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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