AT&T SVP: We Want A Non-Profit Architect For Our $150,000 Membership Course In Dallas

AT&T Senior Vice President Ron Spears, heading up the Trinity Forest project in South Dallas that hopes to get some government breaks and host the Byron Nelson someday, is insisting that architects and the project manager of the new semi-private club in south Dallas work on a non-profit basis.


Because they've lumped a First Tee onto the project and the club is a non-profit.

Rudolph Bush in the Dallas Morning News reports the remarks from Spears.

“No one gets to make a profit out of this. That’s been our intent from the beginning in the way we thought about putting it all together.” Spears said. “This is a not-for-profit in every way.”

So sweet hearing a corporate officer preach the gospel of non-profiteering! And...

Senior officials at AT&T and SMU have not yet selected an architect or project manager. But Spears said he is making it clear to anyone who wants to be involved that they can cover their time and costs and nothing else.

“If you don’t buy into the mission of the club, then it may not be the club for you,” he said. “This is not something for a bunch of rich people. We’re trying to do something good for the city of Dallas, for the kids of South Dallas and to help SMU bring a national championship to Dallas.”

And the First Tee of course is at the heart of this plan...

Spears, though, indicated that the club is intended to operate in a more open and inclusive way than many of the exclusive private courses that host professional golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

The inclusion of First Tee of Dallas will help ensure that, he said.

And that’s going to be attractive to architects and project managers who Spears has already spoken to, he said.

“People are looking at it and saying, ‘I really want to get involved in something for a change that is not just a bunch of guys with lots of money building a toy for themselves,’” he said.

And how, with $150,000 memberships for the "semi-private" club, is this not a bunch of guys with money building a toy for themselves?

Thankfully, Spears and friends will pay and pay dearly for this approach.

They won't get an architect who works on the Coore/Crenshaw model of a modest fee while paying for their shaping team which works in lieu of a primary contractor.

Instead, AT&T will get an architect who puts together big pretty plans, announces he'll work for free because his life is devoted to charity as said architect then creates an arrangement with a contractor or requires the use of his preferred contractor, making his money through a side deal. Sadly, this arrangement was all too common in the Roaring 90s and led to costly change orders that only enriched the architects further.

Ultimately, assuming the quality architects demand their very reasonable fee, Trinity Forest will go the way of so many others and leave Dallas with an overbuilt, over-budget, underwhelming mess.