While what Lincoln Property is planning at Gaston & Garland — former home to the White Rock YMCA and the Far West dance club — is better than having a major bar in the neighborhood, it’s certainly no big whoop in terms of a major advancement in any other way.
Steve Brown’s blog post in the DMN, complete with a couple of extremely vague but color front-building elevations, indicates that Lincoln is still hoping for a major grocer, such as HEB or Kroger, to take much of the original YMCA space, with the original Far West space carved into smaller spaces for 3-4 shops of as-yet unidentified type. Brown calls the facelift “snappy”, but I’d probably use the term “unimaginative” instead.
For what it’s worth, we’ve talked with HEB and Kroger recently, and they certainly aren’t acting like they’re chomping at the bit to get into that space. But major retailers rarely give a straight story to anyone in the media until they’re ready to announce. If you’re betting, though, bet on Kroger at the moment, as HEB has flat out told us (maybe with their fingers crossed behind their back) that they aren’t coming here in any size, shape or fashion.
Lincoln is entitled to do what they want with the property, and if they want to turn what they’re calling Arboretum Village — to potentially be located on Arboretum Boulevard — into a prototypical suburban strip shopping center anchored with a grocer, that’s their business as long as zoning allows that development. And from what I can tell, it does.
It’s just too bad that — unlike seemingly every other builder in the city — Lincoln isn’t asking for a big handout to build a fancy, new mixed-use (retail and residential) project on what the City has previously identified as the gateway to White Rock Lake. I’ve certainly complained enough in the past about these handouts to developers, because no one at the City seems to have the stomach to say “no” to the next project in line.
But here’s a site that most taxpayers probably wouldn’t mind seeing subsidized a bit because of the immediate impact it would have on development to the north, east and south. Instead, Lincoln seems to be taking a conservative road with its plans, and that’s probably the fastest way to make some money on the deal. Again, good for them since that’s their option as landowners, and it’s certainly their money.
It’s just too bad the longtime Dallas developer isn’t willing to be a little more patient and a little more financially daring this time and in this place. (Note: Map courtesy of Google Maps.)