By Matthew Berger, Director of Communications
Since 1984, Monte Anderson has been improving Southern Dallas through countless real estate projects. The Dallas Regional Chamber spoke to the Options Real Estate president as part of its new Community Conversations series, which features gamechangers rewriting the narrative in Southern Dallas County.
“I grew up in South Oak Cliff, and many years ago, I dedicated my life to making Southern Dallas County a better place for my kids and grandkids,” Anderson said. “I wanted my friends and neighbors to own businesses and real estate and get the wealth instead of someone from out of town. I made a conscious effort for this as my purpose.”
Here is the full conversation:
What projects are you currently working on in Southern Dallas County?
“We’re currently working on Wheatland Plaza in Duncanville, and we’re converting it into a mixed-use village with lofts, condos, a food hall, and 11 boutique hotel rooms. Over time, this property will convert from dollar-type stores to affordable creative studios and other retail that will allow local people of the Duncanville area to express their culture and build wealth. On Polk and Highway 67, we are working on the Triangle Village, which will have micro apartments on the parking lot creating an urban mixed-use development from a 1960s suburban shopping center.”
Specifically, how will your mixed-use development on Beckley Avenue help small businesses?
“We just finished 2910 Beckley Ave. We turned a DISD alternative school into 32 micro retail spaces and one restaurant. It’s 100% leased, and locals can start their business at a very low entry level, as low as $500-600 a month. A business owner doesn’t need a small business loan to see if they’re an entrepreneur or not. They can test their business out at an affordable rate.”
How important is collaboration with organizations like the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) in moving the economic development needle in Southern Dallas County?
“It makes me have hope when I see top executives on the ground in these communities. It meant a lot when DRC President Dale Petroskey visited with me at Beckley Avenue. We need the top people with the best talent in Dallas working on the weakest links. In other words, corporate America, please do not send us your worst. Send us your best.”
You’ve said previously underserved communities need more local stakeholders, not more handouts. Expand on this idea, and how can businesses in the Dallas Region make a difference?
“It’s the old saying ‘feed a person a fish, they eat for one day. Teach a person to fish, they eat for a lifetime.’ We haven’t taught enough people how to fish in Southern Dallas County. We haven’t spent the time to help people who have questions about banking and finance grow their businesses properly. Spending time with the locals who understand their community is more beneficial than asking for the help of out-of-towners. The locals know what is missing.”
What goals do you have for Southern Dallas County over the next 5-10 years?
“I would like all the people I have worked with or done business with to own their own property or run their own profitable business. All people in Southern Dallas County deserve a great quality of life, good food, access to healthcare, and to send their kids off to college, if they want. My biggest goal for the future in Southern Dallas County is that we learn how to build wealth and that no one is unhoused.”