West Dallas Project Developer Says Project Won't Cannibalize Oak Cliff

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A developer of the mixed-use Sylvan Thirty project, situated on the boundary line between Oak Cliff and West Dallas, says the complex is unlikely to sap traffic and creative energy from the Bishop Arts District, a neighborhood that has recently incubated some of the city's most interesting restaurants.

In addition to 200 apartments and basic services such as dry-cleaning, the development will include a grocery, gourmet specialty shops and "approximately four restaurants," says Brent Jackson, president of Oaxaca Interests, LLC.

According to Jackson, Sylvan Thirty and the Bishop Arts District will have distinct, complementary identities.

"This goes back to listening to the land," says Jackson. "Each piece of property calls for its own uses, so if you stay true to that, you tend to stay away from cannibalizing other projects in and around the area because each project is so unique."

Jackson, who outlined the developers' plans at Go Oak Cliff's Fourth Friday breakfast this morning, believes concerns about the Sylvan Thirty project eclipsing Oak Cliff's commercial district are subsiding.

"I really do believe we're all kind of one family," he says. "Just as one brother may have one set of talents and attributes, another may have another set of talents and attributes."

Jackson's firm has recruited Cox Farms Markets to serve as Sylvan Thirty's anchor grocery store. The family-owned supermarket chain started in West Texas, and 20 years ago opened a location in Duncanville. Jackson says the current owner impressed him with his commitment to stocking local, organic goods, strong relationship with farmers and embrace of the surrounding community.

"The reason we chose Cox Farms Market was because when you walk into their store, you see a diverse customer base," Jackson says. "When I say all walks of life, I mean all races, all creeds, all religions. That diversity is critical to the success of Sylvan Thirty."

Asked what a grocery store might mean for the area -- whether it's classified as Oak Cliff or West Dallas -- Jackson pauses for nearly a minute.

"It is another gathering space to connect with existing gathering spaces," Jackson says. "We hope that's what the project is viewed as. A place for quiet meditation, but also a place for creative and exciting special events. Really, a gathering place where you can have all walks of life gather, and spend time together, and touch the land."

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