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Jun 12, 2007



Oh please, whatever you do people, please renovate the movie theater in Casa Linda instead of turning it into an Urban Outfitters. Back when there was word that the Alamo Drafthouse was interested in that space, I was elated. That would have provided entertainment found nowhere else in town. But I guess the Alamo people moved on. Let's just try to keep Casa Linda unique, and not let it blend into the retail homogeny that's taking over the rest of the city.

But I have to say... after looking at the drawings on that site, the only thing it will be adding is some cobblestone sidewalks and a banner. You can bet I'm adding my preferences right now.

Matt Wood

I too was very excited at the prospect of John Martin and the crew from Alamo Draft House taking on Casa Linda Theater, despite its condition inside. Sadly, it was apparently not to be. I would guess, based on the number of attempts and failures to save the theater (as detailed here http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1056 ) that the only way it could be saved would be through a massive preservationist project. This seems unlikely since the current owners probably wouldn't encourage it, and the theater, though unique and quite art-deco inside at one time, is not as stately as some. Plus it is likely that the interior is completely gone.


Oh the possibilities. Anyone that can remember Casa Linda from the 50's and 60's should remember a great center full of vitality. Architecture full of character, fairly diverse businesses, functionality as well as atmosphere. But alas over the years it has been stripped most of the truly unique qualities that if still existent would make it a showplace in today's bland sampling of strip centers and malls and I suspect tennats would be waiting in line. The theater was a great place and I too am bothered that the attempts to revitalize have gone south. Can't get too excited about the plan to make shops, etc. out of it as I can almost guarantee the outcome of this effort. I hope that the new owners stay the course and actually do some substantive updating but the real accomplishment would be if they could restore what has been lost to previous lame-brain owners (ie., the old neon tower for Skillern's Drugs, The red tiled covered sidewalks, the old C&S Hardware [formerly Wyatt's Grocery Store] building and line of shops behind El Fenix, the Mobil [formerly Humble Gas] flying red-horse service station, the Gulf station across Buckner with its moorish columns, the full courtyard effect before Albertson's destroyed half the center...). Casa Linda's current state is proof positive that commercial real estate owners and developers usually have not a clue what they are doing.

Matt Wood

Since you brought it up, for those who miss that particular flying red-horse, I had the pleasure of seeing it last week in all of its wonderful red neon glory as the centerpiece of the new "Old Red Courthouse" Museum of Dallas County. The museum is now open and I give it both thumbs up. Curator/Exec Director Tom Smith (the man who assembled the baseball museum for the Rangers at the "Temple" in Arlington) has done a great job of gathering and displaying Dallas County history - good, bad and ugly. I encourage anyone going to take the time to watch the videos. http://www.oldred.org

Michael Mosteller

Re: Casa Linda Theater
It is a true shame the Alamo Drafthouse didn't work out. I saw my first actual movie in a theater at the Casa Linda (Empire Strikes Back...I'm only 30). I was so excited at the prospect of the Alamo moving in because they know how to fix up an old theater and make it profitable and incredibly entertaining for the customer. And their dinner theater concept cannot be beat. They run a clean theater and they care about making their environment fun and enjoyable. I have been to most of the Austin Alamos and they are all great.

A friend and I flirted with the possibility of trying to get funding to reopen it in a style similar to the Alamo concept. We ran out of time before the theater was sold to SC Companies. I get the feeling though that even if we had a great idea and adequate funding, the previous owners still wouldn't have sold or leased it to anyone but a property management company. It really seemed like the previous owners (who also own the Emerald Isle Condo land) were just looking for someone to take the theater off their hands. Why else would you not do what you could to get a marquee tenant like Alamo? It would have been a perfect match for the area.

My only hope is it becomes a restaurant of some kind or a sports grill. It would be nice to have a great destination at Casa Linda. Realistically, the theater is the focal point of the center and if it has a great tenant, the center will thrive. If not, the center stays stagnant like it currently is. It would be nice to know who SC Companies is doing at getting a tenant in there or even an update on the renovations. I have bugged Jeff a few times about this but if anyone knows, I would appreciate the info.

Jeff Siegel

Hey, I checked on this, didn't I? Re the theater: SC plays it very close to the vest. I doubt they talk to each other about what they're going to do. I suppose I can call and leave another message.

Michael Mosteller

Jeff, you did check on it and gave me an answer back in March which I appreciated. Forgive my impatience but I was just wondering if anyone else had some updated info. I am really curious what is happening with the marquee and who, if anyone, do they have that is interested in the space? I also wonder are they going to keep it together or break it up into two spaces? Finally, did they ever make an effort to get a theater company like Alamo Drafthouse in to try it as a theater? Since renovations were the issue that gummed up the negotiations with Alamo and Theater Bros., why not try it again since they have done arguably the hardest part of the renovation (asbestos abatement)? But I think that ship has sailed and they are looking to get a ton of retail use out of the space.

My issue with them turning it into a retail space is why would a typical retail company (like say Gap, deja vu?) lease an old theater when AmREIT is about to try and get tenants in a renovated Casa Linda? I thought I read that AmREIT said most of the leases on the center were up at the end of this year. That means some big spaces could open up. Not to mention at the theater, you are possibly sharing a space and presumably a marquee with another store. If you aren't sharing a space, who wants a 12,000 sq ft retail space?

It also seems odd that AmREIT really wants everyone to know what they plan on doing and even ask for input on what people want yet SC Companies has been so tight lipped since buying the theater. The theater is what people are most interested in. It is the most visible landmark in the area (next to the lake) and so many of us who grew up in Dallas have great memories from watching movies there.

Sorry I don't mean to sidetrack but what is happening with the theater is a real passion of mine. If I had a couple million dollars lying around, I would have tried to reopen it myself.

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