All gentrified roads lead to Ross and Greenville.
Punk rock left Deep Ellum, where swanky restaurants are now taking hold.
Luxury condos are replacing neglected apartment buildings in Old East Dallas. Ross Avenue east of downtown is Uptown, Jr. And the street improvements on robust Lower Greenville are just about complete.
At the crossroads of all that progress is a 1938 shopping center that’s having a renaissance.
“It’s the apex of the triangle to where development is leading,” says Stephen Schwartz, who bought the vintage retail strip at Ross and Greenville in 2013. “It’s a confluence of all the redevelopment meeting at that corner.”
Schwartz and his partners are only the second owners of the 78-year-old shopping center that still houses beloved dive bar Ships Lounge.
Ross Avenue east of downtown is Uptown, Jr. And the street improvements on robust Lower Greenville are just about complete.
The property’s new owners spent about $2 million renovating it — new roof, bathrooms, water and sewer lines, with environmental remediation eating up most of that.
Pints and Quarts, a cute beer-burgers-and-dogs place, was the first new business to open, replacing the used tire shop that formerly occupied a building on the property’s hard corner.
All except one of the previous tenants uprooted.
The Rec Shop moved to East Grand, and Monterrey restaurant closed. The paint store had time left on its lease, so Schwartz and company didn’t begin renovating the main building until summer 2014.
Ships got new bathrooms and new owners, but it still has the same old jukebox and tattered bar stools.
All of the shopping center’s new tenants are very hip.
Milk • Cream serves ice-cream-filled doughnuts, a trend known as “milky buns” that California birthed in 2014. There’s a cross-training gym on the Munger Avenue side.
Then came artisanal toast.
Longtime East Dallas resident Bob Sinnott and business partner Joel Roldan brought the pinnacle of food trends to this union of hip neighborhoods. Their Toasted Coffee + Kitchen, a San Francisco-style artisanal toast shop, opened in a space that used to be part of the paint store (see more on page 28).
“Our space here is beautiful. It has like an industrial lofty San Francisco feel.”
“Our space here is beautiful. It has, like, an industrial lofty San Francisco feel,” Sinnott says. “We want it to be a place that people come for lunch and dinner, but also hang out and work on their laptops and have a great cup of coffee.”
The shopping center for ages was home to Sammy’s Terrace Restaurant, the first in a string or five or six Sammy’s restaurants operated by the Messina brothers from the early 1940s through the late ’60s.
Later, that unique space with the terrace housed a Freed’s Furniture showroom. It was an art gallery before Monterrey’s moved in.
Even though the cross-training gym now takes part of that terrace space, there is still a restaurant for lease that has access to the terrace and a downtown view.
“It would be a really cool feature for somebody,” Schwartz says. “We’re trying to find just the right tenant.”
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