Downtown Arlington Placemaker Profile: Sixty Seconds with Bob Johnson

Decades before Downtown Arlington’s current renaissance, many individuals could see the potential that was mostly latent within. Enter entrepreneur, civic leader and long-time Downtown advocate Bob Johnson, who talks about his latest project in the heart of Arlington.

Bob:  Lester’s is the name of a local businessman – and his businesses -- who operated in the area. I’ve known several folks over the years associated with Lester’s and found them to be universally solid citizens. Folks you can easily get to know and enjoy spending some time and a good beer with, who (like good beer) have a subtle complexity and nuance that you should take time to discover and enjoy!

DA:  What’s your concept for Lester’s?

Bob:  Lester’s is an upscale yet casual establishment where there’s ample outdoor space to spread out in, get comfortable, relax and enjoy live music performances with good friends. A full bar will be available along with fresh and light seasonal food offerings; not a multi-course dining experience, but not standard bar-food fare, either.

DA:  How would you describe the vibe?

Bob:  Lester’s will be a pet friendly, comfortable backyard for the growing residential community in Downtown and surrounding area. Blue jeans, white T’s and cool hats are key fashion elements.

DA:  Why is the time right to open a venue like Lester's?

Bob:  People are looking for interesting spaces to relax in, especially outdoors. As the Downtown area continues to grow as a destination location -- and importantly, as a great place to live – there’s an increased interest in outdoor space that is both welcoming and engaging. In our increasingly high-tech world, there’s a role for outdoor experiences that are softer and people-friendly.

DA:  When do you expect Lester's to be open for business?

Bob:  Now that the concept is pretty well set, we’re finalizing the architectural plans and shooting for an early September opening.

DA:  You've been a longtime property owner and advocate for Downtown Arlington. What makes Downtown a great investment for you and for others considering commercial space in the district?

Bob:  We came to Downtown in late 1999. It was attractive at that time because of its central location in the metroplex, logistical access to transportation (such as DFW Airport, I-20, I-30 and 360) and its proximity to UTA. We felt that it was an area ripe for redevelopment and renewed growth. It took a bit longer than we’d originally thought, but Downtown has been on a roll for the past five years and we see that continuing.

Downtown Arlington Placemaker Profile

The Project for Public Spaces defines placemaking as “both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region. Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community.” The Downtown Arlington Placemaker Profile series seeks to recognize individuals who, through their words and deeds, have contributed to our district’s growing sense of place.

If you’d like to suggest someone for a future Downtown Arlington Placemaker Profile, feel free to drop us an email or include the information in the comment section below.

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About Downtown Arlington

An official State of Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.