Live Oak Street may just be the apartment remodeling mecca of Dallas. You can’t turn around without bumping into some new townhomes or gutted apartment ready for a redo.

Horizontal wood, painted brick and new light fixtures can make a big difference for these aging apartments, and the gentrification must be lucrative. As young people are moving back to the urban core, developers are purchasing the old buildings, remodeling them and charging more for rent, pricing out previous residents and changing neighborhoods from East Dallas to West.

But with a tornado of redevelopment rumbling through East Dallas, the lot between Fitzhugh and Collett on the north side of Live Oak stands out, despite a plan to build townhomes on the property a couple years ago. The property contains remains of past buildings that poke out from the grass like ancient ruins. Shrubs and garbage pile near the property edges, reminding neighbors of the Albertson’s that almost was.

The Dallas Morning News archives has a few mentions of 4931 and 5003 Live Oak through the years, mostly the quaint wedding announcements, travel plans and social gatherings. The mentions end in 1972 and don’t give any clue as to why it hasn’t been developed.

According to Dallas Central Appraisal District, the properties are zoned commercial and owned by by McHane Live Oak LLP, which shares an address with a company in Austin called Cadence McShane Construction. Is this a typo from DCAD? Are these the same companies?

Cadence McShane Construction and the previous developer Larkspur Capital have not returned messages about plans for the lot, which is sometimes populated with tents but mostly stands empty, flanked on all sides by new construction and remodeled apartments.

The questions remains, why is this lot still empty? Is a burial ground involved? Is it a superfund site? Does McShane (or McHane) have grander plans than we can imagine? Time will tell.


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