Developer Pulls Plans For Pedestrian Mall in Lakewood Shopping Center

The stretch of La Vista at the center of the debate.
The stretch of La Vista at the center of the debate.

It didn't take long after the news came out for Stonelake Capital Partners to abandon an attempt to transform the short stub of La Vista Drive between Skillman and Live Oak in Lakewood into a pedestrian mall.

Neighbors, it turns out, were none too happy with the proposal. Pat Carr, president of the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association, said neighbors were taken aback when they learned of the request from a letter from the city's Office of Sustainable Development. They were miffed, too, when they discovered that street abandonment, unlike, say, a street name change, does not have to go through the City Plan Commission, only to the full City Council.

"I think Council member Angela Hunt said it best" when she said she opposed the street's closure, Carr said.

On Saturday, Santos Martinez, Stonelake's zoning representative, said that, after meeting with neighborhood groups, the developer plans to withdraw its request for the city to abandon the road.

A casualty of the fight was Matt's Rancho Martinez, which was booted from its old space in February. It had planned to move to the old Consignment Solutions space at the corner of Skillman and La Vista. It had been about to pour concrete for a patio when news of the possible La Vista closure hit and what by all accounts will be a very ordinary restaurant patio became an object of suspicion.

"There was bad communication between homeowners and our developer, and we just got kind of caught in the middle of it," said Brian Marsters, Matt's director of operations.

With the announcement of Stonelake's intention to withdraw its abandonment request, the furor seems to be dying down. Marsters reported "very positive communications" on Saturday with Junius Heights, Lower Greenville, Munger Place, and Swiss Avenue neighborhood groups, who all seem eager for Matt's to reopen.

Carr, too, seemed placated, though she won't rest easy until the abandonment request is officially withdrawn. But she has no beef with Matt's plans for a patio. Matter of fact, she hopes they hurry up and get the patio done so she can go get a taco.

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