The changing face of a Dallas neighborhood.
While some see gentrification taking over Maple Avenue in Dallas, others see opportunities for improvements and growth.
Longtime business owners and home owners are continually faced with a decision: stay or sell?
Nostalgia is beginning to set in at Ojeda’s Restaurant along Maple Avenue near Hawthorne Avenue.
2019 will bring a big milestone: 50 years at two locations on Maple Avenue for the Tex-Mex staple.
“It’s so many memories,” sighed co-owner Tommy Ojeda.
The son of the original owners has not only grown up seeing his family’s business grow, he’s also seen his childhood neighborhood transform.
“It was a very nice neighborhood, very Hispanic,” he said. “Just ‘mom n pops’ and ‘5 & dime’ middle America.”
But in recent years, many longstanding homes and businesses have been hot with the wrecking ball, giving way to upscale homes and new businesses.
“It’s inevitable,” said Ojeda. “It’s just a very important piece of land.”
Accessibility to Oak Lawn, Uptown, Downtown, the Medical District has driven much of the change, according to real estate firm Candice Rubin.
“I think you’re going to see Maple Avenue really blossom into something brand new,” said Ojeda. “It’s going to be the next Henderson Avenue. You will have all these beautiful restaurants.”
Rubin says her firm has had 35 property sales in the past two years for both commercial and multi-family developments.
She credits the proximity to the trio of nearby hospitals: Parkland, Children’s and UT Southwestern Medical Center, the nearby DART station and large plots of available land, in part, for the increased interest in the area.
“We’ve been here for over 50 years, we’ve seen it all,” said property owner Ray Quintanilla. “But it’s improving, it’s changing and there’s nothing we can do.”
Quintanilla stood on an empty lot that used to be his family’s furniture store.
Gentrification, he argues, isn’t driving all Latino-land owners out.
“We’re actually evolving,” he said. “We’re still here, but at the same time we know we have to change, keep up with the times.”
Quintanilla, who owns approximately 3 acres of land on or near Maple Avenue, opted against selling his plot of land
He will instead help re-develop it, he says, into five small restaurants and a bar.
While Ojeda looks forward to serving Dallas for years to come on its current property, he admits if a developer comes in at the right price:
“I say we’ll sell it,” he said with a chuckle. “Whether my brothers and sisters are going to take it? I don’t know.”