Parking, infrastructure, landscaping and other desired improvements to Snider Plaza have been the focus of multiple City Councils for many years. In 2018, the City engaged Paris Rutherford of the Catalyst Group to facilitate a series of public meetings to identify such improvements and make follow-up recommendations to the City.
Acting on these recommendations, the City engaged Pacheco Koch civil engineers to design needed water and sewer replacement. In 2019, the City also re-engaged the Catalyst Group to facilitate the detailed design of related landscape and other amenity improvements working with Space Between Landscape Studio. These were brought to the public in a series of virtual public meetings in the Spring of 2020, to bring forward a design recommendation, along with anticipated costs, to City Council in Fall 2020.
This multi-phase project involves 1) the replacement of water, sanitary sewer, and storm water utilities in and around Snider Plaza, and 2) surface improvements that will include new pavement, landscaping, pedestrian amenities, and parking enhancements.
Phase I Utility Replacement - Completed
The construction to replace existing water and wastewater lines in alleys servicing properties in Snider Plaza, from Daniel to Westminster, and on Hillcrest between Daniel and Lovers Lane is compete. SYB Contracting began construction in mid-May of 2021, with construction originally scheduled to continue through Fall of 2022. SYB finished the project about 6 months ahead of schedule..
The City is moving forward with construction documents from the approved conceptual design of Fall 2020. Additionally, the City brought on Teague Nall and Perkins to prepare plans, specifications, and estimates for this full design project, to incorporate the landscape plans and take the project through construction. Construction for the roadway, landscape and other surface improvements is slated for 2023.
A work session with City Council was held on April 12, 2022 to provide an update on the status of plans and gain input on various design elements. Video of that meeting can be viewed by clicking here.
City staff provided the City Council and community with another update on plans and design components during the Council's July 19, 2022 Meeting. View the presentation by clicking here.
Since the City’s inception in 1924, Snider Plaza has proudly served as our community’s downtown. Over the decades countless news stories and campus yearbooks have chronicled the Plaza as the preferred choice for shopping, dining and catching up with neighbors. While the Plaza enjoys unwavering popularity and its charms are unquestioned, there remains two constants.
Parking -- When asked for thoughts on how this community treasure can be improved, fixing the Plaza’s parking issues is commonly what visitors and tenants reference. Indeed, since the early 1970’s, the City of University Park, Snider Plaza stakeholders, and numerous community members have studied how to solve parking shortcomings. Unfortunately, due to the lack of potential acreage for new parking and with little consensus on the best way to reconfigure the Plaza’s existing parking slots, these efforts have come and gone without resolution. As the City has moved closer to beginning needed repairs on the Plaza’s underground infrastructure, much discussion has also taken place on how to minimize merchant and customer inconvenience during months of construction. In 2017, the City took proactive steps to clear these hurdles with the acquisition of land near Snider Plaza. Then in 2019, the City entered into a parking license agreement with the owners of Hilltop Plaza. Both the City-owned property and the leased parking spaces will be critical components of easing parking concerns during construction. The City's property along Rankin will become a temporary construction staging site, while the leased spaces at Hilltop Plaza will provide parking for displaced Plaza employees. Following infrastructure improvements, the City hopes to develop a long-term parking solution. This effort will focus on using the City-owned land, its shared parking agreement with Hilltop Plaza, and as part of the creation of a Public Improvement District, the implementation of a parking management program.
Infrastructure – While the below grade utilities that were installed in the 1920’s have dutifully served the Plaza, the infrastructure is degraded and now beginning to fail. As you may have noticed in recent water main failures and flooding, we have reached a point where we can no longer avoid the need to improve and replace these lines. As this will involve some inconvenience, the City believes the community should consider all of the opportunities at hand to make Snider Plaza an even better reflection of the heart of University Park through this renovation process.
Manny’s Won’t Re-Open After All, Businesses Deal With Construction, Rodeo Bar Takes Us Back To The ‘80s And More.
Perhaps we spoke too soon when we said 2022 was off to a great start. Whether it be the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or Dallas’ even longer ongoing construction plans, many restaurants are feeling both of these effects.
In the first slice of bad news, Expo Park pizza favorite Pizza Lounge closed its doors after 12 years. According to a post on Pizza Lounge’s Facebook page, the restaurant “has been very successful because we provided excellent pizza and had the luxury of having such a strong loyal following. There were plans to expand but, unfortunately, it couldn’t come to fruition, and there are other factors forcing our closure.” Pizza Lounge was known for its po’ boys, its various slices, including a vegan pizza, as well as a “funky beat” to grub out to. This place will surely be missed.
Over in Uptown, Manny’s, a Tex-Mex favorite, which was damaged by a fire on Christmas Eve of 2019, has confirmed they will not reopen. According to Dallas Morning News, owner Manny Rios had planned to reopen Manny’s over the past two years, however, a “for lease” sign confirmed the little yellow house is open for a new restaurant to take over. But fortunately, a new Manny’s location is planned to open in Sachse this year, according to catering manager Robert Sharp.
Just down the road in downtown, La Tarte Tropézienne, an import from France has shut its doors. The downtown Dallas location was La Tarte Tropézienne’s in the U.S. and it was known for its cream-filled tarts. According to CultureMap, there was a sign in the window announcing its closure, but the space also teased “something special” coming soon. Perhaps something so special, only three people know what it is, just like the recipe for their signature Tarte Tropézienne?
Even Snider Plaza is feeling the effects of construction. On Monday, six buildings were bulldozed, including those that housed favorites like Stella Nova Coffee Shop, Logos Bookstore, Lane Florist and Peggy Sue BBQ. According to Dallas Morning News, developer Jim Strode has “plans to build a three-story, $12 million structure where Peggy Sue and its neighbors were.” Is there a word for the gentrification of an already wealthy neighborhood? Who exactly does this benefit?
Over in Old Parkland, Sprezza closed in preparation for construction plans in the area. According to Dallas Morning News, Sprezza “is expected to be torn down, and plans call for boutique offices to be built in its place in the Old Parkland development, a project from Crow Holdings.” Known for items like snapper crudo and Wagyu prime rib, as well as cacio e pepe and pizza al taglio, Sprezza was a much-loved Italian concept. Fortunately, owner Julian Barsotti was able to keep the restaurant’s furniture and kitchen equipment and plans to reopen Sprezza somewhere else.
While a lot of this week’s restaurant news may seem like a bummer, there are still plenty of openings and re-openings we look forward to. This Monday, Rodeo Bar reopened downtown in the Adolphus Hotel, after being closed for nearly four years. According to D Magazine, the revamped Rodeo Bar maintains its ‘80s vibe but contains updated seating. A new downstairs space called The Back Room containing “all original neon beer bar lights, vintage rodeo posters, photos, and memorabilia preserved from the original Rodeo Bar.” Additionally, the menu maintains much of the original items, including its famous Rodeo smash burgers made with 44 Farms Beef, corn dogs and burnt end sandwiches. You can catch us here in our best ‘80s attire.
Because perhaps a trip to simpler times is what we all need now.
A demolition crew bulldozed the six structures that once housed Peggy Sue BBQ, Logos Bookstore, Lane Florist and a few other longtime University Park businesses near Hillcrest and Daniel avenues on Monday.
Here lies Peggy Sue BBQ, Logos
Bookstore, Lane Florist, OK Alterations
and a few other longtime University
Park businesses with several decades of
history in the Snider Plaza shopping
A demolition crew bulldozed the six
structures that once housed those stores
near Hillcrest and Daniel avenues in
University Park on Monday.
Developer Jim Strode, who built the
glass office tower across the street, plans
to build a three-story, $12 million structure
where Peggy Sue and its neighbors
The shopping center is the nucleus of
University Park and Southern Methodist
University. It’s a patchwork of mismatched
buildings with dozens of owners.
So far, Strode has been one of the
only developers to finish a new, large
“We can’t stay stuck in the ’50s and
’60s, as much as I’d like to see it remain
mom-and-pops,” said longtime Park Cities
resident Jerry Washam. His grandfather,
Ralph Porter, developed Snider
Plaza in the late 1920s, and Washam remains
the president of Ralph Porter Co.,
which oversees the leasing and management
of properties in Snider Plaza.
The buildings that housed Peggy Sue
BBQ and its neighbors aren’t Washam’s
family properties, but Washam said he
supports Strode’s efforts to bring new
life to Snider Plaza.
In the new building, Strode expects
to house two restaurants on the ground
floor and offices on the second and third
floors. Strode purchased the six buildings
in one deal that closed in 2021.
The three-story structure will probably
take 12 to 14 months to build, Strode
Several adjacent retail stores remain
standing near the construction zone.
Clothing store Cotton Island and cookie
shop JD’s Chippery are still at Hillcrest
and Daniel avenues. Around the corner,
in the interior of Snider Plaza, Cisco
Grill is still there.
Four of the displaced businesses in
the project signed new leases a block or
two away. Lane Florist, the longest-tenured
tenant in that section, was in Snider
Plaza for 73 years. It was relocated
nearby, as were Logos Bookstore (48
years old), OK Alterations (35 years)
and Arman Jewelry (25 years).
The old Peggy Sue BBQ building was
probably the most iconic of the demolished
buildings. It was best known as
the Beef Bar, run by restaurateur Peggy
Rogers. Decades later, new owner Marc
Hall changed the name to Peggy Sue,
which combined the name of the original
owner and his wife’s name.
Long before staffers sold chopped
beef sandwiches to customers eating on
red checkered tablecloths, 6600 Snider
Plaza was a Sinclair gas station.
“There was a gas station in every corner,”
Washam recalls. “Where Cotton Island
is, that was a service station. I used
to take my car in and get my brakes
worked on there. Where Bubba’s is, that
was a Texaco station. And where Buff
City is, the soap place, that was a Texaco
Snider Plaza was also famous for its
movie theater, which showed motion
pictures with sound — a rarity when it
opened in 1929.
By SARAH BLASKOVICH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2021
The Snider Plaza Alliance won an important court victory in its battle to maintain the character and integrity of Snider Plaza. On October 8, 2021, Judge Aiesha Redmond issued a Temporary Restraining Order blocking the development of 6600 Snider Plaza. Developer Jim Strode had applied for approval to build an office tower at the site of the former Peggy Sue Barbeque and adjacent retail spaces, which the Alliance opposes. As the Alliance alleges in its lawsuit:
Snider Plaza Alliance seeks Court intervention to prevent the development of an office tower in Snider Plaza that would shatter the area's village character and impose a substantial traffic and parking burden, disrupting long-standing businesses. The City of UP passed a zoning change on false pretenses without proper notice, allowing the developer to avoid complying with zoning that would require dozens of additional parking spaces for a development of this size. Failure to give proper notice make a zoning change void from the start, and the Court should therefore grant injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment preventing further violations of the proper underlying zoning.
"Don't Plano University Park," said Snider Plaza Alliance founding member and leader, Matt Dixon, in the City Council Meeting on September 21 when the City Council approved the Detailed Site Plan. Dixon is the owner of six multi-family dwellings within walking distance of Snider Plaza and is a resident of Plano, Texas.
For further information about Snider Plaza Alliance, please see the Facebook page by that name and send any inquiries to SniderPlazaAlliance@yahoo.com or call 469-547-2254.
About Snider Plaza Alliance
Snider Plaza Alliance is a community organization committed to keeping Snider Plaza a neighborhood-friendly area with development that meets the zoning standards established by the City of University Park. It is composed of residents and property owners in the Snider Plaza area.
Alex More of the law firm Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P. represents the Snider Plaza Alliance in this action.
University Park City Manager Robbie Corder cut the ribbon to reopen Second Chapter BookstorePHOTO: Rachel Snyder
The Second Chapter Bookstore in Snider Plaza has started a new chapter.
The pop-up bookstore operated by the Friends of the University Park Public Library opened Saturday morning in a new location in the plaza at 6916 Snider Plaza, in between Short Stop and East Hampton. It will be open until Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
University Park City Manager Robbie Corder cut the ribbon to open the store.
The store, which sells gently used, donated books, with proceeds benefiting the University Park Public Library, first opened at another location in the shopping center last September.
“Second Chapter became a staple in the community and we really brought together neighbors, volunteers, and patrons all for the love of books, and so we are thrilled to continue with a new chapter with this grand opening,” Ashley Blanchette of the Friends of the University Park Public Library said.
Those who are interested in donating new or gently used books to Second Chapter Bookstore can drop them off at University Park’s Peek Service Center at 4420 Worcola Street from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information about donating, visit the Friends of the University Park Public Library website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snider Plaza would add 3-story building with underground parking
The existing structures at 6600-6606 Snider Plaza — including where Peggy Sue BBQ used to be, Lane Florist is, and where Aman Jewelry, Logos bookstore, and a tailor used to be before moving to new locations in the plaza– would come down to make way for a new three-story building if developer Jim Strode’s plan wins city council approval.
The existing structures there were built in 1941 and 1947. Longtime Snider Plaza tenants Lane Florist is moving near Nekter Juice Bar around Sept. 1, and Logos bookstore is moving near Gemma Collection by the end of July. Arman Jewelry moved near The Toy Store, and the tailor moved near Food From Galilee.
The proposed building would house retail, restaurant, and office space. The plan also calls for a two-level underground parking garage with 48 spaces accessed from Daniel Avenue.
“We know there is additional need for some more office space, retail, and restaurant, and this is what we’ve come up with.”
The plan unanimously passed the University Park planning and zoning commission on July 13 but still needs city council approval.
“As you know, I’m partners across the street in that office building. We live and breathe what we think this market is every day,” Strode said during the commission meeting. “We know there is additional need for some more office space, retail, and restaurant, and this is what we’ve come up with.”
Julie Broad, who owns JD’s Chippery in the plaza, said she’s not necessarily opposed to the building but remains concerned about traffic flow.
She also wants the new building to be compatible with the existing Park Plaza project and the infrastructure and streetscape plan in the works for Snider Plaza, “so we don’t tear up the streets three and four times.”
“I’d like to just request to you that you have a traffic study done before you approve this building,” Broad said. “I have an open mind to the building because, like I said, somebody’s going to build one sometime, and he (Strode) did a great job with the other one.”
Utility construction work is already underway around Snider Plaza. Workers will replace water and wastewater lines in the alleys to the east and west of Snider Plaza and install new alley pavement between Westminster Avenue to the north and Daniel Avenue to the south.
The city council awarded a nearly $6.1 million contract to SYB Construction Co. for utility work in March, and construction began in May.
The utility construction work is part of the city’s more extensive Snider Plaza plans, including new paving, landscaping, and additional beautification work.
Not all nearby property owners are on board with the plan for the new building, though.
“I am not for this building at all. I think it’s going to ruin what Snider Plaza has been for years,” Jane Rejebian, who owns the building that houses For Heaven Sake, said. “It’s always been small shops and not big buildings.”
Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at email@example.com
Attitude of gratitude
Being grateful for the good in our life can widen our perspective, improve relationships, boost confidence and enhance health and well-being. In uncertain and stressful times, practicing gratitude can be a stabilizer, writes psychotherapist and New York University professor Michelle Maidenberg on psychologytoday.com. One simple way to make the practice of gratitude a habit is to designate a weekly gratitude day. Write, text or call someone and express thanks for something they did. “When we give and receive thank-you notes, our brain is automatically redirected to pay attention to what we have,” Maidenberg says.
The storefront of a pop-up bookstore to benefit the University Park Public Library features decor created out of old books.("Ainsley Wiseman")