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Sylvan Thirty Owner Brent Jackson On Taking Risks in West Dallas

Sylvan Thirty owner and developer Brent Jackson (left) with KERA's vice president of news Rick Holter.

It’s been a huge week for West Dallas. Springtime crowds are flocking to the Trinity Groves collection of restaurants. And the neighborhood’s first grocery store, Cox Farms Market, opened Thursday. It’s the first opening at the Sylvan Thirty complex, which also plans to include apartments and retail space. For this week’s Friday Conversation, Sylvan Thirty owner/developer Brent Jackson sat down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter.

Interview Highlights: Brent Jackson...

...on why he decided to build in West Dallas: "I think there’s a misperception of crime in the area, and consequently, there was a real value opportunity. Where others perceived risk and I recognized there was not as much risk. That always presents on opportunity. So I decided to take some chances."

...on why he built a grocery store before an apartment development: "There was existing demand for this particular use. The grocer’s product, which is 50 percent produce, is of high demand in the area. So really, we could’ve built to the existing demand and not have had the [apartments] and still be OK. ... My wife has constantly been asking me: 'When can get the stroller and walk up and do my shopping?'"

...on the fate of the Alamo Plaza sign that was taken down: "... It is my opinion that this particular sign is an art piece and it needs to be treated as such. And so what I’m committed to is three things. One, is to look at its past and honor its past and what it was as a past artifact. Two, to recognize what it is physically as an art piece. And three, to try to implement it in a way that’s meaningful to the future. I’m committed to making this be a really special artistic feature for the project."

Got a tip? Rick Holter is vice president of news of KERA. Email him at You can follow him on Twitter at @rickholter.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.