Razing of old “‘Mary Thumb’

Posted on 19 Jan 2007 at 10:43am
By By John Wright Staff Writer

Developer attributes delay in start of work to city permit process

Development of the site of the old Tom Thumb store on Cedar Springs Road in Oak Lawn has been delayed.

Mick Rossley, vice president for developer the Crosland Group, previously told Dallas Voice construction would begin in September or October. However, Rossley said last week that due to permitting and other issues related to the city’s approval of the project, he does not expect construction to begin at least until the end of November.

The Crosland Group plans 316 luxury apartment units and 22,000 square feet of retail at the site of the store, which for three decades was affectionally called “Mary Thumb” by local gay men.

“I’ve got about 35 reasons why we’re not starting,” Rossley said, adding there is “no doubt” the project will go forward. “We’re hoping it’s Nov. 30. It may not be until January or February of next year.”

In the meantime, Rossley said, the Crosland Group is making an effort to combat vagrancy and crime at the vacant site.

He said the company has installed lighting, regularly picks up trash and recently tore out bushes where homeless people were sleeping.

“We’ve been as proactive as we could,” he said.

When construction begins, the site will be completely fenced, Crossley said. While that will keep people off, it will also eliminate hundreds of parking spaces.

“The parking situation will be a little more difficult for a while, but better things will follow,” he said.

Construction is expected to take about two years and likely will coincide with development of a parcel on the opposite side of Cedar Springs Road.

That’s where the Lane Co. plans to replace the Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs apartment complexes with 240 rental units.

“We’re hoping that they build what they’re talking about building,” Crossley said. “The whole corridor will be more prestigious with both of our developments there.”

Mark McHenry, development partner for the Southwest Region of the Lane Co., said the City Council recently approved a rezone of the parcel, which is under contract.

McHenry said the project is on schedule for construction to begin in the spring. It will take about 18 months. The Lane Co. must honor existing leases in the Douglas Park and 4242 complexes.

Despite 556 units between the two projects, McHenry said he’s not worried about whether there will be sufficient demand.

“If we didn’t feel good about the demand and the supply, we wouldn’t be looking at the project,” he said.

wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 19, 2007

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