Guest Post by Susan Arledge, CEO Arledge Partners Real Estate Group
Last week, an interesting report emerged from Advertising Age Magazine called “Put Your Money on Texas.” It showed that Texas is now home to 3.6 million millennials—a 14 percent increase from 2000 to 2010. The 24- to 35-year-old age group “is critical to the state’s future because they represent the next wave of families, new home buyers, and big spenders,” according to the article.
Of the top ten states with the greatest increase in millennials, not one was east of the Mississippi and only three states really stood out:
- · Texas,with 3.6 million 25- to 34-year olds, up 14% since 2000;
- · Washington, with nearly 1 million, up 11%; and
- · Colorado with 0.73 million, up 9%.
Here’s the Crackerjack prize in this box: over the next 10 years, the millennials will move into the 35 to 44 age cohort and increase their average household spending by 23%, a jump of more than $10,000 per household, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So one way to pick states with high economic future prospects is to look at how many 25- to 34-year-olds each has numerically and in relation to a national average, and gauge how fast that cohort is growing.
Ok, so how does this relate to Lakewood? Millennials love the place. Recently, Steve Brown wrote in the Dallas Morning News about the tremedous changes taking place at the Lakewood Shopping Center, and the influence on residential real estate. I grew up in Lakewood with my sister, Allie Beth Allman residential Realtor Brenda Sandoz — check out her listing at 2917 Amherst.
I was all ears.
Steve quotes Highland Park Village owner Ray Washburne, who is planning to open a Mi Cocina next to the Lakewood Theater. “Lakewood has been a sleeping giant,” Washburne told Brown. “People are finally waking up to the potential in Lakewood.”
Robert Grunnah has owned one of Lakewood’s most desirable retail properties for more than 30 years, and chaired the Lakewood Redevelopment Committee, which pushed through thoroughfare changes in the late 1970s that re-routed Abrams Road:
“Very unpopular with the long term residents at the time, the completion of the project eliminated a traffic nightmare, created a park, and opened up the entire shopping area,” said Grunnah, who owns the property where Scalini’s Pizza & Pasta and the Legal Grounds coffee house are located. “People around here don’t like a lot of change, and they do understandably like their small, locally-owned Lakewood shops. Lakewood offers a rare, small hometown feel, not often found within our Megaplex society.”
Take the popular coffe stop Legal Grounds. The initial Legal Grounds was opened in the early ’80s by a lawyer, now turned Baptist Preacher and marital relations counselor in East Texas. The storefront objective was to provide no cost/low cost legal advice with your coffee — lots of attorneys live in Lakewood. It has now morphed into an original and successful coffee house concept, much like many of the small, merchant owned businesses in Lakewood.
Located next door to the original Lakewood Gym and Nadine’s Poodle parlor, where you could drop off your laundry and have your poodle cleaned at the same time, Legal Grounds has become a neighborhood landmark quite popular with both the old ‘Lakewoodians’ and the newer in-migrating professionals. Lakewood also had close ties with the infamous Mid 80’s I-30 Condo scandal when Danny Faulkner bought and worked in the Lakewood Towers Building, later losing it to the Feds for resale. He was located across the street from where Caddo Holdings LLC has spent the last year and about $2 million redoing Lakewood’s biggest commercial property — the nine-story Wells Fargo Bank complex at Gaston and La Vista Drive.
Steve Brown says there’s no clue of a recession when you look at businesses in Lakewood– they are thriving:
“Snagging a parking space out front (of Whole Foods Market)sometimes can be as hard as finding a cool breeze. And it’s been that way most weekends since the store opened two years ago. The arrival of the 50,000-square-foot up-scale grocer was one of the biggest things to happen in the East Dallas business district since its flagship movie house debuted in 1938.”
Developer Lincoln Property Co. recently purchased the largest retail chunk of the shopping center at Gaston Avenue and Abrams Parkway, where Dixie House restaurant and Lakewood Hardware are located. Times Ten Cellars’ restaurant and winery has been booming since opening in 2005 on Prospect Avenue. Kert Platner, who owns Times Ten Cellars, also owns the building where Snow Pea Restaurant is located.
The point is, which comes first: the commercial development or residential? In the case of Lakewood, they seem to be feeding off each other in a beautiful symphony. Commercial seeks neighborhoods where businesses can thrive and survive; home buyers seek neighborhoods where services fill the bill — you want hardware stores handy, tasty small restaurants and a great pizza place, and a grocery store whose shelves are stocked with everything you could possibly need. Lakewood fits the bill. That is what makes the quality of living in Dallas so high that it consistently remains in the top 3 to 5 markets for site selection.
Susan Arledge has been President and CEO of Arledge Partners Real Estate Group in Dallas, Texas since its inception in 1993. Her commercial real estate brokerage firm specializes in representing tenants in their lease negotiations, as well as site selection, labor analytics, demographic analysis, incentives and real estate negotiations for tenants. She can be reached at email@example.com.