A North Texas landlord is experimenting with a novel way to find a retail tenant for his commercial property in Dallas.
Local landlord Patrick Donlin purchased the storefront at 5440 East Grand Avenue in 2022 but has been unable to secure a long-term or permanent tenant for the property. Now he is toying with the idea of offering usage of the space for “free” as part of an experimental pop-up storefront.
The deal is for vendors to set up in Donlin’s storefront for a day, experiment with a pop-up, and see what comes of the experience. Creative suggestions for the storefront include an “art studio for a day,” a “one-day flea market,” an “impromptu baby shower,” or a “pop-up jewelry shop.”
“We’re trying to target home-based businesses who could do a pop-up as they consider growing into a bigger space,” he said. “If it helps them have a good Christmas season, maybe they’ll consider renting our next space.”
Although the offer is advertised as “free,” the gimmick is only listed as such from Sunday through Thursday. A $500 per day charge will be applied on Fridays and Saturdays, according to Kristyn Taylor, a marketing data analyst at Heartland IT Consulting.
Ultimately, Donlin is looking for a retail tenant to move into the space in January. “We don’t think we’re going to rent it in the next 60 days, so we’re making the space available and hopefully someone can benefit from that,” he explained.
It is not a surprise that the commercial space has failed to land a permanent tenant, according to Donlin. The space has not had a certificate of occupancy for 22 years, he said.
The La Acapulqueña restaurant had previously occupied Donlin’s commercial property with plans to renovate the space into a modern banquet hall. Instead, the restaurant only chose to use the property as storage. Today, the restaurant is listed as “permanently closed.”
“The whole space was filled with trash,” Donlin said. “There were leaks in the ceiling, and they put out buckets to catch the leaks — but instead of dumping out the water, they just threw sawdust on the floor. It was a mess.”
Despite setbacks in finding a tenant for the space, Donlin is optimistic about his idea for a pop-up storefront.
“Most landlords would just let the space sit empty. We’re trying to do this for fun, and give people a platform to have a practice run at no cost,” explained Donlin.