(ABC/Patrick Ecclesine)

(ABC/Patrick Ecclesine)

This neighborhood billionaire plays the game his own way

Mark Cuban just might be our busiest neighbor. Sure, countless CEOs, sports stars and a former president call Preston Hollow home. But Cuban juggles TV appearances, “Shark Tank,” the Dallas Mavericks, endless business ventures and sharply crafted tweets ripping President Donald Trump — not to mention that he’s married and raising three children. He’s still generous, too, and often assists local organizations in need. (He donated school supplies and Mavericks tickets to every Dallas ISD student earlier this fall.)

Since the only thing Cuban doesn’t have much of is time, he agreed to let us interview him but only via email. We felt like we were in good company. Even fellow neighbor and Texas Monthly hotshot Skip Hollandsworth couldn’t snag facetime with the elusive Cuban.

“He’d be happy to talk to me, as long as he did it by email,” Hollandsworth says. “I kept thinking at some point he’s going to come around. He’s going to be charmed by my questions. He’s going to say, ‘Just drive over. We’ll shoot baskets, and we’ll talk.’ Never. He stayed completely aloof. To this day, I have yet to speak to him.”

We wanted to know Cuban’s opinion on artificial intelligence (he often says the world’s first trillionaire will be an A.I. expert). We hinted at #MarkCuban2020 to see if his Oval Office aspirations had any foundation. We even asked him if he still rollerblades through his house, like he once told The New York Times. But, like any billionaire, Cuban does what he pleases. We reached out on three separate occasions, but he only responded to the questions that matter — to him.

Although Cuban never satisfied our curiosity about his political plans or rolling through his 24,000-square-foot Deloache Avenue mansion, he agreed to talk Preston Hollow, especially the properties he purchased in 2014 on Averill and Jourdan Way.

Cuban, at the very least, has time for the neighborhood.

Mark Cuban with his wife, Tiffany, and children, Alexis, Alyssa and Jake. (Photo courtesy of Mark Cuban)

Mark Cuban with his wife, Tiffany, and children, Alexis, Alyssa and Jake. (Photo courtesy of Mark Cuban)

What is your favorite neighborhood hangout spot?
We like to eat at R+D, Flying Fish and work out at Speedflex, so we are around Preston Center a lot.

If you could change anything about Preston Hollow, what would it be? Why?
I obviously have an interest in what happens across Northwest Highway from Preston Center. The parking situation for the Starbucks part of the center and for the businesses facing Northwest Highway is horrible. It has to be fixed.

On top of that, the traffic on Northwest Highway in that corridor is going to get progressively worse as the area grows and the street becomes an ever-important thoroughfare connecting east and west.

There have been a lot of plans and proposals driven by a few neighbors trying to protect their own interests, ignoring the needs of the community.

What are your plans for the properties you purchased in 2014 on Averill and Jourdan Way? Have they changed since then?
I’m in no rush to do anything with my property, but we need better planning. Forcing residential housing across from Preston Center is going to negatively impact the experience for everyone.

The highway can’t grow. Residential units against Northwest Highway will be a less-than-optimal experience, and the commercial and worship destinations on both sides will be limited in their ability to expand.

In 2014, there was some backlash from the neighbors about your plans for the property. Councilwoman Jennifer Gates even asked you to “maintain a neighborhood feel.” Has that lessened since then?
I love Preston Hollow, but our politicians are putting the interests of probably fewer than five people above all their constituents and the community.

Interview edited for clarity.

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