On April 30, 1973, Peter P. Stewart secured the first 160 acres of what was then farmland along Grapevine Lake in Flower Mound. The distribution business owner, civic leader, and land investor’s ultimate goal was to turn it into a unique mixed-use community unlike anyone in the town could understand.
Half a century later, his vision can be seen not only from what’s been completed at Lakeside DFW but what’s being built today. While no longer alive to personally view the development, Stewart was able to go up into the signature 16-story tower with sons Peter B. and David while it was being built two months before his death in 2018.
“David said ‘so what do you think?’ ” said Peter B. “Dad said ‘what took you so long?’ They and brother Alan took over from their father years ago.
“He had seen this raw land his entire life so it was hard for him to get oriented to where he was,” David added.
Being so close to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport which opened in 1974, the elder Stewart knew what the property could become. Though it went through various concepts, he always envisioned high-rise buildings to take advantage of the spectacular views.
Aided by brother-in-law Henry Exall, he secured planning development zoning. He also knew it needed better access than the two-lane road over the Lake Grapevine Dam. So he led the effort to create the six-lane north-south alternative that became International Parkway and Lakeside Parkway as an east-west connector. Those routes played a key role in Flower Mound growing from 1,800 people when they bought the property to 15,747 in 1990 and 51,774 by 2000.
Several things delayed construction including the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2007-2009 recession that forced part of the property into bankruptcy. Plus, some members of the Flower Mound Town Council objected to mixed-use projects. So in 2011, the Stewarts began talking to nearby homeowners’ associations to directly ask residents what they wanted from their potential new neighbors. They also used social media outlets like Facebook to explain what mixed-use was and how it was successful in other parts of the country.
“We didn’t show them a plan. We showed them an aerial with where they lived and where our property was located and asked, ‘what would you like us to do?,’ ” Peter B. said. “Their No. 1 priority was retail because at the time everything down here was farmland. They were having to drive miles for retail.
“Their No. 2 thing was access to the lake. And we found out how sophisticated and business-savvy these people were. We pointed out the problems with the site. To the east were nothing but warehouses and to the south was nothing but vacant land. To the west was the lake and one little corner was where they lived. How could a retailer survive? They understood if they wanted retail they had to have some sort of density which is a four-letter word in this town.”
Soon thereafter, the Stewarts took three busloads of people to Legacy Town Center so they could personally see what Lakeside could become. Town officials begrudgingly changed their tune and approved the development.
“That was a powerful influence,” David said.
“We wanted to build Lakeside, a place people love,” Peter said. “That was our tagline.”
The first two phases started in 2013 included 250 homes, 1,200 apartments, and 133,000 square feet of retail space. The first merchants opened their doors in 2015. The current Phase 3 construction on the west side that was delayed by the pandemic is known as Lakeside Village. It will feature 54 single-family homes and 900 total residential units plus three hotels, six restaurants, offices, a wedding chapel, and an amphitheater expected to open in 2025 and 2026.
“The art of mixed uses is not well-known,” Peter B. said. “You can talk to anyone in our community and they view Lakeside as their community. They identify with it.”
Though situated in Flower Mound, Lakeside is unlike anything else in the town.
“This is a place where people like people,” Peter B. said. “If you’re going to live here and walk on the sidewalk, people are probably going to call your name. They know the names of the retailers and because you’re walking you are having those engagements.”