Highland Park Soda Fountain to Close with Uncertain Future

Multiple outlets are reporting that he HP Soda Fountain at the Corner of Knox and Travis is set to close on Sept. 9 after over 100 years in the same location.  We have heard that the Weir’s space is being redeveloped into a high-rise which will include a new Weir’s store and many floors of office space.  In the initial press release and renderings, we were led to believe that the soda fountain space would be preserved in its current format, carved out of the new building’s footprint.  It will be very interesting to see what happens here.  If you grew up going to the old fountain as many of us did, this is a very sad development.  It is my personal fear that the original soda fountain building will have to be demolished as a part of the greater demolition and construction process.  If this were to happen, I believe it will be very difficult to re-open in a newly constructed place.

It’s hard to see our beloved Knox street institutions close, but I suppose we should be grateful that they have lasted this long.  All things change and progress continues, but the loss of our soda fountain (and possibly the building) will be a true casualty of progress. These combined losses of Knox Street institutions will only further the erosion to the Knox neighborhood identity.  I loathe the idea that we are becoming a neighborhood of cardboard apartments and retail spaces with zero architectural identity or permanent residents.

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The orginal Knox Street Pub and updates…

D Magazine published a great article about the original Knox Street Pub which pre-dated the Chili’s which pre-dated Up On Knox.  It’s worth a read and gives some great perspective as to what was happening in the Knox neighborhood and in Dallas at that time.  It’s also interesting that it was somewhat the original fern bar which Chili’s later copied with great success.  In the very same location!

https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2018/05/remembering-the-knox-street-pub-dallas-home-for-counterculture/

 

Other news updates….

Many apartment projects underway.  Notably, Southern Land Company’s high-rise on Oliver and NCX is well underway and the cranes are up.  This project was talked about for a couple of years with many delays before they were able to break ground.

It’s looking very likely that there will be dense apartments built along Cole between Armstrong and Oliver.  It looks like there has been or will be a buyout of the condos at Armstrong and Cole.  Sadly, that includes the one bedroom contemporary condos.  Some of my favorites of the owner occupied stock.

Weir’s has continued to say they are looking to begin their massive redevelopment.  I’m guessing this is a very long process and it may take a long time before the wrecking ball starts swinging.

According to the last update from the Dallas Complete Streets initiative, construction should have begun by now to begin converting Knox to one lane each direction with a turn lane and angled parking.  If anyone, has an update on this, please send it our way.

Villa-O has closed and I have begun to hear a rumor that the people who own Up On Knox and Le Bilboquet are planning a third restaurant concept for this space.  If true, I would expect another high quality dining option.

The Katy Trail is working on the Cambrick entrance, they are planning for an Oliver Street entrance!  I have no idea how soon we may see this, but its very exciting that there will be more trail access throughout the neighborhood.

Michael Dell is the new King of Knox Street

We mentioned here a while back that Michael Dell was in talks to purchase Sarofim’s interests on Knox Street and in the Knox neighborhood.  The Dallas Morning News has now confirmed the purchase.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2018/04/06/billionaire-michael-dell-now-biggest-landlord-dallas-popular-knox-street

This is a major changing of the guard and we hope that the new ownership will continue the positive changes that Sarofim pioneered.  Stay tuned for any new information.

The times are changing

http://dallas.towers.net/2017/12/15/developer-alliance-residential-eyes-apartments-in-knox-henderson/

A very interesting read from towers about the proposed apartments to be built on Cole Avenue between Armstrong and Oliver.  The developer is asking for an 85 ft variance and will likely transform that block into dense multifamily. Units will essentially be small, affordable, studio apartments. (And a lot of them.) The Oak Lawn Committee took a strong stance against the project moving forward as proposed and the developer is working on its own grass roots endeavor to win over neighbors.

This project will certainly set the stage for the rest of the area being converted from less dense 2 story owner occupied toward dense multifamily along Cole Ave.  I expect that it will look more like the Aura apartments and less like the dense tree covered adoption center that it replaced (Fitzhugh and McKinney).

The project already well underway at the intersection of Monticello and McKinney will be a similar project.  5 levels of wood construction built on a semi-underground, concrete parking garage.

The new tower at Oliver and NCX is also moving forward after what seemed like years of delay. This is supposed to be 18 stories of premium ‘luxury’ apartments. They too have cleared all the trees from the lot.

Many changes and many more to come to our neighborhood. I heard that the On the Border will also be closing to be redeveloped. More news on that coming soon.

Sarofim is putting its Knox Street properties up for sale

Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News is reporting:

“The largest owner in Dallas’ hot Knox Street business district is putting its properties up for sale.

Sarofim Realty Advisors has spent almost three decades buying and developing retail and apartment projects in the Knox Street corridor. It owns owns development sites along Travis Street.

The private real estate firm — they built the new high-rise apartment and retail project at Cole and Armstrong avenues that houses Trader Joe’s — has quietly put the buildings and land located on six blocks just east of Highland Park up for sale.”

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2017/12/19/six-blocks-dallas-hot-knox-street-sale

This is huge news.  Sarofim has been the largest player in this area for a long time.  For years they’ve planned to develop the block on the southwest corner of Knox and Travis, but nothing has been done.  It leaves me to believe they think the end of the cycle is nearing and want to lock in some of the upside they have helped to create.  We will continue to follow this story.

 

Bikeshares, consider yourselves on notice.

Enough is enough.  I’ve been holding back, but since Katy Trail Dallas has publicly posted about the bikeshare problem, I’m going to put in my 2 cents.

Today the Katy Trail’s official Instagram account posted information that all but calls the bikeshare companies a problem.  But really, that’s what they’ve become.  Bikeshares are meant to enhance the transportation and recreation options for our neighborhood.  Now they are becoming a nuisance with too many bikes littering the trail, blocking our sidewalks and accumulating on public and private property.  The photo below shows a prime example where vbikes is using the corner of Knox and McKinney for advertising without consideration for those who need to use the sidewalk.

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Vbikes isn’t the only one engaging in this practice and I hate to single them out, but this is an example of too many bikes blocking a main neighborhood walkway.  The Katy Trail is encouraging people to download the 311 app and report nuisance bikeshare bikes that block public walkways, and I’d even go a step further to say to move them out of the way.

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Weirs reveals new plans for Knox Street location

As reported here back in June, Weirs has major plans for its Knox Street Store. DMN is reporting that a 12 story building is planned with emphasis that the 100+ year old Highland Park Soda Fountain will remain on the corner.  Plans call for 50,000 feet of retail space and a 6 story, sub level parking garage.  It also sounds like Weirs will face Travis creating more retail frontage availability on Knox Street.

We will continue to update as more information becomes available.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2017/11/14/knox-streets-familiar-weirs-furniture-block-getting-high-rise-makeover