by Ann Fowler
OAK HILL – Oak Hill residents may soon have more shopping, eating and movie-going choices when a long-time shopping center gets a facelift to attract both customers and new tenants, while a new development is coming soon to Southwest Parkway.
Circle Drive resident Oscar Erlanson said any shopping area that keeps him out of the ‘Y’ intersection is good. He said, “The plain and simple fact is, is that the ‘Y’ at Oak Hill is a traffic nightmare. If I don’t have to go through there, I don’t. If I can use an alternate route to get to where I need to go, I do.” He can reach either of these centers by using an alternate route.
Several residents are hopeful to see Mexican cuisine at one or both locations.
And Daloma Armentrout would like all shopping centers to keep larger vehicles in mind when designing parking. She implored, “Please provide for navigable parking—not killer speed bumps—and a turn-radius that will accommodate local large trucks and sedans.”
Oak Hill Plaza
The Oak Hill Plaza, the shopping center at the ‘Y’ that includes Jim’s Restaurant, Auto Zone and Wells Fargo Bank, will be revitalized courtesy of new management. BBD Commercial plans to renovate the center in addition to running the day-to-day operations.
BBD representative Bill Ott hopes to include another restaurant and fill current vacancies with a mix of national and local tenants. “We’ve received a lot of interest from prospects in the local market, as well as a positive reaction from neighbors about our efforts to renovate the plaza and to cater to the area by recruiting businesses that are good fits for the neighborhood,” said Ott.
BBD plans to repaint and remodel the façade, reroof the property, resurface the parking lot and add landscaping.
Many locals patronize the local shops and have suggestions for new tenants.
Beak Warner is a fan of Big Lots, and used to patronize the Dynasty Buffet. He said, “How about a decent steakhouse?”
Carol Cespedes said, “We have been hoping that a Mexican restaurant will move into the Oak Hill Plaza. We miss Flores big time. Hecho en Mexico is nice, but access is impeded by a divider at William Cannon so [my husband] doesn’t like to go there at night. What is life in Texas without your neighborhood Tex Mex?”
(Flores Mexican Restaurant, a long-time favorite at William Cannon and U.S. 290 West, recently moved a few miles up the road to William Cannon at Brush Country.)
Oak Hill Plaza patron Daloma Armentrout had several businesses on her wish list: “Good local coffee and sandwich cafe, natural and ethnic restaurants, smoothie and juice bar, national pharmacy with sundries, SNAP Kitchen or other quality take-out.”
Oscar and Deb Erlanson regularly patronize Jim’s and Big Lots. Oscar’s suggestions include a bookstore, a coffee shop (“not Starbucks!”) and a good Mexican restaurant.
Tim Jarvis of BBD said, “We believe a revamped Oak Hill Plaza will provide the services and restaurants that the local community needs. Even as the city continues to grow, the ‘Y’ has remained one of its most important intersections. We’re excited about bringing new energy to this underserved retail submarket.”
A major new development—325,000 square feet—is coming to Oak Hill, including a 42,000-square-foot dine-in movie theater, restaurants and hotel in the entertainment-oriented mixed-use property. Lantana Place, a Stratus Properties, Inc. project, will also include offices and retail at Southwest Parkway and William Cannon.
Stratus President and CEO Beau Armstrong told the Gazette, “We’ve owned that property for 25 years. It takes so long to get things going out there—we have very strong interest from our tenants and the plans have been approved.”
Armstrong said the development is “more entertainment focused. If you can buy it on the Internet, we don’t want it—that’s a losing proposition.”
Moviehouse & Eatery has been signed to anchor the project. The planned 10-screen theater features reserved recliner seating and food made from scratch. Leslie Sloan and her partner, Rodney Speaks, opened the first Moviehouse & Eatery on RR 620 in 2012. Two more have been opened in the Dallas/Fort Worth Market, with a third to open in that area in September.
Sloan told the Gazette, “Moviehouse & Eatery has been looking for a prime southwest Austin location for several years. The Stratus Lantana site is the perfect development as it will be an easily accessible entertainment hub for Oak Hill, Bee Cave and all of south and southwest Austin.”
Armstrong said construction should start the end of this year or the beginning of 2017. Said Sloan, “We plan to open in Lantana in March 2018 and would love to open sooner if permits and construction allow.”
Local residents are looking forward seeing what Lantana Place will have to offer. Cespedes saw the Lantana Place presentation at a recent meeting of the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods and said, “I was impressed by the presentation on the Lantana development at OHAN. They were challenged on traffic impact and they seem to have handled it responsibly.”
Armentrout said she would drive to Lantana Place to see a movie. She said, “Tables for dining at movies are a good idea. Recliners … not so much.”
(Moviehouse’s Sloan chuckled, “Our recliners are super comfy and we do have some guests doze off occasionally!”)
Armentrout said the area needs more quality cafes and take-out.
Rick Perkins looks forward to more restaurants in the area. He said, “I would like to see a southern location of Papadeaux on our side of town, and possibly some new music venues with outdoor decks and so forth.”
Perkins is not a fan of “upscale movie theaters,” but says, “The new apartments renting in that new William Cannon area are supremely upscale, so there are sure to be plenty of upwardly mobile adults who will love that type of environment.”