Hey downtown Fort Worth, take a bow….
A low unemployment rate, a high occupancy rate of both residential and retail and a bounty of museums, parks and entertainment venues – including a twice-daily parade of longhorn steers – add up to Fort Worth being America’s top downtown for 2014.
“Having a great downtown is about more than just having a great main street,” said Matt Carmichael, editor of Livability.com, which released its ranking of 2014’s top 10 Best Downtowns on March 17. “A downtown should have a cultural and retail focal point, like a main street, but it has to expand beyond that, providing a solid core for the entire community,” Carmichael said. Livability ranked Cowtown with the best downtown, among other reasons, for remaining close to its agricultural roots. It cites the 118-year-old Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and the historic Fort Worth Stockyards as crowd pleasers, alongside new developments – including Sundance Square and the Trinity River Vision Project – that add residential, office and retail options.
The downtown area’s central business occupancy rate of 92 percent leads all Texas cities, according to Livability, and its retail vacancy rate fell by 2.6 percent between 2012 and 2013. “Few downtowns have achieved the cohesion between cowboy culture and urban sophistication that Fort Worth has,” Livability writes. Livability also ranked Bass Performance Hall at the top of the list of downtown performance venues. Rounding out the list are: Providence, R.I.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Provo, Utah; Alexandria, Va.; Frederick, Md.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Bellingham, Wash.; Eugene, Ore.; and Birmingham, Ala.