall Street Journal

Briggs Freeman, Dallas-Fort Worth

Cultural arts are highlighted in an ad that promotes the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Credit: The Wall Street Journal

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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