Since February of this year, CBRE has been looking for new tenants. Jonathan Diamond is one of the brokers representing Willingham Property Co., who owns the theater, and is hoping to find a single tenant to take on the entire space but is open to other options, too.
One possibility, he says, is a Bowl and Barrel-type concept. The upscale boutique bowling alley serves craft beer and cocktails, with a location in the Shops at Park Lane. Diamond mentioned being in touch with The Rustic, the Uptown concert venue and restaurant, as another possible option, as well as Alamo Drafthouse, which will soon be opening at Skillman and Abrams, and Landmark Theatres, which is owned by Dallasite Mark Cuban.
Diamond says that the sizable ceiling heights and lack of columns are advantages for the space, which could be broken into multiple parcels as well. “There’s a hole in that market for soft goods,” he says, referring to non-restaurant uses such as clothing, beauty and pet supply stores.
Diamond says the owners have “gutted it and done all the remediation,” though they have been careful to preserve what made the building a landmark. Norman Alston, a Hollywood-Santa Monica neighbor and architect who specializes in historic structures, worked with the owners to preserve the facade and iconic tower, as well as the interior murals by Dallas Nine artist Perry Nichols. He also discovered from the Lakewood Theater’s original architectural drawings that there likely were plans to add retail space to the theater’s southern wall, which gives the owners the option to build onto the south side and create openings in that wall.
When we spoke with Alston a few months ago, he told us that “the owners think restaurants are the most likely scenario,” but that the brokers were still in conversations with performance and entertainment venues.
“At one point I thought, ‘Well, we’ve been through that list,’ but it turns out that list is much bigger,” Alston says.
Diamond’s view of an ideal tenant for the theater is “a cool bowling alley or another movie theater.”
Whether that’s a likely outcome, however, “comes down to economics,” he says. “There’s a great market. If you look at the demographics over there, they’re very strong. People have money.”
Additional reporting by Keri Mitchell
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