I like that camo draping those wooden picnic tables on the site of the former Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts at Sylvan and Fort Worth Avenue -- very M*A*S*H. In recent months, of course, that's been the site of the Cox Farms outdoor market, a sorta sneak peek at what's to come for the site of the project known as Sylvan Thirty. But this weekend's the Big Adios, the final market. After that, says Oaxaca Interests's Brent Jackson, there'll be live music on the property: "It'll be a really neat gathering spot," he tells Unfair Park this afternoon. "We'll encourage all of the community to come out and enjoy."
Reason I called Jackson, president of Sylvan Thirty, was: Yesterday I drove by the site of the West Dallas Chamber-endorsed project and noticed the sign asking folks interested in leasing a spot to stop by the website. I was curious to see how that was going. Then, today, 36 new conceptual renderings of the development were posted on Flickr, giving us our first real glimpse at what Jackson envisions for the property -- where, he told Hanna back in March, he also hopes to open four restaurants.
That's still the plan -- "chef-driven concepts," though, is all he'll say, in anticipation of a formal announcement come, oh, early October. Ish.
"It's still a work in progress," Jackson says of the renderings, offered in advance of the project's going before the City Plan Commission in coming weeks. "We hope to begin construction by the end of the year. We've spoken to a lot of folks in the West Dallas and Oak Cliff area about the project, and the grocery store is really drawing quite a bit of attention in the sense that people can't wait for it."
Jackson doesn't want to go into too much detail about the project; there's plenty of time for that at City Hall (there's talk of TIF funding) and in announcements due in coming weeks. But he does stress: In addition to the various food components, there will be other services as well -- a dry cleaners, for instance, and a salon. And: other stuff. Just wait. Be patient.
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"I will say this: One of the more important components of the project, if not the most important component, is diversity," he says. "What I mean by that is not only does the tenant mix need to be diverse, but we need the consumer base to be diverse. There's a very sound economic reason for this: User diversity and consumer diversity actually help mitigate large ebbs and flows in the economy, so being smart about it, you always want to diversity your tenant mix and consumer mix. The other reason we promote diversity is there's something authentic, something genuine, something real about being in an area that is truly diverse that's important to us and me personally."
And, yes, they're still planning on building apartments -- about 200 units, at present.
I asked Jackson about that two-story building proposed at Sylvan and Fort Worth. Again, he didn't want to say much about it -- because, he explained, he's negotiating with someone for the spot, and that someone will fill both stories. Sure looks like a restaurant ...
"Right at that intersection, that's the apex where you want so much life, so we thought why don't we give a little extra space and height?" he says. "And the views of downtown you can't beat."