A trailer park at LH Town Center

The questions continue to roll in about the Lake Highlands Town Center, and we still don’t have any specific answers. We spent some time last week at the new LHTC park with Dave Dierkes, a Prescott Realty Group director. The park is beautiful, and is now officially owned by the City of Dallas and tentatively named “Watercrest Park” after the road running along the east side of the property.

Dierkes, an Old Lake Highlands resident, was a great tour guide and showed us all of the detail in the roughly 20-acre park, created by TBG, Pacheco Koch and Valley Crest, which, between them, have worked on projects such as the NorthPark Center expansion and Town Lake Park in Austin. Willis Winters, the city’s Park Department assistant director for planning, design and construction, was visibly impressed. “Probably the closest equivalent to this greenbelt is Lakeside Drive in Highland Park,” he says.

Most of our discussion revolved around the park (more posts on that coming in the future), but of course the topic of when “vertical construction” on the Lake Highlands Town Center property would begin came up as well. “Hopefully soon,” was Dierkes’ response, similar to what Prescott executives have been telling us for some time, and though he was a great sport about it, I can tell that he — along with everyone at Prescott — is frustrated with this answer.

“It hurts us as much as anyone,” Dierkes says. “It’s a pretty expensive piece of dirt to be sitting undeveloped.”

Speaking of, if you listened to this week’s Lake Highlands podcast, you heard Kathy Stewart mention an idea to temporarily use all of that undeveloped dirt — neighborhood resident Jana Boswell has proposed that the land be a site for airstream trailers hawking food. Mini mobile restaurants and retailers is a trend that we’ve recently covered in Lakewood/East Dallas and Oak Cliff as projects along Lower Greenville and Fort Worth Avenue are getting off the ground.

Fun idea. As Stewart says, “We’re dying to go, and this would give us a reason to be there.”


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  • Greg G

    Jack S, registered sex offenders was but one piece of the pie that I mentioned to highlight the problem in our neighborhood. I also mentioned an economic downturn, lowering property values and high crime rates. How can the fact that there are 84 registered sex offenders withing two miles of my home be misleading? It is a fact and as a father, I am not happy about it. I believe the fact that there is so much low income housing surrounding us to be the reason for them and others committing crime, to be amongst us. My family has been victim to home and auto break in’s in the last 6 months. So have my neighbors. We are also bombarded by agressive and rude “solicitors” who claim to represent this or that and my gut tells me they are not being truthful. We cannot even open our front door anymore. They have also approached us while loading the family in the car in our driveway and while I was mowing my yard. The solicitor was cutting through the side yards of homes and “solicited” me. So for all the reasons mentioned, not just sex offenders, I believe the probabilites of getting a Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, etc to be a long shot at best. They just don’t go where these issues exist. Speaking of misleading, the fact that LHTC is “safe” now is because there is almost no foot traffic in that area. Let’s wait to see how it goes if there is ever actually a reason for people to congregate in large numbers. Jack, I am glad you and your family seem to have avoided the crime in our area. We have not been so lucky.

  • Emily

    Thanks for adding that perspective, Jack S. It is easy to panic when we hear stats like this, but we do need to look at the big picture. Most readers here live in LH because we love this community, and all communities have room to improve, not just our neighborhoods.

    For those who haven’t stopped by, LHTC has been well-maintained, despite having no buildings to date. The park looks great, and every time I run there, I see families walking around, individuals walking their dogs, people just enjoying the area. Thanks, Prescott, for keeping this area looking great while we anxiously await something to happen with construction.

    On a personal note, I would be over the moon if Trader Joe’s came to this center (since it was announced this week the chain plans to open 10 stores in the DFW area). It wouldn’t put the Tom Thumbs out of business and would hopefully save me some money and gas by keeping me away from Whole Foods on Greenville!

  • Jack S.

    The post by Greg G. regarding crime is the worst type of abuse of misleading statistics to try to make a point. Declaring the LHTC dead due to the number of sex offenders within 2 miles is ludicrous. For the record, the exact same search using the address for Northpark Mall, hardly a retail failure, turns up 65 offenders within a 2 mile radius. 2 miles is a long distance in demographic analysis. LHTC has almost certainly been a victim of slow growth in the economy, but crime has not gotten notably worse in the neighborhood since Prescott announced the project. I have safely taken my kids to LHTC multiple times over the past few weeks to ride bikes, fly kites, and enjoy the scenery. I think Prescott needs to hold a community event at LHTC with a concert in the amphitheater with some food trailers and invite the neighborhood (and some retail executives) to come experience how much promise this area holds.

  • Greg G.

    Why would any high end retail chain open a store in an area that seems to be headed in the wrong direction? There is a 400lb elephant in the room and while obvious, it is not easy to talk about or fix. An unstable economy, high crime rates, dropping real estate prices and a large number of low income apartments surrounding the development doesn’t exactly make a welcoming sight for big business. I just put the address for Mi Cocina (7201 Skillman Rd)into the Dallas Police Sex Offender Data Base. In a 2 mile radius there are 84 registered sex offenders living amongst us. EIGHTY FOUR! I live just a mile or so west of that address and there are 111 sex offenders from my home! Guess what? They all live in apartments. Add in all the theft, robbery, assaults and worse in that 2 mile radius and that means one thing. The Town Center,as originally proposed, is dead.

  • lsc

    I asked the ladies at Good 2 Go tacos if they had thought of doing a food trailer and they told me the city of Dallas would not approve it and would not issue a permit. So sad I love the Austin food trailer concept.

  • Wendy

    We already have “trailer trash” living in our area, why invite the entire population?

  • Carol Toler

    The Austin Food Trailer concept has become a popular part of their gourmet food culture, drawing residents and tourists from far and wide. Sounds like a great idea in the months while we wait for bricks and mortar at LHTC.
    http://mo.austin360.com/food-drink/dining/critics-picks-austin-food-trailers-1323173.html

  • http://GardenGuy A.L. Nickerson

    I think the food trucks would be different and a lot of fun. I think I would really enjoy a summer’s night sitting out under the stars eating a taco, listening to music and visiting with my fellow Lake Highlanders.

  • Patty

    Who does someone contact about possible stores? Every one is missing Sweet Temptations and Corner Bakery is one of the best. We also need a really good seafood place like the old but great S&D Oyster. We really need to lure HEB -that would be the frosting on the cake. I want to buy one of the townhomes so if they build one I will buy if it is what I feel is a quality community. I have lived in Lake Highlands for 30 years and love the area and neighbors.

  • lh_newbie

    I don’t see a gourmet food truck court driving traffic to the town center property; this sort of concept is great for an area that already has foot traffic, but I don’t see it operating successfully as an island.

    Wanted to also give a thumbs up to Prescott for holding in there as well; happy they’re trying to do it right and not rush things – though it would really be nice for them to land that anchor tenant ASAP.

    Brian

  • bballcap

    Agree on the statement about Prescott. I’m stating the obvious, but to Prescott, this deal is about money – which it should be. And right now, this is generating $0.

    So kudos for their patience. Clearly, they still believe in it or they’d be looking to cut their losses and unload it. I still believe this is gonna be a home run. It only takes one to get things rolling.

  • SpotLight

    Prescott is to be commended for hanging with the LHTC for so long without turning it into a revenue producer.

    What is needed is just one LHTC retailer or restaurant to get things started. Other businesses will see the vehicles and customers and decide it is a good place to be.

    However, starting out with a bunch of trailers, mobile homes, or vending trucks is not the answer. The pedestrian traffic density needed to support impulse purchases from these types of vendors does not exist. What it could lead to is just another Traders Village (Grand Prairie).

    No thanks.