When a fellow partner in the Austin office of Locke Lord asked Tai Tran if he wanted to help a client with the financing to rehabilitate a tired, low-income apartment complex, Tran’s ears immediately perked up when he heard the words “Britain Way.”
“I said, ‘You mean Britain Way in Irving?’ ” Tran recalls. “It was like hearing someone say they want to buy your home.”
Located a stone’s throw from Airport Freeway in an aging neighborhood not far from Texas Stadium, Britain Way is the place Tran called home in the early 1990s. It’s the place he walked home to every day from nearby Irving High School, where he played quarterback for the Irving High Tigers.
And 20 years later, he helped a firm client buy the place with tax subsidy assistance and rehabilitate the property, which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 22. It was the first time Tran had been back to his old neighborhood in two decades, an experience that brought back good and bad memories.
He has fond memories of playing football for fun in Britain Way’s courtyard and some not-so-nice memories of his family’s apartment being burglarized twice. The second time, his father had to fight off an intruder and chase him out of the family’s home.
Now, Britain Way looks and feels so much different to Tran, he says. “It really made me happy for the community. It was a big project,” he says of the complex, which has the feeling of safety (and lighting) that was missing when he grew up there. “It now has a swimming pool, a community center. And now those kids living there have all of that. It made me proud just to be a part of that process,” he says
Any fan of Irving High Tiger football will tell you that there’s plenty of reason to take pride in Tran’s football skills. As a senior in 1992, Tran quarterbacked the Tigers to beat Euless’ Trinity High School Trojans, by throwing for 160 yards and two touchdowns in a come-from-behind 17 to 7 win. Trinity High has become famous in recent years for producing giant defensive linebackers, state championships and war dances.
--- John Council