The quest to freshen up Victory Park with a little local flavor has just netted Charlie Green, founder of Olivella's near Southern Methodist University. There Green will revise and, blessedly, expand his successful Neapolitan pizza closet. Victory's Olivella will have the same core SMU menu amended with additional pizza and panini offerings (on account of the larger prep kitchen and an additional wood-fired oven) plus elbow room: 3,800 square feet versus 900 for the SMU version. He plans to call it Olivella's Neo Pizza Napolitano (come October) with a casual lounge dubbed the Slice Bar serving pie slice and drink combos.
Uber-developer Brett Landes of the Landes Group has unveiled his plans for the 0.85 acre plot he acquired on Routh Street and McKinney Avenue—most recently home to the Hard Rock Café and the circa-1906 McKinney Avenue Baptist Church before that. Up from the Hard Rock rubble will rise McKinney Avenue Tower, a 16-story, 141-unit apartment complex with a four-story, egg-shaped abutment made entirely of glass filling the wedged Routh-McKinney corner. Housed within the egg will be a leasing office, a fitness center and a rooftop pool with stool seating. Add to that a huge computerized, LED display screen that will feature digitized renderings of works from local artists—a little Victory in Uptown.
Catering to the pool crowd with drinks and finger foods will be bar czar Frankie Carabetta (Tribeca), whom Landes is also partnering with to develop a bar-plex on McKinney featuring an upper-level nightclub with a rooftop terrace and a lower-level sports bar called the Liar's Den. Liar's Den will feature famous liars in history such as Bill Clinton, Barry Bonds and Pete Rose.
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Savor the irony: Some called Landes a liar in a post on the Dallas Observer's Unfair Park blog while he was taking flak for ripping down the Hard Rock. Councilwoman Angela Hunt, for one, alleged that Landes promised to preserve it as a historical landmark. Landes counters that he sunk a quarter of a million dollars into the building to keep it on life support while he conducted a nationwide search for a tenant. He found no takers. In the end, Landes says, it was a dysfunctional building with untold hazards. His $40 million replacement should open sometime in 2009.