Two questions this morning about Trader Joe's plans to build its first Dallas location on the site where once the Arcadia stood: Does this kill the food-trailer park Madison Partners had planned for the site, and what does this mean for the old Whole Foods spot everyone thinks is going to Walmart? Not sure about the latter; messages have been left for former council member and property owner Mitchell Rasansky, who last said he's three delays into his deal with ... well, he still won't say.
But Jon Hetzel of Madison Partners, which owns the site, tells Unfair Park this morning that the food-trailer park's still a go, though plans have been significantly altered for two reasons. One, of course, is Trader Joe's -- a deal Hetzel says was "months in the making," hence his reluctance to give firm dates about the trailer park during our discussions in recent months. "Everyone's been bugging me: 'What's the deal with the food court? What's the deal with the food court?' And I couldn't say anything."
That, combined with the city council easing its restrictions on food trucks in recent months, will result in a "restaurant-bar building with a commissary in the back that would provide air-conditioned dining space for food-truck customers," as Hetzel describes it this morning
[Update at 12:37 p.m.: Among the info you'll find on the other side is the answer to several folks' questions about parking spaces for Trader Joe's.]
"We had that 120-degree Texas summer, which freaked everyone out about the viability of outdoor dining," he says. "We'll have a food-truck park around patio and have more of a traditional food-truck set-up without having everything bolted down, which was the original plan till the city eased its restrictions."
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There is no time line for the build-out: Hetzel concurs that "fourth quarter 2012" sounds about right for Trader Joe's opening, and he hopes to debut the food-truck court around the same time. "We don't want to do anything specific till Trader Joe's is going. Our main focus is to get that done. We do plan on trying to open them up concurrently. But arguably this will be more more exciting, because it'll be part of a larger development."
Madison Partners, of course, is the same property owner that tried to put a bowling alley in the old Lucky's Roadhouse spot next to Good Records, only to have its specific use permit rejected by the city council -- hence, the lawsuit against the city filed two weeks ago.
Update: Hetzel says "LGResident" is right about at least one thing, which is Madison Partners is indeed going to raze the old Encore nightclub at 5631 Sears and "use the big parking lot on the side of that to make one larger parking lot." He adds: "We also are going to have another parking lot on Sears and another one on Bell for overflow parking as well. But there will not be a parking garage. It's a 15,000-square-foot building."
When asked when construction will begin, Hetzel says: "As quick as we can. There are still a few steps. It's not going to begin in 30 days. There are construction drawings to be done, we have to get building permits and pick a contractor." But he doesn't expect a stop in front of the City Plan Commission: "You only have to go to the plan commission if there's a zoning change but building a grocer won't require that."