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Best Repurposing of a Crap Mall Dallas 2006 - Olla Podrida Turns Into Hebrew School, Seriously

Olla Podrida closed down exactly 10 years ago this summer, and if you're not from around these parts, let us explain how much of a heartbreaker that was for some of us natives. See, it was an oddball mall at Coit Road and LBJ Freeway built, from what we hear, out of abandoned airplane hangars. Best we can recall, the inside was wood, wood and more wood; our hazy memories recall the place looking like a pirate ship. And it wasn't your average mall, but one filled with artsy-craftsy kiosks--glass-blowers, landscape artists, people who made things with rope, candy-makers--in other words, everyone who sooner or later wound up at the West End Marketplace till it shuttered earlier this year. Well, Olla Podrida is now the home of Akiba Academy and Yavneh Academy--schools for the Chosen People, as opposed to, oh, the Da Vinci Academy, which is a school for the Accepted People, and there's a big difference. The Hebrew learnin' facilities purchased the mall three years ago, tore the place down and built in its place some fancy new kosher digs. Oh, but Olla Podrida lives: There's a band from Austin with the same name (more or less--it drops one "l") featuring David Wingo, who writes the music for the movies of David Gordon Green, who's from Dallas. And the circle is complete.
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any of those folks find new digs?

David Kittrell
David Kittrell

For those of us made the Olla Podrida our day home, when it shut down, we felt like orphan children who were being sent off in different directions against our will. To get to some historical fact, the Highland Park Airport was property was given to the Richardson ISD during WW2 and they sold it to Mr. Moore of Moore Chevrolet, Dallas who tore down the old buildings and erected cast concrete slabs on dirt floors to make a three unit storage barn for his new models to hide until the State Fair. Then, he used it to hide some cars from the Dallas tax guys around Jan 1 each year. When Trammel Crow started the Park Central project, he put a guy in charge who thought it would make a cool eclectic market for artists to make their work in front of the public. It was a great success for years. Only after years of neglect by the owners did it fall in quality to the level of your titled description.


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