Wait, Elliott's Hardware Is For Sale?

Yup -- says so right here. The Maple Ave. location, that is. Elliott's has been there since '84, 37 years after Jerre and Kathleen Elliott turned an old house on Maple into a hardware-etc. institution. Says The News story, the family-owned-and-operated establishment just down the street from Unfair Park HQ (and, apparently, our one-and-only Best Hardware Store winner) doesn't need all 75,000 square feet -- something smaller, maybe a quarter that size.

But Maria Halkias doesn't mention for how much Newt Walker's trying to sell the place. For that, we turn to LoopNet, where it suggests the building "could be used for medical or continued use a retail." And, we discover the asking price is but a low, low ... $8 million? Hey now. Maybe they don't really want to move after all. But if someone's willing to pay that price, why not get while the gettin' is good?

"You gotta ask something," Walker says when reached by Unfair Park. He's kidding, of course. But Walker explains the asking price: "They have no debt, and they don't need to sell." And, for years, they wouldn't: Walker says back when he was assembling the Inland American property behind Elliott's six years ago, which eventually became Crow Residential's Alexan Southwestern, Elliott's wasn't interested in selling.

"There wasn't enough money to buy it," he says. "But times have changed, and there is competition with Lowe's and Home Depot. The pricing point's the same, but people go to Home Depot and Lowe's because it's closer to where they're coming from, unless they're looking for hard-to-find stuff." Speaking of, he swears Elliott's, if and when it moves, won't be hard to find. Matter of fact, he knows of at least one good potential location for the landmark ...

Walker says the Elliott's site is a "one-of-a-kind" -- the biggest big box in the 214. And it's in one hell of a good spot: Across the street from the new Parkland ("as big as Cowboys Stadium," as Walker likes to put it), not 1,000 feet from a Dallas Area Rapid Transit station and on a piece of property that's got no environmental remediation issues whatsoever. That, combined with enormo ceilings and sprinklers throughout, leads to all kinds of possibilities, says the property's salesman.

"Four, five years ago they would have torn it down," Walker says. "Today I think someone will use the building. When you look at the pricing of it, what you're looking at is something around $100 a foot, which means you need $10 net rents. So you look at that, and there are a lot of people who can afford that kind of rent, and it might be an adaptive reuse of the building to some medical component that wants to be near the new $1-billion hospital but not under the umbrella of Parkland.

"When we were hired to sell Forest and Central, I said, 'Who am I going to sell to?' Then we sold 20 acres to Forest Park Medical Center, private physicians doing their own deal. The small CompUSA at Walnut Hill and Central? Docs bought that to convert into private medical. You've gor something the size of the new Cowboys Stadium across the street and a DART. If someone has called me before Elliott's and said, 'I need a big box in the inner-city,' I'd say it doesn't exist."

Walker says looking for a new site is a ways off -- it could take up to two years, he says, to sell Elliott's. A would-be buyer might want to wait till Parkland's new billion-dollar campus is complete before stepping up with the big check.

But he does think "maybe Lower Greenville, in old the Whole Foods location" would be a good spot to think about moving. "Neighbors would love it," he says. But wherever they end up, "I am not concerned about finding them a new home that would serve those who go there. if you're from Dallas, you know where Elliott's is. And you always will."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky