Keep Dallas Observer Free

Deep Ellum's Ambrose Complex on Green Line Is Done Trying to Make Retail Spaces Work

When The Ambrose and DART's Baylor University Medical Center Station on the Green Line finally, formally married three short years ago, Dallas Area Rapid Transit hailed it as the "consummate example of the new transit-oriented lifestyle." After all, the complex at Indiana and Malcolm X consisted of 325 apartments and a city block's worth of retail right on the rail. Said DART's Green Line Report from the spring of '09:

In a tough market for retail, the ground floor is nonetheless gradually filling in. A Jimmy John's sandwich chain will open in the near future. And things are already hopping at It's A Grind, the first Dallas location of a national coffeehouse franchise. On a recent weekday afternoon, there was no shortage of customers bantering with one another, ordering pastries, drinking coffee, and settling in with their laptops. Initial popularity notwithstanding, the store's staff is anticipating a serious boost in business when the station opens. "September can't come fast enough for us," says Cindy Chaffin, the store's marketing director. "That's why we chose our location -- train service will be huge for us."

But the Jimmy John's lasted about as long as it took to finish a sandwich. And It's a Grind shuttered suddenly last October, with owner Serena Connelly acknowledging "the overall project has not proven to be feasible financially." And now that 13,913 square feet of ground-level retail space sits vacant. The reasons are myriad: Rent's high (said to be double normal Deep Ellum asking prices), the location's hard to find unless you're riding the rail, and, in the words of Deep Ellum Public Improvement District president Barry Annino, "There still are not that many people riding the train yet. It's not yet an urban world."

Which is why Broadstone Ambrose will go to the City Plan Commission this afternoon and request a zoning do-over: The complex owner will ask the city for the OK to rewrite its small piece of the Deep Ellum Special Purpose District that will allow it to convert the ground-floor retail into "multifamily units." Says the CPC doc prepped by an approving city staff: "The applicant has indicated that the retail space has been difficult to lease or to maintain tenants due the location of the development."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.