Alamo Drafthouse (Photo courtesy of vendor)

How Dallas Caught Cedars Fever

The neighborhood south of downtown is having its moment.

How We Got Here 

The revitalization of South Lamar Street began in 1997 when developer Jack Matthews bought 17 acres and four crumbling buildings that once belonged to Sears. Matthews kept buying property on Lamar—on both sides of the street, all the way north to I-30—and slowly but steadily populating it. His South Side on Lamar loft complex came first and was eventually joined by a hotel (NYLO), concert venues (Gilley’s Dallas, Poor David’s Pub), more residences (Buzz Lofts, built by tech entrepreneur Zad Roumaya), and even the Dallas Police Department headquarters, which was constructed on land Matthews donated to the city.

When Alamo Drafthouse opened on Lamar in February, it was, in many ways, the culmination of Matthews’ efforts. The street is mostly built out now, and with the cult-favorite seven-screen theater and its rooftop restaurant (The Vetted Well) in place, Lamar finally has a destination for daytime foot traffic.  

But The Cedars is more than just South Lamar Street.

What Happens Next? 

Now that Matthews and company have established a beachhead in the Lamar area, the action is moving east to Ervay Street, where a number of projects should arrive later this year or sometime in 2017. They include:

  • The migration of The MAC from the nonprofit arts center’s longtime Uptown home to a complex of buildings (1601 S. Ervay) that will contain galleries, performance spaces, and room for other arts organizations
  • The renovation of the historic six-story Ambassador Hotel (1312 S. Ervay) that will transform the 111-year-old building into micro-lofts (about 500 square feet each)
  • The relocation of the popular Four Corners Brewery to a spot (1311 S. Ervay) across from the Ambassador, formerly owned by Matthews
  • The Cedars Union, a nonprofit arts incubator headed by Terrell Falk, former COO of the Perot Museum. It will eventually open in the old Boedeker Ice Cream Factory (1201 S. Ervay) and will have 40,000 square feet on three floors that will offer studio space for 80 artists. 

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