A group of investors that includes Phil Romano is at work on a 10-block project on the edge of Oak Cliff that should shake things up a bit.
It’s called Trinity Groves, and it’s located on Singleton Avenue near I-30. The owners plan to repurpose 60-plus acres of industrial buildings as a food-centric development, then expand it into a mixed-use project with additional retail and housing.
The existing buildings are said to have great bones–lots of iron work, 30-foot ceilings, exposed rafters–most of which will be left intact.
“We’ve been working on this for about three years,” admitted Butch McGregor, who was reluctant to share details but confirmed some elements of the project.
Others familiar with the project tell me that Trinity Grove will be based initially around two core buildings, one of which will house a collection of six or seven small restaurant spaces that the developers would lease to experienced chefs to be used as restaurant “incubators,” where low rents would be meant to encourage restaurateurs to experiment with new concepts (which might then bloom into a multi-unit acquisition targets, I suspect.)
(Trinity Groves is different from Sylvan/Thirty, where chef Sharon Hage is said to be spearheading a “restaurant incubator.” Also, IIRC, Romano developed a few of his early restaurants, including Rudy’s bbq, Macaroni Grill and Nacho Mammas/Cozymel’s using a parcel of land in Leon Springs, outside San Antonio, as his “incubator,” so it’s not surprising that he’d want to reprise his earlier success there.)
Sources say Trinity Groves is talking to a baker, a microbrewer, a cheese maker, a butcher and other “artisans” to fill out the mix. Chef Sharon von Meter (Milestone) is said to have already signed on, though I couldn’t reach her for comment.
Target opening date: March, 2012, to coincide with the christening of the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which (not coincidentally) links downtown Dallas with an entrance to Trinity Groves.