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Meet Dallas' Mayoral Candidates: Mike Ablon

Dallas voters will pick the city’s next mayor on May 4. 

Each of the nine candidates remaining has opined on the need for Dallas to focus on transportation, urban renewal, education, affordable housing and workforce development. 

But what would each candidate’s platform mean for commercial real estate?

Bisnow sent questionnaires to every candidate in the Dallas mayor’s race to find out and will run the responses of all candidates who provide feedback. 

Dallas mayoral candidate Mike Ablon

Mike Ablon is the only candidate to make his name and career in DFW in the commercial real estate industry. 

He began with a humble background working through school, and used a few thousand dollars in savings to create PegausAblon, which he has grown into a major DFW developer. He is best known for his redevelopment efforts in the Design District, though he has built across property types in various Dallas neighborhoods.

Ablon is one the candidates participating in Bisnow's mayoral debate at BMAC DFW May 2, a full-day conference focused on various aspects of the multifamily industry.

Bisnow: What do you believe is the role of city council when it comes to commercial development in the city? 

Ablon: The role of the city council in commercial real estate is to facilitate the controlled growth of neighborhoods. Frequently this includes revising zoning, working with and supporting neighborhoods and developers doing community development. Often this also includes the city facilitating the coordination of public transportation, housing, and commercial retail and office development. Another key role the city will play is repairing and updating the infrastructure of the city. I have done this professionally and successfully for 25 years in Dallas and know how to nurture the development of diverse neighborhoods such as the Dallas Design District. 

Bisnow: Do you believe affordable housing is an issue in Dallas? If so, what is your plan for addressing this issue? 

Ablon: Right now affordable housing is a crisis in all large urban cities in America, and Dallas is no exception. But there are actions the city can take. The city can utilize its land bank, work to better use the federal grant system in pursuit of the Comprehensive Housing Policy. The current Comprehensive Housing Policy is a strategy, but to activate it as a plan requires tactical and strategic knowledge of development. I look forward to facilitating this process with the 25 years of experience I have in this business. 

Bisnow: There have been instances of developers and councilmembers throughout North Texas facing legal consequences for bribes and undue influence when it comes to housing and commercial developments. What do you plan to do to tackle that particular issue?   

Ablon: As a city and as a culture we should have zero tolerance for bad ethics, criminal activity and bad actors. I have just released my Ethics Plan and will introduce stronger rules and stronger punitive penalties for elected officials who violate ethics and seek criminal justice against anyone who violates the public trust. 

Bisnow: If you only had time to focus on one issue in terms of commercial development, what issue would that be and how would you address it? 

Ablon: The city of Dallas is evolving into a stronger core neighborhood format for commercial development as opposed to its historic suburban planning model of freeway-based commercial activity. Fortifying neighborhoods with stronger commercial bases will lead to a more diversified our job base. Stronger neighborhoods will also lead to a more diversified location of commercial property and therefore to diversified job growth and a stronger tax base for the city. 

Bisnow: As more redevelopment goes on Downtown, in Fair Park and in Deep Ellum, more high-priced apartments and other facilities are coming in. What is your view of these redeveloping areas and what role do you believe the city plays in sustaining them?   

Ablon: Each city will have a set of mature neighborhoods, developing neighborhoods and struggling neighborhoods as it relates to economic growth. The city of Dallas should approach each neighborhood in an individualistic manner to assist them in the most efficient way to continue to drive or commence their development into future growth.  Diversified neighborhoods need diversified and individualized strategic approaches. 

Bisnow: Why should the DFW area commercial real estate community vote for you?  

Ablon: Of all the candidates, I am the only candidate who has actually built water, sewer, roads, buildings, neighborhoods and parks. We have file cabinets full of plans and policies, and we need to be building neighborhoods and infrastructure today for the city that we will become as we grow to 10.2 million people in the next 25 years. I fully understand the barriers which hinder this growth, the needs of the community and the ability to execute. I look forward to supporting and assisting the city of Dallas in this growth. 

Mike Ablon and four other Dallas mayoral candidates will debate CRE topics including multifamily affordability and development at Bisnow’s Multifamily Annual Conference May 2. Click here to register and to learn more about the scheduled speakers.

Bisnow does not endorse any mayoral candidate. The candidates’ responses are published in their own words.