James Dondero Of Highland Capital Undertaking Major Investment In Dallas Commercial Real Estate


There's been a new construction project underway at the CityPlace Tower just outside of downtown Dallas to increase its office capacity and add to its current commercial activities. Nobody knows for sure yet what this major redevelopment project will look like at the end of this project, but the investment of $200 million in it certainly signals major amenity upgrades and parking space additions. The main investor in this property is Highland Capital Management, one of the top private equity firms in Dallas, although they did also receive financing from New York based firm Acore Capital. Highland Chairman and CEO James Dondero has said this project is about strategically renovating that urban area and carrying out what he believes the commercial property was begun for back in 1987.

As a firm, Highland Capital Management currently has $15 billion in AUM and prides itself on being one of the "most experienced global alternative credit managers." Real estate is just one of their many investment strategies in their portfolio which has large funds in healthcare, high-yield credit, fixed income investments, and other structured products and unique business situations. Highland Capital has also entered into some global partnerships for increased funding in some of their holdings including forming a major powerhouse with South Korea's Stonebridge Capital in 2017.

James Dondero has been with Highland Capital Management for just over 25 years going all the way back to its founding. He holds several accounting and investment management certifications including being a CPA, CMA and CFA. He received his bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Virginia, and then for several years worked as a credit and corporate bonds analyst for American Express bank. Dondero's work as a portfolio manager there led Protective Life Insurance to hire him as Chief Investment Officer to oversee the founding of a subsidiary asset management firm, and in just a few years Dondero turned this subsidiary into a $2 billion AUM operation. With the help of fellow executive Mark Okada, this subsidiary grew and in 5 years spun out from its original parent company becoming known as Highland Capital. Over time Dondero was elevated to Chairman of the Board of Directors of Highland and it's affiliates which include NexBank and Nexpoint Advisors.

James Dondero has funded research, formed committees and helped host conferences at the George W. Bush Presidential Library on different business and financial topics including a recent exploration of cryptocurrency. He has also helped start other business initiatives including serving as a trustee at the SMU Cox School of Business in hopes of helping fund an atmosphere conducive to entrepreneurship. Dondero has also established the Highland Foundation and has made a commitment to giving back to the community, and that included bringing Linda Owen on as head of the firm's charitable giving division. He also has sponsored veterans events and offered up to $1 million in grants for the Family Place, a domestic violence shelter in Dallas. He was later given the ReuNight Honorary Chair award at an event hosted by the organization.


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