Real Estate / Neighborhoods

Get to Know Uptown Dallas, Inc. — The Nonprofit Behind One of the City’s Most Popular Neighborhoods

Founded in 1993, UDI Was Established to Create Dallas' First Live-Work-Play Community

BY // 04.24.23

Uptown is one of Dallas’ most popular neighborhoods. Spread across nearly 592 acres with more than 18,000 residents, the storied neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most beloved restaurants, parks, residences, wellness havens, and businesses. But carving out this idyllic corner of Dallas established more than 130 years ago didn’t happen by coincidence or happenstance. Designing Uptown Dallas to be the hub that it is today took foresight, strategy, and intention. That’s where Uptown Dallas, Inc. (UDI) comes in.

Founded in 1993 by Neal Sleeper, Hank Rossi, Robert Shaw, Phil Cobb, and the late Charles Womack, UDI was established to create Dallas’ first live-work-play community. And while a lot has changed in Uptown over 30 years, UDI continues to be the economic engine that drives Dallas forward today. 


Uptown Dallas
Uptown boasts parks, art, great dining, and more.

Uptown Dallas, Inc. is a non-profit that manages and enhances the public improvements of the Uptown district (PID). Funded by special assessments (and paid for and voted on by Uptown property owners) the assessment dollars of 0.045 cents per $100 valuation pay for additional and supplemental services of public safety, capital improvements, maintenance, mobility, and marketing.

These improvements are the competitive advantage behind the success of Uptown. They have led to the highest office rents and occupancies in the city, as well as one of the best residential and multi-family markets in the region. Residents and visitors alike flock to the neighborhood. When people consider relocating to Dallas, Uptown is nearly always on their list of places to consider home.

Walking through the tree-lined streets of Uptown for only a few moments, it’s easy to see why this neighborhood is so popular. There is a myriad of destinations within the less than a square mile that makes up Uptown today, including 58.1 acres of green space, more than 200 restaurants, more than 160 shops, and 4.5 miles of trolley tracks that transport 630,000 trolley riders for free each year.


Uptown Dallas
The first M-LINE Trolley started cruising the streets of Uptown and Downtown Dallas in July 1989.

While Uptown certainly didn’t start as developed as it is today, the area is one of the city’s neighborhoods richest in history. Sprinkled between the restaurants, bars and wellness concepts, one often stumbles upon centuries-old cemeteries and historical markers that tell the stories of the land if one has a moment to stop and soak it all in.

The first M-LINE Trolley, operated by the non-profit McKinney Avenue Transit Authority and now covering more than 4.6 miles of track and lines, started cruising the streets of Uptown and Downtown Dallas in July 1989. The iconic sound of the trolley’s wheels on the tracks can still be heard through the neighborhood today as its seven cars operate more than 600,000 rides each year. Amidst the development and hustle and bustle of the neighborhood, it’s often easy to forget just how storied and important this enclave of the city truly is.

And while Uptown Dallas, Inc. may be celebrating its Pearl (or 30th) Anniversary, the group is just getting started. With plans to continue further developing Uptown into not only one of the premier neighborhoods in the city but in the country, Dallasites can rest assured that the next 30 years of Uptown under UDI’s leadership will shine even brighter than the last three decades.