Our History

To Provide Exemplary Service to Clients and 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 located 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 lead 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 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 prove catastrophic, ending all the 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 the client 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 client’s 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 assisted in corporate relocations.

Our Expertise is Your Success

Masterplan consultants are highly accomplished experts who come from diverse backgrounds including planning, architecture, engineering, business and public administration. Our mastery of technical issues combined with job-tested communication skills and a long standing reputation of excellence makes Masterplan a reliable force working on your behalf.

Our Leadership


“In the screwed-up, implacable, totally amoral haunted house that is City Hall, you’re nuts if you go in there on an important issue without a gladiator in front of you. The Cothrums aren’t the only gladiators. But let me tell you. If my house ever catches on fire, I’m not calling 911. I’m calling the Cothrums so they can negotiate a truck for me. It’ll get there faster …”