Arial photo of Town Center by Craig Oakley

Arial photo of Lake Highlands Town Center by Craig Oakley

At book club last week, my friend Sydney Susie, a longtime Lake Highlands resident, asked for the latest news on the Town Center. Town Center updates, in fact, are the first things I’m asked for at every community meeting, at every encounter at Target, at every run-in at the grocery store.

I gave Sydney the latest from Bill Rafkin, Managing Director of Cypress Real Estate Investors – that Rafkin has “a number of signed letters of intent” and that he’s focusing on “restaurants that are both family-friendly and places [LH residents] could go for a Saturday night dinner with a white tablecloth,” as the community suggested. The stand-alone Starbuck’s, complete with drive-thru, is currently being built by Spring Valley Construction Company, as is the Sprouts Farmers Market.

“When that Sprouts opens,” Sydney told me, “I’m going to march into that store and make a purchase every dang day.”

Sydney’s message is one I’ve heard from plenty of my fellow LH oldtimers. They seem willing to take the blame for the loss of LH retail over the years and are determined to use their buying power to keep these businesses blooming.

As our group sat around the table with a glass of wine and began rattling off names, it was a walk down memory lane:

The Original Chili’s on Greenville Avenue

Uncle Julio’s on Greenville Avenue

Whole Foods on Skillman at Walnut Hill

Atlanta Bread Company at Skillman and Abrams

Sweet Temptations on Skillman at Audelia

Winmark Sports on Skillman at Royal

Safeway, then Michael’s, at Royal and Abrams

JoAnn’s Fabrics at Northlake Center

The Collection on Skillman at Royal

Freckles Children’s Clothing on Skillman at Royal

Mother Mesquite’s on Skillman north of LBJ

Chili’s on Skillman north of LBJ

Dickey’s on Skillman north of LBJ

Galveston Island on Skillman at Royal

Tuesday Morning on Abrams at Forest

Schlotzsky’s on Abrams at Forest

Tom Thumb at Skillman/Abrams and Forest/Abrams

TCBY on Skillman at Audelia

Braum’s on Walnut Hill at Audelia

Fox and Hound at Skillman and Audelia

Movie theatre at Skillman and Audelia

Big Lots on Skillman at Abrams

And, of course, T.Hee’s.

At his June Town Hall meeting, Dallas City Councilman Adam McGough said Lake Highlands is “turning a corner.” Shortly afterward, Triumph Realty announced it had signed Alamo Drafthouse as a tenant in its Skillman Abrams Shopping Center, with “more interest than we have space” by other high quality restaurants and retail.

Now, Lake Highlands, what we need to do as residents and as homeowners interested in maintaining our property values, is to actually walk in and spend some money.