A Dallas Cowboys great is stepping up and investing in a North Texas neighborhood. A redevelopment project looks to revitalize the Lancaster Road Corridor and southern sector of Dallas.
The long-dormant former Urban League of Dallas building along South Lancaster Road is breathing new life thanks to Emmitt Smith.
Smith's social infrastructure development company E. Smith Communities teamed up with investor American South Real Estate Fund to purchase the 30,000 square foot building, according to E. Smith Communities.
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"The site at the corner of South Lancaster Road and Ann Arbor Avenue (near the DART rail station and regional VA Medical Center) is in a designated Opportunity Zone with high poverty and significant need for economic development and job creation. Such projects are a high priority for E Smith Communities to support the Grow South Initiative," stated a press release.
"I believe [Smith] is committed to growing people and growing the community and he has his heart in the community," said Dallas City Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold. "It means so much and it's going to take us a long, long way in this community."
King Arnold said current plans call for adding workforce training and retail space inside the building which sits on nearly three acres.
"We're looking forward to a workforce which means jobs," she said. "Job skills and the ability to perhaps work in our community and also just excitement about having an economic boom with retail."
The councilwoman said improving the Lancaster Road Corridor is key.
The area is home to the VA Hospital, new apartment homes but also empty or rundown buildings.
"Hooray, we are very excited," said Phil Foster with the Adelaide Neighborhood Association in East Oak Cliff.
"We didn't want just anything here," he said. "To know that Mr. Emmitt Smith, former Cowboys player, has purchased this building here, we're excited about it."
Foster said the area still needs more restaurants and quality food stores.
"It's time," said King Arnold. "It's time for the southern sector to get benefits that they so royally deserve to boost their quality of life and I think we're going to start here with the Smith Communities."
E. Smith Communities is currently looking for tenants. The project aims at creating up to 200 jobs in the neighborhood.
For more information, visit esmithcommunities.com.