Thursday, January 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022
50° F Dallas, TX


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Heather Marcus

The Artist

Her brightly cluttered studio is a stark contrast to the gray stone manor that houses it in Highland Park. It’s just down the hall from her teen-age daughter’s bedroom. The walls that lead to it are scratched and nicked, obviously from her efforts to get pieces of raw sheet metal through the door and back out again as works of art. Inside the converted room, half-full tubes of paint line bookcase shelves. Favorite or long-forgotten works hang precariously from nails, and some rest on ledges near the ceiling.

To a stranger, the studio looks like a jumbled mess. To Heather Marcus, it is a haven. She essentially leads three lives, a conventional one as the mother of two teen-agers, a “ceremonial” one as the wife of department store executive Richard Marcus and a professional one as an artist.

She calls herself a “construc-tivist,” a label that perfectly describes her domestic-scale sheet metal art, which from a distance, looks like huge, three-dimensional paper puzzles pieced together with nuts and bolts. The work’s are often a combination of sheet metal and aluminum; most are painted vivid colors, and some are textured. “I cut with metal cutters and then drill and punch holes so I can bolt things together. I started out not liking the bolts, then I decided I liked them.” She says her children think she’s “a bit crazy.”

The former graphic artist and Kansas City, Mo., native held her first exhibit of new metal works last December at the Nimbus Gallery in Oak Lawn and sold eight of the 11 that were on display. She used that money to pay for a year’s rent on a larger studio in Deep Ellum. She says she desperately needs the space so that she can work on larger pieces, some of which she’ll use in a San Francisco exhibit set for the end of the year.

She says rather matter-of-factly that, at 45, she doesn’t fear what art critics may eventually have to say about her work, and concedes she doesn’t like everything she creates. As proof, she says she destroyed nearly all her paintings. (“It was a stage I had to go through).” “I don’t think critics are very interested in what I do because what I do is not being done right now. It’s not popular, which is just fine with me.”

Jerry Fults

The Real Estate Broker

The thing you learn about Jerry Fults after you’ve known him for a while is that his quiet, calm demeanor is really a cover for a man who savors risk. Fults, true to his nature, is setting new standards in project marketing that his competitors in commercial real estate leasing will have to take note of. As president of Fults & Associates, he heads a staff with a strong background in marketing and leasing mixed-use projects.

Fults is a 12-year veteran of the real estate industry and the 1984 recipient of the Stemmons Award given by the Commercial and Investment division of the Greater Dallas Board of Realtors for outstanding professional and civic contributions. It’s that reputation for experience that he says landed him the job to lease one of the most architecturally distinctive and sought-after projects in Dallas: The Crescent.

Fults, 48, learned in 1982 that the Rosewood Corp. and partner Phillip Shepherd of Shepherd + Boyd USA had picked his company to market and lease the office space in the highly touted Crescent, under construction just north of downtown. When completed it will feature 1.25 million square feet of office space, a 226-room hotel and 175,000 square feet of retail space. Fults says he put all his energy into his marketing and leasing presentation because he knew he was up against much larger local companies such as Henry S. Miller Co., The Swearingen Co. and Hank Dickerson, as well as nationwide competition from Coldwell Banker and Cush-man/Wakefield. Shepherd, Fults recalls, seemed to like the fact that Fults and Associates (only a year old at the time) would have a lot riding on the succcess of the project. Fults says he used what he learned from handling mixed-use projects as a Swearingen Co. leasing director for the Plaza of the Americas downtown and from his continued work with Park Central in North Dallas. He presented a “critical path” marketing plan for the Crescent, which highlighted the need for a lavish, art-filled marketing center, and conservatively projected it would take three years after completion to fill the project.

But leasing is going better than he thought with the announcement that Goldman Sachs & Co., one of the nation’s largest investment banking firms, will be a major tenant, and he strongly hints that he has a major law firm and a major accounting firm in the bag. “I suspect we will be 40 percent leased by completion of construction [set for early 1986]. 1 feel very comfortable with that, and that will be three years ahead of schedule. The reputation of the project has to precede the project. It has to seep out like a ground fog. This is what we’ve been doing for the past year at the marketing center with black-tie parties and endorsement of the arts.”

Sources in the industry say The Crescent is the “No. 1 topic” of conversation for companies (such as Trammell Crow Co., Bramalea Texas Inc. and Cadillac Fairview) that have a critical stake in keeping their tenants in their downtown buildings. “The Crescent needs large tenants and downtown is the obvious pool,” says an industry source, who asked not to be named. “We’re concerned that some of the large firms might start going north of Woodall Rodgers.”

Fults doesn’t forget for a moment that The Crescent is in an overbuilt market and is competing for tenants with every office building in Dallas. But he touts the city’s ability to gobble up that office space at a faster rate than ever. “We don’t see anything that is going to keep Dallas from absorbing in excess of 8 million to 9 million this year. How’s that for going out on a limb?”

Richard Giesecke

The “Boutique” Banker

Richard Giesecke, president of the Turtle Creek National Bank in Oak Lawn, doesn’t flinch a bit if you remind him he runs an upscale “boutique bank.” To him, that’s simply “an acknowledgement that you can’t provide all the service that a big bank can provide.”

The bank opened in late 1983, backed by $5 million in capital from its founders, Jess Hay, Mack Pogue, John Schoellkopf, Frederick Tycher and Martin Tycher-men who undoubtedly top a list of “who’s who” in the Dallas business arena. Hay and the Tychers were Giesecke’s customers during the bank president’s 12-year stint at InterFirst Bank Dallas. They asked him to come on board, and he accepted. Giesecke says the first week was the most difficult period in opening the new bank. “We started with just me. I had to find a secretary, buy a typewriter, find a copying machine and negotiate a lease.” Since then, assets for the bank have grown to a little more than $60 million by the end of 1984.

Giesecke, 36, says Turtle Creek National Bank aggressively seeks clients from the real estate community and lower- and middle-market businesses as well as professionals and executives. The bank’s directors, including the Tychers, Schoellkopf, Giesecke, John Sexton, John B. Lowe, Jr., Walter Henrion, Philip Cowen and Robert Dickson, hope to get even closer to their customers this month by being the first suburban bank to open a full-service remote facility in downtown Dallas. For years Texas law did not permit “branch banking,” but regulations were loosened about a year and a half ago and now remote facilities within about 10,000 feet of the home bank are allowed.

The new facility is located on the Ervay Street side of the first floor of the new Lincoln Plaza. Giesecke says it will be convenient to professionals such as architects, accountants and attorneys.

Giesecke is a University of Texas at Austin graduate, serves of the board of the Texas Lyceum and served on the board of directors of a small bank in his home town of Marble Falls. He says running a small bank is nothing like working for InterFirst. “Here, I like the close contact and the ability to make a decision and respond to customers more quickly. Less bureauracy is a real joy and a relief.”