Presented By

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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas Monday, March 21, at 8:04pm on Main St.

Art Ortiz

For Art Ortiz, 2011 was one of those years, the kind in which a carefully built life implodes in a few short months. He lost his job, missed a shot at his dream career, and his wife left him. Two things remained: a neighborhood he loved and his dogs.

“I didn’t know what to do,” he says. “I was walking downtown with my three little dogs. People would ask me if I was a dog walker. I would actually get insulted.” 

But he had extra time and needed the money, so he began walking his friends’ dogs and quickly noticed he had a knack for it. The dogs responded to his calm and reassuring demeanor. In 2012, Ortiz launched DogFit Dallas, which now has 67 clients, two employees, and a waiting list. Nearly 90 percent of his business is focused on Main Street in downtown Dallas. “I help dogs with people problems,” Ortiz, who is from Del Rio, jokes.  

Just 25 years ago, when Dallas’ downtown had a population of 200 people, Ortiz would not have been able to make a living this way. A few vacant department stores and office buildings had been renovated into residential properties. But it wasn’t until 2005, when Forest City brokered a deal with the city to use more than $60 million to revamp Mercantile Place, that downtown’s residential population really started to grow. Its surroundings grew with it—adding green spaces (Main Street Garden, Belo Garden, and Klyde Warren Park), the Arts District, a luxury retailer (Traffic Los Angeles), and top restaurants (Dallas Chop House, CBD Provisions, Stephan Pyles). Neiman Marcus’ flagship store remained as an anchor. The current population stands at 8,000. In five years, Downtown Dallas Inc. estimates, that number will jump to 13,000. For people like 38-year-old Ortiz, this means business will only get better.

 “I really do love being in the city, so I really wanted to make it work, no matter what it took,” Ortiz says. “Even if I couldn’t afford shoes or I had to miss a meal, I wanted to be here. I wanted to be a part of this growth.”