More than three years after we were first introduced to the Valley View Mall redo known as Dallas Midtown (one day), developer Scott Beck told the Dallas City Council today that he’s “shovel-ready” and prepared “to tear down the mall in December.” But a few roadblocks remain, among them some property owners who aren’t on board with the development, and a new thoroughfare plan inside the confines of what Beck Ventures promises will one day be a $20 billion development spread out over 450 acres more or less between Valley View and the Galleria.
Both were on display at Dallas City Hall today as council was asked to vote on the new plan as part of its walloping pre-summer break agenda. The details involving left-turn lanes and sidewalks and setbacks aren’t worth boring you with; dig into the agenda if you’re concerned about the fate of James Temple Drive. Suffice it to say, council member Lee Kleinman had some concerns, made some amendments and got the thing settled with a relatively easy vote on a day packed with other contentious items.
Scott Beck said before the council meeting it would be a slam-dunk, and it more or less was. Except …
Beck owns the mall and most of the property that extends to Preston Road. He doesn’t, however, own the the Sears. Or the Macy’s. And the folks who do sent their reps to Dallas City Hall today to express their displeasure with the need for thoroughfare amendments for what attorney Barry Knight called “speculative zoning.” Said Knight, whose comments were echoed by three separate Sears representatives, “The Becks aren’t the only ones with development plans for their property. … We’re not promoting in the public. We’re trying to get development partners. We’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on planning on what you approved in 2013, and we’d ask you not to pull the rug out from under us.”
Their concerns caught the ear of council member Philip Kingston: “We’ve got a lot more meetings like this on the Midtown development, and it seems to me if there can’t be consensus before it gets to the horseshoe …” A pause. “I am concerned for you all [that] it won’t feel like the development adequately benefits all land owners.”
But those concerns didn’t stop the council from signing off on the agenda items. And that’s why Beck sent these new renderings, with the promise of more announcements to come within the next 60 days — among them a grocery tenant and “an internationally recognized boutique hotel.” You’ll note: The AMC is in an entirely new building — the mall will be entirely adiosed in the first weeks of 2016, says Beck.
“What we’ll do is build a brand-new 10-screen AMC theater that will have slightly more than 1,400 seats and be perched on top of a three-story garage wrapped with ground-floor retail and office space,” he says. “Each one of the parking decks will be on the same level as the office. It’s exclusive executive office space. The last showing at the AMC in the mall would be Dec. 31 of this year.”
“The concept of the esplanade is very European, and it’s what distinguishes this street from any other in Texas,” says Beck. “What we want to create is connectivity from one side of the street to another with lush trees, fireplaces in the winter — a place where people can hang out all day and people-watch. And the tall buildings on the left, that’s the beginning of the park, which is on the current JCPenney parking lot. That’s five acres of park between Monfort and the esplanade. That’s almost an acre bigger than Klyde Warren, with 20 more acres on the other side of Monfort.”