By Joe Farkus, NDG Contributing Writer
Three major business proposals aimed at revitalizing southern Dallas neighborhoods received financial backing at The Real Estate Council (TREC) Shark Tank event at Gilley’s Thursday, Nov. 2. While the night was intended to highlight three projects that will serve as part of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ “GrowSouth” initiative, much of the buzz surrounding this glitzy event was centered on Dallas Mavericks owner and reality TV star Mark Cuban, who opened the event with Rawlings.
“Dallas is big enough that we don’t all know about all the assets we have in the city,” said Cuban. “TREC gives us the ability to be introduced to parts of town that some of us may not know where there are amazing deals; there are amazing opportunities. I think the Shark Tank format…is a great way to do it.”
The format used during last Thursday’s event was adopted from the hit TV show Cuban stars in, ABC’s Shark Tank, where business start-ups and entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of potential investors who examine, interrogate, and negotiate a deal with the askers if interested. TREC, whose community fund helps financially support real estate projects in Dallas and Collin County, brought together five of Dallas’ top real estate investors for this little taste of Hollywood.
“We’ve got to make sure that that base core entrepreneurship can be enabled in the city of Dallas, whether you’re an electrician, a beautician, a programmer – whatever it may be,” Cuban continued.
All three of the entrepreneurial groups that presented received financial backing of some sort. Rodney Burchfield and Burchfield & Partners, Inc., who plans on renovating and expanding Dallas Executive Airport by constructing a 70,000 square-foot maintenance and repair hangar, received a grand total of $1.35 million from the five investors present.
Representatives from the Dallas Unity Fund, who intend on putting professionally remodeled homes on currently vacant lots in South Dallas and selling them at an affordable price for prospective home buyers in the area, received $250,000 from Civitas Capital Investments Director Tillie Borchers to help develop the organization’s proposal further.
The final participant appeared to impress the “sharks” the most. South Dallas dentist Dr. Michelle Morgan and Vector Studies, LLC intend to convert an abandoned hospital on Martin Luther King Boulevard into a state-of-the-art health and wellness center deemed “Legacy of Hope”. The center would specifically address the health needs of the southern Dallas community as well as providing a dental and medical assisting school to train young people and help them move into the medical industry. Morgan and Bailey were able to receive a modified deal from all of the sharks at a total of $500,000.
“We’ve got a lot of history that this city’s been divided by a river,” said Rawlings, “and now we’re getting a little bit more creative. The profile of southern Dallas needs to get higher and higher and more and more. Let’s make these three successful.”