Transformation of Old Jacksonville Highway South
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Conti
The Old Jacksonville Highway area in southern Tyler is attracting residents, businesses and lots of attention thanks to a pair of new developments, the first of their kind in northeast Texas.
J.P. Davis and Steve Thornton are owners of Oak Properties, the company constructing the new developments, which mix commercial and residential properties along 368 acres of Old Jacksonville Highway. Davis says they are the first mixed-use developments in northeast Texas.
The development known as Oak Hills will be largely commercial with 15 percent of its total area planned for residential use. The other development, named Oak Hollow, will be 35 percent commercial and 65 percent residential. Both contain a variety of home options that range in price from $250,000 to $2 million, says Thornton. The men are currently courting businesses that will provide a variety of services and entertainment options to residents.
“The entire property has a high-end look, plus it’s designed well for good traffic flow,” Davis says. “When we brought the acreage, Old Jacksonville Highway was two lanes, and now it is five lanes. The development is also bordered by four major arterial roadways yet provides plenty of nature spaces such as four miles of walking trails plus a lake.”
Swanns and FRESH
Davis says the developments offer a mix of industrial, office, retail and restaurants, and there is even an Oak Hills Montessori School. In addition, the Tyler Independent School District has announced plans to join the area by constructing a new middle school campus.
“Two businesses – Swanns Furniture Gallery and FRESH by Brookshire’s upscale grocery store – have been long-time landmark companies in Tyler, and they became our first commercial anchor tenants and really got our development going,” Davis says. “FRESH is in Oak Hills and Swanns is in Oak Hollow, and it was a big coup for us to attract both. They have been two of Tyler’s longest-existing retailers and are well known throughout the entire northeast Texas region.”
Another long-standing business in Tyler is Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, which has been in the community for 30 years and recently relocated to the Old Jacksonville Highway South development.
“We wanted to be part of a growth area with high visibility, and Old Jacksonville is that kind of location,” says Gregg Davis, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management director.” We now have a stand-alone building with great signage that makes us easy to find and easy to see. Our location is excellent.”
Today, Oak Hills and Oak Hollow have a total of four restaurants, four medical practices, a dozen private businesses and 10 financial services companies. Residential and commercial sales were even brisk during the recent national economic downturn.
“A properties group from Dallas visited us wondering how we could have achieved such continued success during the rough economy,” J.P. Davis says. “The reason is a great location and a great product to offer. We’ve tried to think of every aspect so this becomes a self-sufficient community for people who live along Old Jacksonville Highway South. Among our staff at Oak Properties, we occasionally refer to Old Jacksonville Highway as New Jacksonville Highway to celebrate the newness of everything.”
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