Developer Manasseh Durkin, the president of Durkin Properties LLC, said his vision for the area, which is tucked just northwest of the intersection of Belt Line Road and US 75, was to create a diverse neighborhood retail center focused on local businesses.
“We wanted a neighborhood spot that people could ride their bike to, that they could walk to, that [included] nothing that was a chain,” he said. “That was our goal, and so far, we’ve been able to achieve that.”
The district currently houses two businesses run by local husband-and-wife teams. Communion Neighborhood Cooperative, a hybrid restaurant, coffee shop and coworking space, is owned by Tim and Amy Kahle. A few doors down, small-batch distillery and restaurant Lockwood Distilling Co. is owned and operated by Evan and Sally Batt.
Durkin Properties also owns the empty building sandwiched between Communion and Lockwood. Part of that space will be absorbed by Lockwood, which is expanding its spirits production. The remaining 3,900 square feet will be subdivided into two storefronts, Durkin said.
“From a parking standpoint, we’ve reached a restaurant maximum,” he said. “But we are targeting a couple of retail locations.”
Possible tenants include a yoga studio and a hair salon, Durkin said. Whatever ends up filling each space will embody the locally driven vision, he added.
“We are targeting people that care about the community [and] live in the community,” he said.
One of the most recent additions to the district is Monkey King Noodle Co., which will open in the next month or so in the building that was formerly Bollywood Grocery. Owner Andrew Chen has his flagship location in Deep Ellum but is a Richardson resident, Durkin said.
“We are very excited to have them in the neighborhood,” he said.
Monkey King will share the building with Greenville Avenue Pizza Co., also known as GAPCo, which expects to open around the end of this year. Unique to the Richardson location is an indoor/outdoor bar as well as a dedicated space for corporate lunches, rehearsal dinners, parties and other events, according to a spokesperson for GAPCo.
“We can’t wait to bring our unique pizza concept to Richardson and join our neighbors at one of the best corners in town,” owner Sammy Mandel said in a recent news release.
TNT Dental, a custom dental website design and marketing firm, occupies the other standalone building in the district, but it will be relocating to a larger space in the new year. Durkin and his team are already in the process of scouting a new tenant for that building.
Workspace preferences have changed due to the coronavirus. Prior to the pandemic, amenities such as an on-site gym or a common area were highly sought after, Durkin said. Now, businesses are looking for space where their employees can pull up, walk in and interact with as few people as possible. This is what the developers hope to provide with the TNT building.
“It will most likely be a single-use office tenant, and we have three or four [potential tenants] ... looking at it,” he said.
Despite COVID-19, businesses in the district are thriving, Durkin said. Both Lockwood Distilling Co. and Communion were forced to pivot operations earlier this spring but are regaining momentum several months into the pandemic. Durkin said he thinks this is because Richardson locals are so invested in supporting businesses owned by their friends and neighbors.
“They’ve done well,” he said. “They’re blessed to be in Richardson because of that.”