Developer hopes to lure major employers to long-overlooked part of Dallas

Looking out a window of his office near the top of the Comerica Bank Tower in downtown Dallas, Hoque Global CEO Mike Hoque has a clear view of what he wants to change.

He sees the long-overlooked southern portions of the city where he is developing two major projects he hopes will lure in big employers to Dallas proper rather than the suburbs and outlying cities.

“When a company almost out of Dallas goes to Sherman to put a $30 billion investment — look through the window, it’s all green,” Hoque said, referring to Richardson-based Texas Instruments’ decision to build a semiconductor chipmaking campus in the city an hour north of Dallas instead of the area south that he can see from his window.

On June 22, the Dallas City Council voted to provide incentives for the two developments, both of which are designed to spur further economic growth — one on the south side of downtown and the other next to the University of North Texas at Dallas campus.

Hoque Global CEO Mike Hoque is pictured in his office at the Comerica Bank Tower in Dallas....
Hoque Global CEO Mike Hoque is pictured in his office at the Comerica Bank Tower in Dallas. He is developing the Newpark mixed-use development on the south side of downtown and University Hills, a master-planned community near the UNT-Dallas campus.(Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

“I think our leaders are finally understanding that for us to grow Dallas, we have to grow south,” Hoque said. “There’s no other choice, because if we think that we’re going to have real growth, that we have an opportunity to bring companies, we have to create that ‘why.’ ”

Council members approved $96.1 million in economic support for the proposed Newpark development on the south side of downtown near City Hall, which will feature a 38-story office, residential and hotel tower as its centerpiece alongside a 20-acre district of new buildings along Canton and Cadiz streets.

The property was one of the development sites that was pitched to Amazon in 2017 when it was looking for second headquarters office locations. While that pursuit failed, Hoque wants the project to be ready for the next Amazon that looks at Dallas.

“If you’re in New York City, sitting down having a drink, and somebody says, ‘Hey, I just was in Dallas last week because my company is thinking about moving their headquarters,’ and you say, ‘Well, which part of Dallas?’ and they say The Shops at Legacy, that’s embarrassing for us.”

Further south, Hoque plans to acquire 270 acres next to the UNT-Dallas campus, proposed as a mixed-use community he calls a “university town” with hundreds of single-family homes and townhomes alongside 1,500 apartments and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space.

The first phase is planned to include more than 500 single-family homes, 250 apartments and almost 200,000 square feet of offices and retail.

Phase one of University Hills received the green light for up to $31.4 million in incentives. The infrastructure will be paid for with tax increment financing, meaning the additional tax revenue generated by the project will be used to offset the costs of building in the area.

A conceptual rendering shows Hoque Global's plan to develop the 270-acre University Hills...
A conceptual rendering shows Hoque Global’s plan to develop the 270-acre University Hills community in southern Dallas.(Courtesy Page/)

Hoque, a Bangladesh-born businessman, started his business more than 20 years ago with limousines and event management and has since become involved in several major developments, including the planned 15-acre SoGood mixed-use development on the south end of downtown and the renovation of the historic Adolphus Tower along Main Street. His company owns several local-favorite restaurant concepts, including Dallas Chop House, Chop House Burger, Wild Salsa and Dallas Fish Market.

Hoque says he imagines the Newpark project as a complete, walkable neighborhood surrounding the university, with offices for employers in fields such as life sciences and biotech intertwined with a variety of housing options. He also wants to buy additional parcels of land surrounding the site for potential future phases of development.

He compared his concept to Orlando’s Lake Nona, a master-planned community centered around education and life sciences.

Late last year, UNT-Dallas landed a $100 million investment from the state for a new science building that is in the planning process and anticipated to open by the start of the 2025-26 school year, and Hoque wants to tap into that. He is working with commercial developer KDC on the office portion.

“We already have a university, we don’t have to go get it. Now we’re going to take advantage of that and create more qualified jobs, not just warehouses,” Hoque said. “We have millions and millions of square feet of warehouses with low-paying jobs. That’s the only easy thing to do, so everybody’s doing that; I don’t…

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