In October 2015, I wrote about the closing of one of my favorite neighborhood bars, Shady Side. The landowner had raised the rent, and that was that. But the leasing agent at the time told me that a new tenant would soon occupy the space. Things were happening.
Here we are in May 2017, and the place still sits empty. In fact, nearly the entire shopping center is empty. But it has a new name! The sign that stands on Buckner Boulevard used to say Lake Highlands Village. It was recently changed to White Rock Center. The new name hasn’t done much to improve occupancy. Beneath it are empty white tiles where business names should be. The white tiles match the ugly white that the entire shopping center was painted a few years ago.
Venture Commercial is the the leasing company now. A sign on Buckner says Amanda Throckmorton and Easley Waggoner are the people to call. I’ve called Waggoner repeatedly. He won’t return my calls. I’ve had two people who know him tell him that I’d like to talk to him because I’m curious why White Rock Center remains empty. He told one of those people a month ago that he’d call me soon. He hasn’t.
Hey, it’s a free country. There’s nothing illegal about buying a shopping center, painting it a disgusting white, shuttering a friendly neighborhood bar where a certain family had a tradition of playing shuffleboard on Christmas Eve, then letting the entire shopping center lie fallow. Maybe the owners are just waiting for all the few remaining leases to expire so that they can tear the place down. That would be the first question I’d ask Waggoner if he’d talk to me. For now, all I can do is drive by the empty storefronts and wonder.