Developer Mike Ablon, the public head of the public-private partnership that’s managing the development of the park near the Trinity River, officially filed to run for mayor today.
Ablon is the second candidate to formally throw his hat in the ring for next May’s election. Albert Black, the Oak Cliff businessman and Baylor Scott & White board member, filed to run in July. (Ablon’s filing isn’t yet on the city’s website, but the city secretary’s office confirmed that it had been submitted and was being processed.)
Ablon was boarding a plane Wednesday afternoon and declined to comment until Monday, so we’ll talk about his platform then. But he’s a real estate developer held in high regard who was one of the drivers of the transformation of the Design District. Alongside investment group Lionstone, PegasusAblon scooped up 40 acres of land and 700,000 square feet of showroom space from Crow Holdings in 2007. They picked up where Trammell Crow left off, bringing in a mix of new uses to the neighborhood—restaurants and bars and coffee shops and more than 1,000 multifamily units. He refused to rent to national chains, instead favoring locals. His vision helped open up a broader potential for the neighborhood, which had for years been used as a supply and warehouse center for home builders and designers and the like, with some galleries and antique shops scattered around.
His firm sold its properties in the neighborhood in 2014. Ablon has been a proponent for the individuality of Dallas neighborhoods.
“The city is just now getting into a maturity, where it has a depth to these places,” Ablon told me four years ago for a piece in American Way magazine. “Now, (tourists) could say, I was in Dallas and went to the Design District or XYZ neighborhood and I thought it was really special. Five years from now there will be 10 of these neighborhoods. And 50 years after that there will be 20 of these neighborhoods, and 50 years after that, there’ll be New York.”
You’ve likely seen Ablon’s name most recently associated with the Harold Simmons Park in the Trinity River levees. Mayor Mike Rawlings last year appointed him to be the head of the local governmental corporation, or LGC, that’s overseeing the development of a 200-acre park. Prior to that, he largely stayed out of politics.Read More