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A Tornado Destroyed Marsh Lane Plaza, But Notable Tenants And A Major Face-Lift Will Give It New Life

More than two years after an EF3 tornado wiped out a shopping center in Dallas, developers have unveiled new plans for the site.

Marsh Lane Plaza, located at the northwest corner of Walnut Hill and Marsh lanes, has served as a stark reminder of the October 2019 cyclone that tore through 15 miles of North Texas. Businesses and homes sustained billions of dollars in damage, but miraculously, no one was killed.

David Hopkins, president of Hopkins Commercial Real Estate, said his team was intentional about taking its time to restore the site, but external factors were also at play.

Jakes Burgers and Beers will debut as part of the development's first phase.

It took almost two years to settle with the firm’s insurance carrier, he said. That timeline was exacerbated by the pandemic, which set in just months after the tornado destroyed the property.

“It was a perfect storm scenario,” he said. “We’re in a really great position right now, with what we feel is a great tenant mix that’s going to bring some really happy patrons to the shopping center and the area.” 

Hopkins hopes to get started on the development’s first phase in the coming weeks. Tenants in the 15K SF Phase 1 include Dallas institution Jakes Burgers and Beer; Austin-based food truck turned brick-and-mortar eatery Con Madre Kitchen; a dental practice; a nail salon; and a barber shop.

Construction should take eight to 10 months, Hopkins said.

“We are hoping to have the first phase developed by the beginning of the fourth quarter of this year,” he said. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

The size of Phase 2 will depend on whether the firm moves forward with an anchor tenant. The 30K SF site formerly home to Planet Fitness could accommodate a grocer, for example, but Hopkins may also opt to split the space into smaller storefronts. 

All that stands between the community and a new-and-improved Marsh Lane Plaza are building permits from the city of Dallas. Hopkins said it initiated the permit process last March and has been working through approvals ever since.

“I would love to have this built today — we are absolutely trying to get this thing done as fast as possible,” he said. “But we aren’t going to cut corners, and we’re not going to put someone in the building that isn’t a good fit for the area.”