The proposed Texas bullet train would connect Dallas and Houston. (Photo courtesy of Texas Central Partners)

Commercial Real Estate

Developer Says Bullet-Train Project Will ‘Change the Way People Think About the Center of Dallas’

Jack Matthews foresees a mix of office, hotel, residential, and retail space on his Cedars acreage around the Dallas terminus.

One reason supporters like the proposed, 90-minute bullet train between Dallas and Houston is its potential to jump-start new real estate development. Indeed, The Real Estate Council in Dallas, which endorsed the high-speed rail project in January, said the $12 billion venture would be a “catalyst for a growing and robust” real estate market, and would attract new businesses and residents. “We feel pretty positive about it,” says Linda McMahon, TREC’s president and CEO.

As currently envisioned, the project’s Dallas terminus would be located in the Cedars district, south of Interstate 30, on 60 acres owned for five years or so by developer Jack Matthews, president of Matthews Southwest. Matthews—who’s also an investor in, and a board member for, the privately financed bullet-train project—says the station’s acreage lies between Lamar Street and Riverfront Boulevard, just south of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

There, he says, the plan is to “build the newest part of downtown” Dallas around the train station with a blend of office, residential, hotel, and retail space. Preliminary design work on the rail station has already begun, Matthews says, and design for the commercial real estate projects will follow as deals come together.

“Say a hotel wants to go in,” he says. “Some hotels might want us to build and develop the property. Or, we might sell the land to them, or do a joint venture. We’ve piqued the imagination of a lot of different people wanting to be involved.”

“We’re at the very beginning, but [there’s apt to be] a mix of everything, including a full mix of apartments, high rises, condos—to own, as well as to rent,” Matthews goes on. “Walk-ability will be important, too. … We think [the development] will change the way people think about the center of Dallas.”

As for critics who contend the bullet-train project is mainly a “commercial real estate venture” being pushed by private real estate speculators looking to make money, Matthews says, “I hope they do, because I’m one of them! I hope they’re right about that.”


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  • kduble

    This all underscores the shortcoming of the first rail terminal in the history of human civilization in which a passenger can’t change trains without access to rubber-tire transportation. It’s being configured as a gee-whiz real estate development bauble rather than a transit hub. Thus is the drawback of private over public funding. Locating the terminal 2/3 of a mile from the nearest rail connection adds additional risk to this project.

    TCR, once the surrounding real estate is built out and leased, will Jack respect you in the morning?

    • Los_Politico

      I agree that there are better locations with better transfer connections. But if you are traveling to NYC and arrive via Metro North in Grand Central Station, you have to walk quite a distance to transfer to the subway. For example, to get to Lincoln Center from Metro North you have to walk a couple of blocks inside Grand Central, go down stairs, take the shuttle to Times Square, walk a couple more blocks, go up stairs, get on the 1 and then take it 3 stops.

      I would imagine that we will have similar infrastructure built up over time that will shuttle you to Union Station so you can transfer from the bullet train to DART and then get to where you need to go. The real problem with this train is the Houston terminus.

      • Garl Boyd Latham

        What an asinine comparison!

        Ken Duble is absolutely correct. If this approach by our city and Matthews Southwest comes to fruition unchecked, railway passengers (and transit users, overall) will once again find their legitimate needs ignored.

        Grand Central Terminal [sic], indeed!

  • Paul Marrack

    I’m sure it’s great for developers. They will make $$$ at the expense of those of us that will lose our land and homes that we have worked hard for. It will ultimately fail and become a tax burden.

  • RompingWillyBilly

    The idiots are those psychopaths that run the ponzi schemes. Instead, the best way to rip the people off is directly and aboveboard as sociopaths. Indeed, remember back when they tried a similar scheme of building a bullet train thirty years ago? While manufacturing the event of creating lots of red tape to stand in their way of ever completing the product, those sly cronies too were just pretending back then to get the train built. During that time, they too were also getting fat eating cheesecake while rubbing elbows with similar corrupt figures in city government.
    And what is it with this downtown nonsense? In the real world, Downtown Dallas has become the area around Harwood and the Crescent. The old downtown is just growing today as an extension of it. We all know this. The only reason the city officials pretend not to is to push their crony agenda.
    And this old social policy of using tax payer money to push south into the poverty of South Dallas has to be the biggest ruse of them all. Want to end up living ten feet below the sewer? Here is the trick. In place of buying an actual quality product within a package, fall for supporting the idea of equality outside of it.

  • Donovan Maretick

    This is a land grab plain and simple. My family and I have been threatened by these crooks to sell them our land or lose it through eminent domain. They have never been given eminent domain authority but yet they threaten people with it daily. Texas Central should be held accountable for this and should be charged criminally. Help support legislation currently in the House to hold Texas Central accountable for their actions. They should never receive eminent domain authority and should not get federally backed loans which they will certainly default on.

    • Darryl Gonzalez

      I wonder what those same realtors will do when the train fails to get the passenger count needed to survive.

  • Thats one short shinkansen.