The 1970s also saw a real estate boom as rural land in the area gave way to commercial and residential development. The Washington Senators moved to Arlington in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers, adding to the growth of the Mid-Cities. Republic Bank and First National Bank became the first of several local banks to form large holding companies, changing forever the way people and businesses managed their money. Following the Arab oil embargo of 1974, a second real estate boom began in 1977. By 1978, the price of oil skyrocketed from $13 to $30 a barrel.
The Dallas Cowboys became America’s Team, appearing in four Super Bowls, and the city lent its name to an immensely popular television show depicting the infamous Ewing family.
The dominant force in the first half of the 1980s was the real estate and construction industry, which broke records in many categories. The boom was fueled by oil money and unprecedented migration from the Snow Belt.
Dallas also initiated major projects in the 1980s designed to improve the quality of life for residents, attract visitors, and establish a center for culture, entertainment, and nightlife in downtown Dallas. The creation of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and the construction of Reunion Arena also helped bolster the downtown area and enhance Dallas’s image. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) was chartered in 1983 to help alleviate the increasing traffic in and around Dallas.
However, in the second half of the 1980s, a general economic decline brought on by a drop in the price of oil put an end to many visible signs of growth. Headlines told of bankruptcies, savings-and-loan closings, bank bailouts, and an overbuilt real estate market. However, that same market yielded attractive real estate prices and prompted a flood of corporate relocations to the area—JCPenny Co. Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., GTE Telephone Operations, MCI, and Greyhound Lines.
Dallas entered a new era of growth leading into the 1990s. Alliance Airport north of Fort Worth opened in 1989 as the first phase of a major residential, retail, and business development. Dallas later added the American Airlines Center for sports and concerts.
On January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) came into force, Dallas took a huge step toward joining the ranks of major international trade cities like New York, Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, and Cairo. In 2005, DFW International Airport added a 1.8 million square-foot international terminal complete with an attached Grand Hyatt hotel.
Suburbs such as Plano, McKinney, Cedar Hill and Southlake showed healthy growth as more corporations relocated to and expanded in the Metroplex. Important contributors to the area’s vitality included Capital One Corp., United Parcel Service of America Inc., AT&T, and the Container Store Inc. To meet the demands of residents and businesses, Dallas has improved public transportation through its DART light rail system and Trinity Railway Express.
From a town of two cabins to a city of more than one million people, Dallas has come a long way in 150 years. Its founder’s original vision of progress and growth shows no sign of slowing down as the city continues to make history.
Dallas New Comer and Relocation Guide