Lincoln unveils Gaston-Garland plans. Oh well.

Lincoln's new plans for the former YMCA and Far West building involve a big grocery store and a few other businesses.

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.)

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  • Perhaps a little social media involvement could help influence the outcome of this development. I started a Facebook group in the hopes of bringing a Central Market to this location. Please join the group so we can continue the discussion.

  • Tedbarker45

    Simply; missed opportunity to be an impact owner.

  • stuart

    At first I thought you said a bridge OVER the lake and I was a bit confused!  😉

    There where plans for a bridge before the YMCA left. I don’t know if that might still happen. Not much point, I guess if it is just going to be a strip mall.

  • Valengland1

    It is unfortunate that no one can have a vision for what I consider to be the gateway for all of Lakewood, East Dallas and Forest Hills. It could become a known landmark that houses many amenities and with a second or third story, if zoning permitted, could have one of the most beautiful views of White Rock Lake. I still believe a bridge over to the lake would be an enhancement. I’ll keep hoping that one day that corner gets the credit it deserves instead of always being labeled an eyesore. It deserves more than that.

  • Bmw Biker

    With the running, biking, walking, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, sailing, and hiking that happens all around our lake and neighborhoods … don’t you think an REI store would be ideal fit? This area is such a great place already & to come in with status quo development just does not fit fabric of our comunity.

  • Blevy, I hadn’t heard that, but it makes sense from SMU’s standpoint in terms of building a more cohesive student community. As far as impacting Lincoln, say, on a project at the base of the Spillway, I would say no — at least not there. That seems farther from campus than most students would prefer to stay. It’s probably affecting The Village at Lovers and Greenville a bit, though, and that’s a Lincoln property.

  • Blevy

     Rick, I wonder if you think that SMU’s new requirement that students live on campus  for 2 years and the new multi-dorm complex being put up to accomplish that–is effecting the plans of developers.  It does mean that potentially 1000 students who would otherwise be living off campus will now be housed at SMU.

  • Blevy

    With this and the Chiplote story, it’s is upsetting to learn that what vcould have been an interesting game changer for Lakewood and East Dallas is turning into something extremely prosaic. It’s turning our neighborhood into a clone of a boring stretch of North Dallas. Yuck. 

  • Los_Politico, he might have been joking, but he hit upon what a number of people do think about development anywhere near the Lake.

  • Los_Politico

    I think Stuart was joking.

  • Brandye, that’s the frustrating part of this deal for me. Other than Trammell Crow, Lincoln Properties is the developer most associated with the city because it began here, it’s based here in Dallas and they do a good job with their projects (the Village Apartments at Lovers/Greenville is theirs). And the guys running the Gaston/Garland development live here in the neighborhood. I would have to guess that the quickest way to profit from this site is to do what they’re doing, and I can’t blame them for wanting to turn a quick buck. But as I mentioned in the comment to Judy (below), they could do so much more with the property and still make money (maybe more money, even with the holding and development costs), in my humble and relatively uninformed opinion. It would just take longer, and in real estate, time often is equated with risk.

  • Stuart, I just don’t see how having a 4-5 story building in a location a ways away from the Lake and at a lower elevation than the Lake will ruin it. And I will say this: I’m not advocating development on the shores of the Lake (and the city owns most of that property so we don’t have to worry about that anyway), but as I’ve written about in the past, development along Garland Road eventually will go vertical as property values increase. And personally, I don’t think a mid-rise building on Garland Road is going to hurt the Lake. But I know there are a lot of you who feel differently…

  • Los_Politico

    So this sounds like there will be no new construction, just updates to the facade. Is that correct?

    Whatever happened to the Lakewood Town Center concept? Didn’t I see on here once renderings of a traffic circle with a fountain and 3-5 story stucco buildings?

  • Rick-
    That’s a great idea and exactly what our neighborhood needs. We certainly pay the property tax dollars to live in this neighborhood and we need better amenities no doubt. We would flock to a place like that instead of leaving our own community to go to shop and dine at HP Village, Uptown, etc., etc. Why don’t the developers get this? They obviously don’t live here.

  • stuart

    Any more than three stories and you’ll ruin the lake forever! You might was well fill it in with concrete.

  • Judy, if I had the money, I would go back to the city for rezoning and see about building a 4-5 mixed use site, with retail on the first floor and apartments/condos on the upper floors, much like the development at Greenville and SMU Boulevard that houses the Nodding Donkey and Torchy’s Tacos. The grocery store Lincoln seems bent on getting would still fit in, and there would be no shortage of interest in the apartments due to their proximity (and perhaps event view on the top floors) of White Rock Lake and the Spillway. Coupled with the the Santa Fe Trail nearby and easy connection to the Lake from the back of the property, I think that makes a better gateway than a strip center, the economics should still be sound (although the up-front cost is significantly more) and I think it’s a project the city would “contribute” to in terms of development money and/or tax abatements — the same thing the city has been doing with other developments around town. But as I mentioned in the post, this is Lincoln’s property and their money, so it’s their call. To see a picture of what I’m talking about at Greenville & SMU, check out this link on our Lake Highlands website:

  • Judyghoward

    What would you do with that piece of land?

  • Sammy

    Bo-ring. I fear Applebee’s.

  • NoThankYou

    weak, but maybe its just a get it going get the area up, build more later?