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Dallas 500

Meet the Dallas 500: Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, Harwood International

The Harwood District developer talks about transitioning leadership, his key business strategies, and what lies ahead in the future of office space.
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Gabriel Barbier-Mueller

The founder and CEO of Harwood International—which developed the Harwood District boasting more than 5 million square feet of office, residential, and retail space—Gabriel Barbier-Mueller is looking to the future as his two sons begin to take the reins at the company. It’s also a time of growth at Harwood as Barbier-Mueller added several new restaurants to the district over the past year.

Education: Southern Methodist University (BA)

Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland

Proud Moment: “My greatest recent success is the transition from my leadership to that of my two adult sons Alexis and Oliver who oversee our four verticals. On the more personal and cultural front, my daughter Niña has taken the helm of our samurai museum and traveling exhibitions while also establishing a solid lobby art display program across our 19-city block Harwood District. She’s also curating with her team the art program that will populate our upcoming boutique hotel which will become the vibrant heart of Harwood District.”

Destinations of Choice: “Paris for its art, history, and architecture; Zurich in Switzerland for pristine landscapes, quaint old towns, people, and food; Colorado for the snow and endless mountain range views; then the department of the Var, in the South of France, for the green mountains along the blue Mediterranean Sea.”

Key Leadership Strategy: “The key leadership strategies that I value most are building the proper foundations in order to look ahead. For instance, planning one’s own succession to secure continuity in building a successful enterprise. First, I had to learn how to manage and execute, then learn how to transfer knowledge or teach, then the final act of letting the doing to successors.”

Walk-up Song: “Mr. Scruff’s ‘Get a Move On.’ One of the many types of music we play throughout our District lobbies, parking garages, and restaurants.”

Go-to Adviser: “Over the years I’ve selected a few trusted business advisers. Ten years ago, looking at our enterprise, I decided to focus on my succession. To facilitate a harmonious but aggressive growth strategy, we carefully selected family business advisers both in the United States and abroad. They are a touch point for each of us every week.”

Future Forecast: “After many decades of successful commercial real estate projects, I’m keenly interested in the future of office buildings and to understand the needs of people as well as their wants. I was very intrigued by Julia Hobsbawm’s new book The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future. The part about creating more permeable cities where new places to work exist to fit individual’s preferred patterns is inspiring. We’ve always believed that in Harwood District people could work outdoors in our nine acres of parks or gardens, or in one of our 11 restaurants or patios.”

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D CEO Staff

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