Our History

To Provide Exemplary Service to Clients and to Be the Industry Leader in Texas for a Broad Range of Land Use and Development Services

Land Use Consultants Since 1981

The Cothrum family has been a leader in real estate and civic affairs in Dallas for three generations. W. H. Cothrum began his professional career in the 1930s, and during World War II manufactured goods to support the war effort from a facility in Garland. Following the end of the war, he expanded his business to include single-family construction, pharmacies, a title company, and First Citizens Bank on Garland Road. At this location, he opened the first mall in Texas in 1957. The opening was headlined by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. The project was what would come to be called a mixed-use center that included office, retail, and dining. In 1966 the Lockwood Cinema opened with the first movie being Walt Disney’s That Darn Cat.

Despite widespread criticism, W. H. Cothrum was the first to construct housing in South Dallas for African Americans. This open-minded outlook also led him to financially back Inherit the Wind, the Tony Award-winning play. The fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” was a highly confrontational look at the social divide in the country. Revivals continue because the production involves the themes of race, religion, science, the importance of truth and the expression of freedom. The production debuted in Dallas in 1955 to exemplary reviews and was picked up by a Broadway theater that had already rejected it. The play ran for three years and was later made into a movie by Spencer Tracy.

As something of a visionary, Mr. Cothrum‘s bank also was among the first to provide customers with credit cards, and he was the first to have an automatic teller machine in the city. Unfortunately, the decision to enter the oil and gas industry in the 1970s proved catastrophic, ending all the Cothrum companies. Following the demise of the Cothrum companies, his son started Masterplan in 1981 following his career on the Dallas City Council.

Since its inception, the business has benefited from stable family ownership and talented employees. The current operator, Dallas Cothrum, has served as CEO for more than 10 years. Karl Crawley has been the president of the firm for more than 15 years and an employee for nearly 25. The company enjoys business relationships of more than 30 years with clients, including Oncor and Luminant as well as the Dallas Independent School District. Many local developers have been clients just as long, such as Bob Folsom’s Sabre Realty and Provident Realty Advisors. Masterplan is dedicated to providing unrivaled service and results to each and every client and establishing strong relationships with clients and their employees.

Masterplan has been blessed to be included in some of the most significant projects in the region.

Focused on Three Service Areas

Led by CEO Dallas Cothrum, our practice is divided into three sectors: (1) zoning and land use, (2) building code and permitting, and (3) lobbying and economic development. The largest sector of work is zoning and land use cases. This sector includes due diligence and providing information to adjacent stakeholders on their zoning requests in addition to zoning applications done on our clients’ behalf. Masterplan’s experienced building code team works to ensure expedited approval of all permitting matters.

Complete Turnkey Services

We also represent tenants and owners on issues such as required parking reductions and problems relating to certificates of occupancy. Many clients, including ONCOR, DART, and the Dallas Independent School District, have tasked Masterplan to obtain all approvals from the point of application through passing final inspection to receiving a certificate of occupancy. Finally, Masterplan consultants have successfully negotiated abatements and other entitlements from local governments for new projects as well as assisting in corporate relocations.