Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Knox Street's days as a Dallas-area district with a small-town feel may soon ... - Dallas Morning News (blog)

One of the redevelopment schemes supposedly being considered for Knox Street (D-FW Urban Development Forum)

One of the Dallas-area’s first “suburban” business districts sprang up along Knox Street, just east of Highland Park.

The retail street stretched between the old Highland Park MKT rail station on Abbott Avenue and the North Central Texas Railway Line which ran where Central Expressway is now located. Starting after the turn of the 20th century, businesses began to spring up along the street â€" including the venerable Highland Park Pharmacy, the Highland Park Cafeteria and Knox Street Theater (a movie and stage play theater house). The train station was torn down back in the 1970s. And most of the original businesses, except for the pharmacy lunch counter, are long gone.

Original Highland Park Cafeteria (Highland Park Cafeteria)

Starting in the late 1980s the area began to redevelop with new apartment and condo projects and modern buildings including Crate & Barrel store and Apple’s recently expanded retail outlet.
But Knox Street still feels a lot like an old Texas small town square, with several old buildings from the 1920s and 1930s lining the streetfront.

That may be about to change.

For several months, Sarofim Realty Advisors â€" a Dallas-based investor that’s been a major property owner in the Knox Street district for almost 20 years â€" has been quietly working on plans for a redevelopment at the corner of Knox and Cole Avenue. Real estate and retail folks say that old buildings stretching from Armstrong Avenue to Knox along Cole will be knocked down to make way for a new mixed-use development.

There’s a lot of talk about a Trader Joe’s grocery being one of the new anchors for the project.

So far Saroim and the property firms that work with it aren’t talking about their plans. But some supposed “spy” photos of development schemes for the project which have made it onto the Web show buildings that would look at home on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue or fronting on Union Square in San Francisco.

I guess it’s no surprise that with property values in nearby Uptown on the rise, that Knox Streets days as a relic from the early 1900s may soon be over.

A 1924 photo of Knox Street shows construction on the right of the current Highland Park Soda Fountain building. (DMN files)

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