La Acapulqueña site on Samuell Boulevard. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Lakewood Heights Patrick Donlin is known for purchasing single-family homes, fixing them up and leasing them out to East Dallas neighbors.

But with a recent buy, he’s dipping his toe into commercial property management.

Donlin has had his eye on the corner spaces at 2706 Samuell Blvd., which used to be the La Acapulqueña and El Taco Loco restaurants. La Acapulqueña closed in December 2021 due to labor shortages.

“I really like East Dallas, and I like trying to be more a part of the community, so I had been looking for something that was transformable,” Donlin says. “The big thing for me is it’s got to be good bones, good structure, good history.”

Other than the sign on the door announcing the closure and the banner advertising the available space, La Acapulqueña looks like it could still be open. Inside, all of the tables and chairs are still placed throughout the dining room. The kitchen is stocked with dishes, and the pantry has extra supplies. There’s even a whole cooler full of beer.

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Donlin and his team added the banner announcing the space’s availability April 6. On April 7, seven people called to discuss their interest in one part of the property.

There are two spaces available for dining uses. One of them is the old La Acapulqueña, a 4,000-square-foot spot complete with a bar, dining room and kitchen. The other is an 800-square-foot space with a small kitchen and a take-out window. It had been used as a late-night taco stand.

“I’ve talked to people doing crawfish, doing funnel cakes, doing tacos,” Donlin says. “It can be reimagined in a positive way.”

Both of the restaurant spaces are for the most part ready for tenants. Donlin and his team just have to finish up a few things, but he says a business could be moved in and operating by June. They’d also be able to take what’s already there and customize it to fit their needs.

The bar at La Acapulqueña. Photo by Renee Umsted.

“This is an iconic property that is in a really good corner, noticeable location that people recognize, and I think that they can inherit a lot of the good will that the previous restaurant had,” he says.

As of publication time, Donlin is asking $2,500 per month for the smaller dining space and $9,500 per month for the larger.

The restaurant spaces are currently connected to a second piece of the property, which Donlin hopes to convert to retail space. It’s one big room with a long bar anchored to one wall, but Donlin has plans to add a wall inside to divide the space in two and add a second door to create a dedicated entrance and exit point for the future retail spot.

Patrick Donlin wants to renovate this space and use it for retail. Photo by Patrick Donlin.

But the retail spaces won’t be available for several months. There’s a big room in the back that is cluttered with furniture and a random assortment of items, such as unusable pipes. It will take a while to sort through everything, to decide what can be sold, donated, reused or thrown out.

Also, work has to be done to repair damage caused by a water leak. Crews have already installed a new roof and tuned up some of the air conditioning machines. They’re working on sheetrock, plumbing and electrical updates, and new windows have to be added. And Donlin says other problems could be found when they complete further renovation.

He is looking for four local tenants — two restaurants and two retail businesses — to move into the property after renovations are made.

“For me, it’s enjoyable to take an iconic property that needs some love and bring it to what glory that it could be,” Donlin says.

La Acapulqueña and El Taco Loco. Photo by Renee Umsted.

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