The Dallas Valley View Mall is due to move a step closer to the wrecking ball this week with a City Council vote Wednesday.
New owners of the 43-year-old mall on LBJ Freeway at Preston Road plan to transform most of the real estate into "Dallas Midtown," a mixed-use development of homes, stores and offices.
The deal reviewed by a Dallas City Council Committee Monday provides $36 million in city support for the $290 million project phase one. Sears would be the only department store to stay for now, and demolition would begin on the other old stores by year’s end under terms of the deal.
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"We're excited about it," said Dallas Councilman Lee Kleinman. "I think it's going to do a lot, not only just to bring jobs and housing and retail and other things to the city. It's going to increase our tax base tremendously."
Commercial and residential buildings would be placed on a new street grid where the mall once stood. Kleinman, who grew up near the mall, said the new plan meets Dallas' goals for denser, urban development.
"It's really supposed to be very walkable and very bicycle and pedestrian friendly," Kleinman said.
Vacant mall parking lots closest to LBJ Freeway are now zoned for 40-story office buildings. The developers and Dallas city officials hope to attract big corporate relocations of the sort Plano has won recently.
"I think that would be great. It would help the neighborhood a lot. We don't live too far from here," said neighbor Stephanie Randall Hastings.
Monday, she and husband Alan Hastings visited the Valley View AMC Theater, one of the few mall attractions still open. Alan Hastings said the nearly abandoned mall is much different than the busy place where he worked at a shoe store in the 1980s.
"It's just amazing," he said. "I guess everybody is moving up north and this area is slowing down."
Visitor Howard Smith said he stopped at the mall Monday to see if it was still open since so few cars were parked outside.
"It's hanging on life support and it reminds me of Southwest Center Mall," Smith said.
The city deal to revive the Valley View area includes devoting a portion of the future tax value increase to support for Southwest Center Mall area improvements near Interstate 20 and Westmoreland Road.
Smith wondered if demolition would make Valley View a bigger eyesore.
"Once they tear this mall down it would just be on great big old vacant spot," he said.
In return for the city investment in the project, developers are expected to meet performance goals. Demolition must begin by Dec. 31, 2016. Construction of the first phase must be completed by Dec. 31, 2019. A new AMC Theater is planned in one of the first new buildings.