Monday, May 23, 2011

Proposed changes to the Lake Highlands Town Center

The Architect and I live up the street and around the corner from the planned Lake Highlands Town Center. Right now there is the Lake Highlands DART station, streets, lights and landscaping, but no buildings. A large part of the delay has been attributed to the Great Recession, credit crunch and slow economic recovery.

I previously wrote about the LHTC here where I discussed the fact that Sprouts was in talks again with Prescott Realty as being the anchor grocer planned for the development.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the City of Dallas is having a meeting about planned changes to the LHTC development. According to the Advocate Lake Highlands Back Talk blog there are 3 items to be discussed tomorrow: 1) proposed design changes from a City of Dallas hired consultant (Street Works), 2) Prescott Realty's update and recommendations to the Skillman TIF Board, and 3) a presentation by Concerned Lake Highlands Citizens proposing opposition to the changes.

The proposed design changes are a larger footprint for the proposed grocery anchor store. It has increased in size from 25,000 sqft to 56,000 sqft. The size change is in line with the size of Tom Thumbs around the area - like right up the street at Skillman and Abrams. Rumors have been circulating the Tom Thumb could be the anchor store at LHTC and it would close the store at Skillman/Abrams and Skillman/Royal. This would leave huge vacancies in an already increasingly vacant shopping center.

New to the scene are the Concerned Lake Highlands Citizens. Their concern is about another "big-box" grocery store competing with already existing businesses. They want LHTC to stay true to what the original design plan was - a mixed use development with multi-family and office users.

I can understand their concern. I want LHTC to be more "Mockingbird Station" in its design and less like the Timbercreek development at Skillman and Northwest Highway. It will have 3 big box stores - Walmart, Sam's Club and a free standing JC Penney. Ugh. I want to be able to walk down the street and go to a small grocer (Sprouts, Trader Joe's or similar) to pick up food or a bottle of wine. I also want more restaurant selection and availability. Go to Picasso's, Mi Cocina or Atomic Pie any night of the week and you will see there is a demand for these types of attractions.

You can read more specifics on the meeting and review the Street Works proposed design changes here.

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