Neighbors may remember that Lake Ridge shopping center on the southeast corner of Walnut Hill-Audelia had an interested buyer wanting to overhaul that corner. We spoke this week with Bill Blaydes, who was brokering the deal, and he told us “the deal fell apart.”
The original goal for that corner was to mirror what’s happening on the southwest corner with White Rock Place Addition, Blaydes says, meaning to leave some of the retail in tact and bulldoze the rest to make way for single-family homes.
“There is a tremendous demand — and it’s growing — for new housing over here,” Blaydes says. “The calls are coming from the Park Cities, East Dallas, the Lakewood area, and areas out north where people are trying to come back closer into the middle. Most of them are young families with children, which is exactly what we’re after.”
But new homes weren’t possible on the southeast corner because “the sellers just want too much money for the site,” Blaydes says.
The retail-to-residential turnover on the southwest corner of Walnut Hill-Audelia was profitable for developers because of two main factors: the foreclosure of that property, which gave it a more affordable pricetag of $3.5 million, and $2.4 million in government TIF money that would cover demolition.
Lake Ridge shopping center would also be eligible for TIF money, but the property is not in foreclosure. Dallas Central Appraisal District identifies the current Lake Ridge owners as Lai Jia and Nai Hui Wang of San Jose, Calif. They own two different parcels that make up most of the shopping center, one valued at roughly $3.2 million and one at roughly $801,000. The current retail strips were constructed in the late ’60s.
Because converting the property into homes wasn’t feasible, the buyer, a “local group,” Blaydes had told us, instead hoped to purchase Lake Ridge and overhaul its retail.
“Everybody that was talked to about coming there said they would consider it — and they were much better retailers than what exist today — but the type of retail we wanted to put in there would not agree to come until something is done about the multifamily on the north side of Walnut Hill,” Blaydes says.
He’s referring to the three large apartment complexes located on Audelia — Advenir at Lake Highlands, Brookshire and Watermarke. The hesitation from potential retailers “makes it even more of a problem because now we’ve got to deal with that situation before we can do anything at that corner.”
It’s too bad, Blaydes says, because Lake Highlands could use more residential land improvements such as White Rock Place Addition and the recently closed deal to turn multifamily zoned land at Skillman-Church into 37 single-family homes. Lake Highlands could use some zero-lot homes, too, Blaydes says.
“There’s a whole lot of me in Lake Highlands,” he says. “I’m approaching 68 years old and don’t need all the room I’ve got in this house. There’s a huge pent-up demand for older homes — get into it easy and remodel or tear it down — but we don’t have anywhere to go except the home we’re sitting in.”
Blaydes emphasizes that neither he nor others like him want to leave Lake Highlands.
“We love our hills and we love our trees and we’ve raised our children here; it’s just like a small town,” he says. That why he thinks “zero lot, patio homes or townhomes would go in a hurry.”