News Article | 9/28/2007

PlainsCapital gets bookends at Victory Park

The bank putting a big buffalo on Victory Park’s first office tower has signed a deal to open a second bank on the opposite side of the urban development.

PlainsCapital Corp. plans to put a ground-floor bank in the under-construction Cirque high-rise tower on the north end of Victory Park. The move gives the bank bookends around the tony development, just as residential condos and related projects there head toward completion.

The second-largest privately held bank in the state, PlainsCapital will move its headquarters and corporate office to One Victory Park when the 20-story, 446,000-square-foot tower is completed in 2008. There, it also will have a bank on the ground floor.

Victory Park is an urban community developed by Ross Perot Jr.’s Hillwood and Tom Hicks’ Hicks Holdings, and other joint-venture partners. It’s home to the American Airlines Center and a mix of modern office towers, condominiums, hotels, restaurants and retail shops.

The privately owned bank views Victory Park and Uptown as its own, lucrative market, chock full of good prospects, says Jeffrey Cook, the banker PlainsCapital has tapped to lead its two Victory branches.

With projections of 4,000 residents and 4 million square feet of office and retail space on deck, “Victory Park is a city within a city,” Cook says. “There’s a small-community feel developing — you’ll have this small town in a very big city.”

PlainsCapital isn’t the only business drawing a bead on the Victory Parkers. N9NE Group of Las Vegas runs Ghostbar in the W Hotel and Residences, Nove Italiano restaurant and N9ne Steakhouse Dallas there. Retail operator Lifestyle Fashion Terminal (aka LFT) has built a 30,000-square-foot department store filled with a dozen fashion boutiques. And on the banking front, retail banking giant Bank of America last year inked a deal to be the exclusive ATM of the American Airlines Center sports arena.

Entrepreneurial culture

Cook worked for Wells Fargo Bank before joining PlainsCapital. Brian Heflin, chairman of PlainsCapital D-FW, says Cook has an entrepreneurial way of doing things that fits with the bank’s culture.

“I like his energy and the way he comes about solutions,” Heflin says.

That same sort of thinking is what landed PlainsCapital, a $3 billion-asset institution with Lubbock roots, in Victory Park in the first place.

The bank already has started focus groups to figure out how to win with Victory residents and workers.

“It’s about being as convenient as we can be,” Cook says. “We want to serve them how they want to be served, when they want to be served and where they want to be served.”

It’s the same sort of service ethic that has helped PlainsCapital become the top market-share bank in the nearby wealthy Turtle Creek area, he notes.

Says Cook: “We’re going to build a whole new business down there.”