Gateway Up for Grabs

One of the last undeveloped tracts of land in the Park Cities is drawing intense interest, according to representatives from Allie Beth Allman and Associates.
The 1.17-acre triangular plot bordered by Lakeside Drive, Armstrong Avenue, and Oak Lawn Avenue is being marketed as the “Gates of Highland Park.” While the land has been for sale since mid-fall, tall wooden signs erected just before New Year’s have generated increased attention.
“I can’t think of another location that would be more desirable,” former Highland Park mayor William D. White Jr. said.
In 1906, real estate developer John Armstrong purchased a large amount of land just north of Dallas for $276 an acre. The city’s population had more than doubled following the turn of the century, and was fast approaching 100,000. Armstrong saw enormous potential in the area he dubbed “Highland Park,” so named because it sat on high terrain overlooking downtown.

Armstrong formed a real estate company with his sons-in-law Hugh Prather and Edgar Flippen, and together they hired William David Cook — the master planner behind Beverly Hills — to create a similar design for their development. The result was a blueprint for the tree-filled residential community that exists today, complete with ample space set aside for parks. At the time, Armstrong remarked that a hill on the southern edge of the development would serve as “the gateway and entrance of Highland Park.”
Over the following decades, development consumed most of the surrounding area, yet the small hill remained virtually untouched. A church considered buying it at one point, but a deal was never reached. There were also proposals for a city park that never quite came together.
“The opportunity that is there is really unique because there is no land like that left,” said real estate agent Juli Harrison.
The area is zoned for two home sites, though it is possible that a buyer could decide to build one large estate instead. The land includes 22 large oak trees that were recently trimmed for the first time in ages. The property owner joked that they hadn’t been touched since “Crockett went down to the Alamo.”
According to the Town of Highland Park’s building regulations, any construction plans will have to be approved by the city council after considering public input.
“We hope to find someone who will carry on the architecture and the history of the area,” Harrison said.

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