Royal Blue Grocery, a modern corner store brand originally founded in Austin in 2006 and only recently finding its footing in the Dallas market, announced plans yesterday with Dallas firm Stream Realty Partners to open an urban grocery inside Trammell Crow Center, an office complex in the Dallas Arts District currently undergoing renovation and expansion.
This is one of two groceries Royal Blue will open downtown. The other is scheduled for a spring ribbon cutting in the Mercantile Building.
Royal Blue Grocery offers a small footprint. It specializes in tailoring stores to the neighborhood and offering a little bit of everything, “from Stumptown coffee and freshly prepared grab-and-go offerings, to conventional grocery and convenience items,” according to the company’s site.
Stream Realty and J.P. Morgan Asset Management are redeveloping Trammell Crow Center, adding a mixed-use development on a 2.66-acre site south of the tower. When completed, enhancements to the tower will include a new lobby, a lower exterior and plaza. The Royal Blue Grocery will occupy 3,300 square feet of retail space, in addition to a 2,000-square-foot kitchen, located at the northeast corner of Ross Avenue and Harwood Street.
Royal Blue owner and proprietor Zac Porter said the grocery’s patio overlooking the Dallas Museum of Art will be special. “As we expand into downtown Dallas, we think this location will be great for the building and our Ross Avenue, Arts District, and Klyde Warren Park neighbors,” Porter said in a prepared statement.
Stream’s Tuesday announcement was a twofer. In addition to the Royal Blue deal, Stream signed up Dallas restaurateur Tim McEneny and his company NL Group, creator of such renowned Dallas eateries as LIFT, DISH Preston Hollow, Front Room Tavern at Hotel Lumen and Jalisco Norte. NL Group signed a lease for a 3,100-square-foot restaurant and bar at the center.
Stream vice president Sara Terry said the “redevelopment is not only transforming the building into a modern landmark, but also revitalizing the surrounding area. We want to provide a true sense of place just blocks from the Arts District, while offering unparalleled amenities to our tenants and many others who work and enjoy this area.”
Taking Commissary at 1217 Main Street into account, Royal Blue’s new location will provide the central business district with three urban grocers — but like the late-night infomercials say, “wait, there’s more!”
For years, downtowners clamored for a full-sized supermarket. In 2015, their prayers were answered when Whole Foods Market opened a store in Uptown at 2510 McKinney Avenue. Lightning struck twice when last year developer Greystar announced a 55,000-square-foot Tom Thumb Grocery would occupy most of the ground floor of a mixed-use residential tower planned in the Baylor District, phase 2 of Greystar’s City Lights development. The 370-unit residential building will be located at the northeast corner of Live Oak and Cantegral Streets.
According to state architect records, Greystar’s building now has a name. Houston-based project architect Meeks+Partners reported the $135 million project as The Gabriella. That’s a 26 percent increase over the projected cost when this project was before the Plan Commission in June 2016. The report to the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation also states that construction on the foundation will begin this month. The architect added that the building permit for the structure will be submitted on approximately January 19, and the estimated completion date is April 2020.