ilume for sale — presumably to raise equity for second phase of Cedar Springs development

An artist’s rendering of ilume when it was in the planning stages

The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday that the ilume building on Cedar Springs Road is for sale. A brief story in the newspaper mentioned this fact without much supporting information, merely that another company had it listed for sale.

This would be surprising, though there may be an explanation. On Wednesday night, I spoke with Luke Crosland, owner of the property. Crosland has long promised Phase II of the ilume development, slotted to go up on the lot catty corner from the current building (across Wycliff from the Kroger).

Crosland told me that they would be breaking ground “soon” on the new development. I had previously heard as early as May. Crosland said he was in the process of arranging the equity financing — in the more than $100 million range — for a series of ilume developments across the country. Perhaps sale of the building is part of the package raising that equity?

We have left messages with Crosland seeking more info and will update this post as soon as we have more information.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The newly opened Fin Sushi Lounge at ilume will henceforth be known as Axiom Sushi Lounge

It’s only been open a few months, but Fin Sushi Lounge at ilume on Cedar Springs is already changing its name.

The owners of the restaurant say it will henceforth be known as Axiom Sushi Lounge, and the rebranding will be complete by May 1. The new name better aligns the restaurant with the Sushi Axiom brand, according to a press release. Sushi Axiom has four other restaurants in Burleson, Dallas and Fort Worth.

“Fin Sushi Lounge name was originally chosen to reflect the unique concept the company developed in Dallas but it was a source of confusion with longtime customers from our other locations,” said Christine Buczek, general manager of Axiom Sushi Lounge. “The new Axiom Sushi Lounge name eliminates that confusion and better leverages the strong reputation and customer satisfaction associated with Sushi Axiom brand.”

—  John Wright

Body & Fitness: Scent from above

Bardwell, above, not only uses natural essential oils in her therapeutic work, she also offers sessions teaching how to use the same oils for healthier cooking. (Photo by Arnold Wayne Jones)

Michelle Bardwell offers aromatherapy like you’ve never experienced it at her new Flower Road Natural Therapies studio

STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing Writer

That waft of vanilla and cinnamon coming from that candle on your kitchen counter? Yeah, no matter what the marketing says, that’s not aromatherapy. But there’s one woman who’s made a career of the science and is now in the neighborhood, ready to make people feel better, one drop at a time.

Michelle Bardwell, who calls herself the “green, gay Mary Kay,” owns Flower Road Natural Therapies, a business focused on the use of therapeutic-grade essential oils and other aromatic raw products for holistic therapies. Sure, most everything smells fantastic, but there’s so much more to aromatherapy than scent alone.

“Aromachology is when you’re trying to affect someone’s mind. You smell something and it brings back memories. You smell something and it reminds you to relax. It’s not necessarily that it goes into your body as an actual relaxant and works with the nerves, but it just reminds you to relax,” she says. “Sometimes you get a massage and smell lavender over and over until you get to the point where you smell lavender and you go into that same state of relaxation. Or you go into a house for sale and when you smell warm cookies, you want to buy the house because you like the smell and it brings back memories. That’s aromachology.”

The oils Bardwell uses at Flower Road, located in the ilume, are not your typical over-the-counter products, either. They’re highly regulated, pharmaceutical-grade oils.

“The oils come from France, but they’re distilled in countries like Madagascar, for example. They go through the French government, the American government, I even have an FDA number,” she says. “They’re organic, passing both the French and American standards, including the USDA. The man I studied with in France sells these oils to pharmacies in Europe.”

Bardwell sells oils to massage therapists who use them in various ways, but it’s her signature aromatherapy sessions that make for an incredible experience.

Utilizing soft-tissue techniques, the entire therapy is one of the most relaxing 90 minutes available. Unlike deep tissue massages where it can be impossible to relax with a massage therapist poking deep into your muscles, it’s easy to fall asleep at Flower Road — a very deep sleep.

After an initial assessment of your body chemistry, and current emotions and stressors in your life, she creates a chart of which areas to concentrate on, and which oils will be most beneficial. Walking over to her oil desk, filled with bottle after bottle of essential oils, she creates a custom formula based on what you need most.

That formula becomes the base she uses on you for every visit, though she may modify it with other essential oils based on any new developments, like if you feel the flu coming on. For that, she’ll likely incorporate Ravensara, an essential oil derived from a tree native to Madagascar with a scent similar to rosemary. Or if you need a little extra oomph in the bedroom, the addition of Vetiver will do the trick as it’s been praised for its aphrodisiac qualities for centuries.

During the near-silent treatment, she warms the body with heating pads so the essential oils are more readily absorbed into the blood stream. She traps the oil and prevents it from evaporating by covering the treated areas with plastic wrap. Meanwhile, she massages your legs and feet, and provides a lengthy, relaxing light-touch facial massage. Snoring is not uncommon.

The treatment ends with the enjoyment of hot tea made from essential oils, as well.

There are many applications for aromatherapy. She conducts lunch-and-learn sessions teachings people how to cook and incorporate essential oils into their diets. Massage therapists and other professionals can even become certified in aromatherapy under Bardwell’s teaching.

Aromatherapy is much different than what we’re used to hearing the term describe. And that’s partly because the United States is still farther behind other countries in terms of holistic therapies and products that are chemically manufactured in labs, not occurring naturally, and most definitely not organically.

“In other parts of the world, they’ve really started to incorporate all kinds of alternative medicine, so they have a better idea of what true aromatherapy is. Aromatherapy is about getting the essential oils in the body, not how it smells.”

Curious about experiencing the benefits of aromatherapy? Just follow your nose. Then get ready for so much more.

For more information, visit FlowerRoad.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

It’s not too late to be one of the Faces of LIfe

Ryan Baldwin at ilume sends along word that the project benefiting AIDS Arms Inc. is conducting another round of photo shoots today and Saturday at the ilume Gallerie. If you’re interested in being part of the project, stop by the Gallerie or call Ron Radwanski at 214-57-7369. The cost is a $50 donation for individuals or $75 for couples or families.

—  John Wright

Fin Sushi Lounge ready to roll at ilume


After noticing a post on Twitter from ilume saying that the long-awaited Fin Sushi Lounge plans to open this week, we put in a call to Luke Crosland of developer The Crosland Group, and even made a site visit during the lunch hour to investigate. (Yes, we go to great lengths to bring you the news.)

The above pic was the only payoff from our visit (aside from multiple Foursquare check-ins), and Crosland called back to say he’s been out of town and didn’t have a lot of details but is working to put us in touch with the appropriate people.

“I know he’s racing to get open, and waiting on the city of Dallas’ people to come out there and do their final inspection,” Crosland said. “It is a spectacular space.”

Fin Sushi Lounge has previously been described as a signature restaurant from the owners of Sushi Axiom, which has four locations in the Metroplex.

Crosland also said ilume has agreed to a lease with Onyx Nail Bar, a salon that will open in February and offer “quality pampering” right next door to Dish. But he said he wanted to hold off on a couple of other retail announcements.

“We have some real interesting things that we’ll be calling you on soon,” he said.

Crosland said residential units at ilume are nearly all leased and The Crosland Group is working to obtain financing for ilume TOO, which is planned at the site of the old Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs complexes across the way.

“Leasing has just been great, and retention is great,” Crosland said. “People really love living there. We’re well above 90 percent leased. … In this economy, it took longer to get the restaurants done than normal, but we didn’t want to accept just anyone. We were very careful on how we did our mix of restaurants because we wanted to have the best of the best, and we’re getting there.”

We’ll update with more details as soon as we get them.

—  John Wright

Your last chance to take part in the ‘Faces of Life’ photo campaign

You know you want your supermodel moment

Face of LifeThe ilume Gallerie and photographer Jorge Rivas invite people to come get their photo taken as a benefit for AIDS Arms Inc. You saw the Faces of Life exhibit during the parade with rich, colorful pictures of local people in the community adorned by a red ribbon. That could be you! Only not as big and not in the parade. Nonetheless, it all goes to charity and you’ll have a heck of a Facebook profile pic.

DEETS: Through Nov. 5. Call 214-507-7369 for an appointment. $50 for singles, $75 for couples. ilumeGallerie.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Stonewall Young Democrats’ Red Party

Photos by Shawn Hagewood/Newlight Photography and Design

—  John Wright

More on Thursday’s Red Party to benefit Legacy

Bartenders for the Red Party

In last Friday’s Dallas Voice, we only had room for a brief about Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats’ second annual Red Party. Here’s some additional information:

The Red Party takes place on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. at ilume on Cedar Springs Road. The evening will raise money for Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage.

DSYD was created three years ago by a group that met while volunteering at Legacy. JT Williams, DSYD treasurer, said because of that, Legacy is special to the group, which plans to continue supporting it.

Three supermodel bartenders from Bar 10 will be serving. Tickets for the Red Party are $10 and available at the door. VIP tickets for a catered party are $30 and include a swag bag and free valet parking. Those tickets are available on the Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage website.

—  David Taffet

Hope floats

Two Cedar Springs institutions — 1 new, 1 old —make their debuts in this year’s Pride parade

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

MAKING AN ENTRANCE | Jorge Rivas’ shot of prominent LGBT faces, above, will be marched out Sunday on the ilume float; the staff of Hunky’s, below left, retooled their float idea in a hurry. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

TEXAS FREEDOM PARADE
Proceeds east along
Cedar Springs Road from
Wycliffe Avenue to
N. Hall Street. 2 p.m.

……………………………………

Hunky’s has been a Crossroads institution for 25 years — though most of that half a block over from its current location. The gayborhood and the burger stop are officially symbiotic.

So it may surprise those who have watched the Alan Ross Freedom Parade from Hunky’s patio to know this year marks the eatery’s debut as a float entrant. And owner Rick Barton is a bit nervous.

“I kinda got into it a little late,” he admits.

Barton was sounding a bit frazzled just days before Pride, figuring how the hamburger joint would celebrate its coming out. Barton researched the idea of having a float constructed, but he and his crew opted to go simple this year — mostly because he has a restaurant to think about.

““That day is busy for us — the parade obviously means good business,” he says. “So we decided not to go with a big float and toned it down to a vehicle with some of our employees handing coupons out and guys along the side of our Jeep performing.”

Regardless of what the restaurant enters, the real question is: Why now? A quarter century is a long time to wait to join in the parade.


“We just had our anniversary and I just thought, ‘It’s time to be in,’” Barton says. “Even though we’re in the center of the community and show our Pride everyday, it lets people see we are here and feel a need to be in.”

His decision coincides nicely with the spot’s new digs. Hunky’s anchored the northwest corner of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, becoming an iconic location for the neighborhood. But this spring, they jumped across the street, taking over the corner left vacant by Crossroads Market. Change was hard though Barton received enthusiastic response from the regulars.

But the move wasn’t just a physical one. Relocating mere yards from the former spot has affected his eatery and the employees in only good ways. That attitude is coming through in their first parade appearance on Sunday.

“There’s a renewed invigoration with the new space,” he says. “There we became limited by what we could do and it started to become staid. We were just riding the boat. Here, the employees are responding well, the customers are, too. It’s a feel- good kind of vibe.”

That translates into a team effort for Hunky’s preparation for Sunday. Barton might make it sound like it was just thrown together, but he smiles with pride in his teams from both the Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff locations in working to get it done.

“It’s all come together pretty quickly,” he says. “But with the employees helping out and coming over from the other location, it’s become a Hunky’s family kinda gig. One of our employees is one of the guys performing alongside the Jeep.”

It took the ilume just a year to make its impact on the ‘hood and it is living up to its commitment to be part of the community with its inaugural Pride float. The living spaces are snazzy; nosh spots Dish and Red Mango seem to be thriving, and the pool is becoming legendary for parties and Facebook pics. The ilume Gallerie, however, takes the lead for their float in the parade, thanks to gallery director Ronald Radwanski.

“We’ll have 48-by-72-inch panels of portraits on our float,” Radwanski says. “Some people will be on the float and others like me will be walking along.”

The Gallerie will be coasting along with a mobile museum. The gallery on wheels ties into the Faces of Life exhibit now at the Gallerie, which highlightsluminaries in Dallas’ LGBT community with larger-than-life portraits, each individual adorned with a large red ribbon. The shots were taken by photographer Jorge Rivas, who made a splash at the Gallerie earlier this year with his images of fashion and culture.

Going big is a huge undertaking, but Radwanski assures they are on schedule.

“They’ve started constructing it already and the enlarged portraits are being printed,” he says. “I’m so excited that we can mark a year of the ilume with this float in the parade. That it also benefits LifeWalk makes it much more so.”

Big or small, young or old, both establishments look beyond what they have going in the parade and instead, a reveling in the idea of being  a part of it all. Besides, things could change for 2011.

“After this time, we might just go all out with the big float idea next year,” Barton says.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dozens of vehicles vandalized at ilume

Dallas police estimate that 20-25 vehicles were vandalized Sunday afternoon while parked in the garage at ilume, the posh new development on the Cedar Springs strip.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for DPD, said the vehicles appeared to have been “keyed,” although the suspect could have used a screwdriver or anything sharp.

Janse said only four victims have called in reports to police thus far, but it’s estimated that 20-25 vehicles were damaged. He added that there’s no reason to believe the incident was an anti-gay hate crime.

Janse said police have no suspect description, and there were no security cameras in the area of the garage where the incidents occurred.

Total monetary damages are unknown, but one victim who reported the incident estimated $3,000 in damage to his Hummer.

—  John Wright