The space in the Lakewood Theater shopping center formerly occupied by Matt’s Rancho Martinez was undergoing a facelift when workers made a great discovery.

As they peeled back the building’s façade, they discovered the original brickwork, which dates back to the 1940s. And instead of scraping the historic craftsmanship, the shopping center’s developer, Mark Miranda, decided to preserve it.
“We found old pictures of what it (the center) looked like in the 1940s,” Miranda says.
“We’re trying to get it back to what it looked like then.”

According to Miranda, the center was renovated in the 1970s in favor of the newer façade.

Miranda says he is currently recruiting new businesses to fill the unoccupied space. The old Matt’s was a combination of three spaces melded into one.

Among the businesses Miranda is considering are restaurants, dry cleaners, hair salons and ice cream parlors.

“We’re trying to be selective in tenant recruitment,” Miranda says.

“We’d like to put in what we think the neighborhood should have.”

“We’re rounding second base with two or three businesses, but until a lease is signed we don’t want to jinx ourselves.”

NEWS & NOTES

United Commercial Merges: United Commercial Realty president and CEO Mickey Ashmore, a neighborhood resident, recently announced the merger of UCR, the state’s largest real estate brokerage firm exclusive to retail service, with the Vanguard Company of Austin.

Abrams Centre Bank Sold: Kenneth Moore, board chairman and CEO of Abrams Centre Bank, and K.A. Skopec, president of MidCity Financial Corporation, recently announced an agreement to sell Abrams Centre Bank to MidCity Financial Corporation. Abrams Centre will become a subsidiary of Chicago-based MidCity Financial Corporation, a $1.5 billion multi-bank holding company with three banks in Illinois and one in Oklahoma.

Learn Spanish: Lakewood United Methodist Church, 2443 Abrams, is currently offering Spanish classes. Tuition is $25 and serves as a donation to the Firehouse Ministries, a community outreach project of the church. Please call Charlotte Gibson at 214-692-7305 for more information.

Shoe Drive: The 11th annual Wilkinson Center Shoe Drive will be held Aug. 10-12. Started in 1987, the shoe drive’s goal is to get needy neighborhood students ready for school. For information, call Elizabeth Fomby at 214-827-1151.

Girl Scouts Recognize Volunteers: The Tejas Girl Scout Council recently handed out its 1997 Volunteer Awards. Among the recipients were neighborhood residents Martha Biesel (5 Year Service Pin), Karen Baginski (Outstanding Leader), Sarah Lancaster (Outstanding Leader), Elinor Seeley (Outstanding Leader), Carla Bailey (Outstanding Volunteer), and Christie Partee (Outstanding Volunteer).

National Night Out 1997: National Night Out 1997, a neighborhood event designed to promote police-community partnerships; crime, drug and violence prevention, and neighborhood unity, will take place August 5.

In Lakewood, the event will be held at Lakehill Preparatory School parking lot, 2720 Hillside, from 7-10 p.m. Bring your own homemade ice cream for the ice cream judging contest. Several neighborhood businesses have donated prizes for the raffle. Papa John’s Pizza is providing free pizza. For information, call Donna Smithson at 214-827-0343.

In Vickery Place, the event will be held on the 2800 block of Laneri, between Vickery and Goodwin from 6-8 p.m. This year’s event wil feature tasting booths, a mariachi band, The Five Animal Shaolin Kung Fu Company (a Chinese Dragon Dance troupe) and a raffle with prizes donated by area businesses. An ice cream freeze-off also is planned. There will also be plenty of fun for the kids, including face painting and several games. For information, call Hillary Hoover at 214-824-5554.


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