The press release announcing the newest DFW Alamo Drafthouse in the Skillman Abrams Shopping Center called it “Alamo Lake Highlands.” Weeks earlier, when we asked Alamo’s DFW COO Bill DiGaetano whether the rumors swirling around the shopping center were true, he answered that the arthouse theater was “looking very hard for a location where Alamo can land in East Dallas.”
So where did it end up — East Dallas or Lake Highlands? Perhaps neither, or both, depending on whom you ask.
Lake Highlanders are happy to claim this redevelopment, as evidenced by the enthusiastic reactions on Facebook when we announced the news. But as commenter Paul Williams noted on this story: “The hard core folks will tell you that Lake Highlands ends where the RISD school district boundaries end — which is at White Rock Creek — and this is clearly south of that. When a good thing happens south of the border (e.g., this development, Mariano’s, the Lake House, Top Golf, a Walmart where people don’t get shot in the parking lot, etc.), it’s claimed as being in Lake Highlands.”
Williams takes a bit of umbrage with this, likely because he lives in Merriman Park, also “south of the border,” which neither claims Lake Highlands nor is claimed by Lake Highlands.
OK, so the new Alamo Drafthouse is in East Dallas? Not so fast. Several East Dallasites scoffed at that suggestion.
“This is not East Dallas,” James Watkins commented on our Lakewood/East Dallas website. “The very FAR northern corner of the East Dallas neighborhood is at least four miles away, south of Park Cities, Highland Park, Lower Greenville and Knox Henderson. This isn’t even adjacent to East Dallas. It’s on the eastern half of Dallas if you cut the city in two. That’s about as apt as the description goes.”
Watkins suggested Alamo would be taking up residence in either Lake Highlands (already negated by some of those residents), Vickery Meadow (from our vantage point, squarely to the west of this shopping center) or Northeast Dallas. Perhaps the latter is the most accurate description for the apparent no-man’s land between wherever East Dallas ends and Lake Highlands begins?
The shopping center, interestingly, also is in a City Council no-man’s land of sorts — the meeting of three districts, which usually means that either no one cares or everyone does. Though Lake Highlands’ District 10 Councilman Adam McGough has been the one talking with Alamo executives about the deal and how the city might be involved, the shopping center itself is in the easternmost corner of District 13 Councilwoman Jennifer Gates’ district, which primarily entails Preston Hollow and northwest Dallas. And East Dallas Councilman Mark Clayton’s District 9 borders the south side of the shopping center, ending at Northwest Highway.
Assuming all three are eager to give Alamo the city tax incentives the theater says it needs to go through with the deal (McGough and Clayton have indicated they are on board, pending details; Gates hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment), then all three also might be eager to claim it as a public-private partnership success.
The future theater undoubtedly will be patronized by both Lake Highlanders and East Dallasites who would rather drive to Skillman and Abrams than to Richardson or the Cedars. On its website, Alamo officially is calling its newest location “Alamo Lake Highlands.” Whether or not that’s geographically accurate, considering the response to our original story, it’s safe to assume that neighbors aren’t going to boycott Alamo because it isn’t in Lake Highlands “proper.”