The area has been a premier retail center in Dallas since its development in the 1950s, although the nearby NorthPark Center has provided significant competition.
Around the Preston Center shopping complex lies both a significant amount of office space, totaling over 3,000,000 square feet (279,000 m2) and housing former President George W Bush's office, as well as some of the best residential neighborhoods in Dallas. University Park is to the south, a string of condos along Northwest Highway is to the east, and the Preston Hollow neighborhood is to the north.
The development includes two 20 story office towers that opened during a construction boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s. As of 1989 many of the Preston Center buildings were partially vacant. During that year Terry Box of The Dallas Morning News said that the vacant buildings were perceived by residents of nearby Preston Hollow as "intrusive symbols of the city's failure to control its growth" and "have come to exemplify much of what is wrong with North Dallas." Around that time residents tried to pressure area politicians into making the development more low-rise and further removed from the Preston Hollow community.