Who would have thought the hottest commodity in East Dallas would be a grocery store? For months, the good folks in Lake Highlands waged a seriously coordinated campaign to get Trader Joe’s to open in the new and coming Lake Highlands Town Center. That would be a great location for them, but Joe & Co passed for now in favor of a couple other more developed locations. Simultaneously, Madison Partners (the real estate company which owns the old Arcadia site) has been busy promoting its new “Arcadia Park” concept. The idea was to have a handful of permanently mounted food trucks sharing some common facilities. Officials at the City of Dallas worked for months on creating zoning standards to create this type of facility. They were afraid that similar developments would pop up all over the city without proper zoning being addressed. Just before New Year’s day, word came down that instead of the food truck facility, Madison had landed Trader Joe’s as a tenant on the Arcadia site.
So what about the Food Trucks?
Plans are that the food truck concept will share the space with Trader Joe’s. This makes much more sense when you think about it. They will be able to share facilities such as restrooms and a covered eating area. Given the weather extremes we have, this will allow the food trucks to be open year round. Madison currently plans to roll out both Trader Joe’s and the food trucks about the same time. They have only just begun the process of getting permits and choosing a contractor, so don’t expect dirt to be flying anytime soon. Madison estimates opening near the end of 2012.
Why not the Whole Foods site?
The first question people ask is, why don’t they use the abandoned Whole Foods site? Mostly, that site is more than 3 times the size of the typical Trader Joe’s. Of course everything is bigger in Texas, but that pushes things a little too far. The typical Trader Joe’s is less that 15K sqft. The Whole Foods site is close to 45K sqft, not including the Blockbuster portion. In addition, Whole Foods is still holding the lease through 2013 and won’t give it up to another grocery store until it runs out. Plus, wouldn’t a new building with an attached food truck entertainment concept sound a lot more fun?