by Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor, Dallas News
The Lakeridge shopping center in Northeast Dallas is getting a major makeover.
The Lake Highlands center, which was built in the 1960s, is surrounded by thriving neighborhoods that have lacked nearby restaurant and retail options.
A $26 million renovation of the more than 100,000-square-foot retail project at Audelia Road and Walnut Hill Lane should be finished by this summer.
The city of Dallas is kicking in more than $4 million in economic incentives to overhaul the dated buildings.
“The city viewed this as a potentially transformative project, and we certainly agree,” said Daniel Fuller of Shop Cos., which is leading the redevelopment. “The center was so dilapidated that the neighbors are excited to see something happening.”
Shop Cos. and partner North American Development Group began working two years ago to restore Lakeridge.
The retail buildings were previously owned by an out-of-town investor and were covered with gray paint and faux metal roofs from the 1970s.
“We stripped away the old mansard roof and have taken the buildings back to a cleaner, mid-century design,” Fuller said. “We are installing a new heavy-gage steel canopy with a warm wood soffit under it and steel strapping — details you wouldn’t normally see in a neighborhood shopping center.”
Parts of the parking lot will be paved with decomposed granite, which is softer gravel.
And a green pocket park with children’s play areas is being built in what was previously a sea of concrete.
“We are really proud of the park feature in the middle,” Fuller said. “It will be a gathering spot for the neighborhood.”
Some of the new tenants on the way include Vector Brewing, which will have more than 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.
“We’ve created a number of oversized patios for dining,” Fuller said.
Taco Joint restaurant and the Store in Lake Highlands — a longtime neighborhood gift and clothing merchant — have signed leases, too.
“The idea is this will be merchandised predominately with local, East Dallas-based tenants,” Fuller said. “The neighborhood that supports this center really wants that local offering.”
The area around Lakeridge is gentrifying, with more than 65,000 households within three miles of the center with an average income of more than $78,000.
“As good as the demographics are, they are getting better by the day,” Fuller said. “This has been a terribly underserved area of town for retail.
“We hear people are tired of having to leave their neighborhood,” he said. “The tenant interest has been huge.”
One of the newest tenants is RM 12:20 Bistro, an eatery that opened last month.
Owner Erin Willis said the response so far has been good, even with the ongoing construction.
“We are getting a good mix of neighborhood people but we’re also getting a lot of people from Lakewood and Preston Hollow,” Willis said. “The neighborhood has been super supportive.”
Other tenants in the works at Lakeridge include a yoga studio, a coffee shop, a children’s barber and a wine bar.
A. Gruppo Architects and TGB Partners designed the renovation.
The Lake Highlands center is one of two northeast Dallas redevelopments Shop Cos. is working on. The retail real estate firm is also overseeing renovations to the landmark Casa View Village shopping center on Gus Thomasson Road.
“We would like to do more in East Dallas,” Fuller said. “There is a real energy here.”