Dallas 500

Meet the 500: South Dallas Pioneer Jack Matthews

In this extended Q&A, the formidable developer talks about who he wants to have dinner with, what book he thinks you should read, and his favorite inspirational quote.

Jack Matthews, tapped by his father to expand the family real estate company beyond Canada, picked Dallas and opened an outpost in 1988. It was a good move.

Matthews Southwest is behind high-profile projects in Texas and around the world. Locally, His latest venture: a rail station for the planned high-speed train between Dallas and Houston. As of late, the South Side developer is working with Ray Washburne to redevelop the former headquarters of The Dallas Morning News. Exact plans for the project have not been revealed, but early talks suggested a boutique hotel and entertainment and restaurant venues in buildings next to the Convention Center and the Omni Dallas Hotel, which was developed by Matthews.

D CEO: What piece of advice has had the greatest impact on your career?

MATTHEWS: Your word is your bond. Under promise and over deliver. 

D CEO: If you could have dinner with any two Dallas Fort Worth business leaders, who would you choose and why?

MATTHEWS: Bobby Lyle and Willis Johnson. Good people, doing good things for their city, family, and friends. They’re a lot of fun, too. 

D CEO: What is one book you think everyone should read?

MATTHEWS: Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown. I read it 40 years ago and its lessons have stayed with me. 

D CEO: What is an office/home accessory or tool you can’t live without?

MATTHEWS: Phone and iPad of course.

D CEO: What has been your company’s latest big win?

MATTHEWS: On average, a project for us takes about 7 years, so I guess our biggest win was continuing to work beside the best in the business, whether it was in the hotel, office, industrial, residential, or entertainment business.

D CEO: What did 2020 teach you?

MATTHEWS: As prepared as we think we are, we are never really prepared for all.

D CEO: What is one thing you would change about Dallas to make it even better? 

MATTHEWS: I look forward to a time when the potential of South Dallas is realized. When banking, getting groceries, going to school, and getting to your job is just as easy as in other parts of the city.

D CEO: What has you most excited about the future? 

MATTHEWS: I look forward to having Trinity Park tie the City together through its overlooks and  Harold Simmons Park. I envision a place where no matter where you are from, the color of your skin, how much money you make, you are happy and welcome on the overlooks or between the levies.

D CEO: What quote pumps you up?

MATTHEWS: ‘To thine own self be true‘ is a line from act 1 scene 3 of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. It is spoken by King Claudius’ chief minister, Polonius, as part of a speech where he is giving his son, Laertes, his blessing and advice on how to behave whilst at university. 

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