SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility has named Dallas developer Peter Brodsky as the recipient of its 2023 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award.
The award will be presented in a ceremony at noon Tuesday at the Arts District Mansion in downtown Dallas.
“Peter’s passion for public service and bettering our community is multifaceted and includes impactful work in education, homelessness, social services, and thoughtful urban development,” the Cary M. Maguire Center said in a statement.
The center noted Brodsky’s long list of civic contributions, including his board chairmanship of Housing Forward (formerly the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance); his board membership and longtime volunteer work for KIPP Texas Public Schools, a network of 59 public charter schools; and his work as past chair of the Dallas Animal Advisory Commission, where he explored solutions to Dallas’ stray dog crisis.
Brodsky also serves on the Trinity Park Conservancy Board and the President’s Advisory Board of UT Southwestern. He’s a member of the Dallas Assembly and has formerly served on other boards and committees, including North Texas Public Broadcasting, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Vogel Alcove, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Revitalizing RedBird in Southern Dallas
Eight years ago, Peter and his wife Lael purchased the former Red Bird Mall with a goal of turning it into RedBird, one of the largest mixed-use commercial developments in southern Dallas. The $200 million development is still in progress, the center noted, but Brodksy’s work “has already spurred vast economic growth in Southern Dallas through 1,500 new jobs in offices, shops, medical facilities, and restaurants.”
Private equity career included $2.6B in deployed and managed investments
Peter spent the first two decades years of his career in private equity, the Cary M. Maguire Center noted, primarily at Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, and its successor firm, HM Capital Partners. In those 20 years, he was responsible for deploying or managing over $2.6 billion of equity investments.
Aiming to change systems to have ‘an impact on many people’
“What really drives me is trying to change systems, so that you can have an impact on many people,” Brodsky told Dallas Doing Good. “What I’m trying to do is make sure that the people who do the groundwork have the funding, the organization, the management, the structure, and the strategy to be successful.”
A lot of his recent focus has been on Southern Dallas.
“For the first 15 years that I was here, I never really ventured south of I-30, besides going to the fair once a year, which is a life I think a lot of folks in North Dallas live. I didn’t know anything about Southern Dallas besides being told it was dangerous,” Brodsky told Dallas Doing Good. “That changed for me when I did Leadership Dallas, a leadership development class sponsored by the Dallas Regional Chamber. That really changed the course of my life. It was there that I was first exposed to Southern Dallas, met a very diverse group of leaders who live there, and began to understand what a misperception about Southern Dallas there was in the north.”
“Redbird is a very solidly middle-class area, with a lot of professionals living there,” he noted. “Despite this, the area lacks quality amenities due to a supply-demand imbalance. When Redbird Mall became available, it seemed like the perfect place to make a statement and change the narrative about the community.”
Brodsky told DDG that while philanthropy can help, “economic development is the only way that we’re going to get Southern Dallas to fulfill its potential. So, that’s what fills my cup. It’s about trying to solve problems that I know will have an impact on a lot of people.”