Shopping center

Part of Lake Highlands Mall is demolished for townhouses

Barbara Reeves, a longtime real estate agent with Re/Max, recalls the excitement of moving her brokerage office to a new mall in Lake Highlands around 1985.

The building is northeast of Tom Thumb at the intersection of Skillman Street and Audelia Road, noted for its large tiled domed roof. In the years since, she said the property – known as the Plaza National Bank Mall after its former anchor tenant – became a community gathering place where tenants and community members could support businesses. local people instead of leaving their neighborhood.

“It was a place to go, a destination for Lake Highlanders at that time,” Reeves said. “It was an iconic thing, I mean, it was this beautiful mall that was just the greatest thing.”

Reeves brought together many of these former tenants and community members on May 6 to share memories as the central two-story 100,000 square foot building along Audelia is being demolished for a development of homes in row of 5.6 acres.

On-site tenants over the years have included a dance studio, bakery, restaurant, and dentist’s office, among others.

Barbara Reeves (centre) worked in a Re/Max office from the 1980s to 2003 in what is now the Lake Highlands Village shopping centre. She has rounded up former tenants as her building is demolished for a townhouse development.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

“It’s kind of sad,” said Gerry Taylor, who worked at the center for about 12 years with Bankers Financial Mortgage Group — a company that eventually merged with LegacyTexas Bank, acquired by Prosperity Bank in 2019. “It was a very vibrant area of ​​Lake Highlands for quite a while.

JAH Realty — which owns 34 malls in Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City — bought the mall in late 2019. The company has owned the adjacent Royal Highlands Plaza anchored by Tom Thumb since 2007.

After the 2019 deal, the company renamed all of its 20 acres Lake Highlands Village, including the Tom Thumb Mall, the remaining 50,000 square foot portion of the Plaza Bank Center, and future townhouses.

The owner is working with a developer to build the townhouses, but has not signed a contract or completed the permitting process. Plans call for the sale of 85 townhouses and construction is expected to begin in 2023 and take approximately two years.

The eastern part of the former Plaza National Bank shopping center is being demolished...
The eastern portion of the former Plaza National Bank Mall is being demolished for townhouses.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

“These will certainly be quality townhouses, but I cannot specify the price at this time,” said Graham Irvine, general manager of JAH Realty.

Irvine said the addition of other retail buildings to the neighborhood over the years has created fierce competition. The two-story building has been mostly vacant for the past two decades, with BBVA Compass operating a financial center there until 2018.

“Although it’s an attractive product, it just hasn’t had demand,” Irvine said.

Reeves’ Re/Max office left the property in 2003. She said she had mixed emotions about the building’s demolition, but she knows as a realtor that residential is now the best use of the building. site.

“Demographics have changed, and you know, people have changed,” Reeves said. “It’s no longer a must-visit destination.”