Sure, if we’re talking about their retail situation

Did you know there’s a rivalry going on between Lake Highlands and Lakewood?

If you didn’t, you are a lot like me.  Probably most people in Lake Highlands don’t know about it, but it turns out some people in Lakewood feel they need to defend their turf from the likes of us.

The rivalry came to light in an online post on the Lakewood Advocate’s Back Talk blog. In response to the news of a possibility that Mi Cocina may open a restaurant in Lakewood replacing Matt’s Rancho Martinez, it emerged that many Lakewood residents don’t want to be anything like Lake Highlands. Apparently even the words “Mi Cocina” remind them too much of us, their northern neighbors.

Worse, they think of us as “wannabes”, aspiring to be either Lakewood or even the Park Cities.

Who knew?

It’s not my intention to fan the flames, but I can’t help wondering if anyone besides me finds the idea of a rivalry between Lakewood and us amusing. Is it a breach of etiquette to wear a Wildcat T-shirt while shopping at their Whole Foods?

Frankly, Lake Highlands residents aren’t compelled to compete because we understand that each neighborhood covers different needs. If there is one reason anyone would choose to live in Lake Highlands over Lakewood, the answer is simple: Richardson ISD.

Even so, this whole rivalry idea has got me thinking. As the developers continue to work out the best plan for the Town Center, part of the debate revolves around what it should be called — is it a “center” or a “district”? As long as everything including the name is in flux, I would like to put forth a recommendation I haven’t seen on the table yet — but it just might work.

I propose we call it “New Lakewood”.

“Lakewood” is a concept that has never been tried outside of Lakewood, after all. It is very successful in Lakewood. We admit it — we love Lakewood. Is this a no-brainer or what?

Furthermore, if the developers go with the New Lakewood theme, a lot of the things we worry about will not happen. There could never be a big-box grocery store. All the storefronts would be one story high. Residences would not be seven stories tall. The clock tower (a feature former councilman Bill Blaydes cherishes) would be an excellent fit in New Lakewood.

At an open meeting between the developers, the TIF board and concerned citizens, Blaydes recently reminded the developers that original Town Center plans excluded any sort of vast parking space (like the eyesores currently evident at Walnut Hill and Audelia). Everyone knows if we follow the Lakewood model, we would see much less parking than that.

The current plan for the residences is that they will be upscale, aimed at a target population of young professionals. If you have been in Lake Highlands any length of time, you have heard that one before. Apartments have been built for this elusive species. Some of them have been converted to Section 8 housing.

Everyone has heard of young professionals (or, as they are now called, “DINKs” — Double Income No Kids) but sometimes I wonder if they only exist in the minds of developers. I think the last actual sighting of this group in high numbers was at a Big Foot safari back in 1989. If there is a new crop here in Dallas, probably most of them already live in Lakewood.

That’s why it would be smart to build these residences along the New Lakewood model. That means two stories high, so you won’t have too many units to fill. And if they are popular, so much the better. That will keep the prices at the upscale level you want to charge.

When you get right down to it, what we really want at the Town Center is Lakewood. We have been saying that all along, but it took us until now to find the right words. Lakewood is charming, successful, funky and cool.

I can’t wait for New Lakewood to open!