Dallas, TX. Wal-Mart Does Dallas Big-Time
Wal-Mart has eight stores within Dallas, and 20 stores within 15 miles of the city. Half of Wal-Mart's store inside Dallas are supercenters. But the Big D is in for more Wal-Marts -- part of the retailer's push into urban markets. It seems the Big D needs more Big Box stores, and Wal-Mart wants to do it up big, with a scattershot of new stores.
The Dallas Morning News reports this week that Wal-Mart has its gaze set on the eastern side of downtown Dallas, on a property known as the City Lights parcel located off the Good-Latimer Expressway.
There are only 8 acres on the site, but according to The News, plans originally slated for the site included a mixed use project with retail, housing and commercial space -- but that's all been swept aside for Wal-Mart. The paper says that 'no deal has been signed yet,' but that could be all it takes in Dallas, where there is no real operative zoning in place.
"Over the last several years, Wal-Mart has expressed an interest in a variety of sites within the city of Dallas, including the City Lights property," the head of Dallas' office of economic development told the newspaper. This story follows the report in January that the giant retailer planned to invest $200 million on new stores in the metro area. But this added investment is really a form of economic dislocation -- because what Wal-Mart sells is already being offered at many other retailers in the city.
Three projects have already been announced on the southern side of Dallas. When the Morning News asked the retailer about the City Lights parcel, the comment back from Wal-Mart was predictable: "We don't have anything else to share at this time," a spokesperson said.
But not everyone in the neighborhood was pleased with this announcement. The head of the Bryan Place Neighborhood Association was quoted as saying, "I haven't had a chance to poll residents, but my gut feeling is that they wouldn't be too pleased about it."
The City Lights property has been in limbo for more than six years. At one point, neighbors were expecting a huge, 350,000 s.f. shopping center, including apartments and a high-rise building overlooking the freeway. Land was cleared for the project, but the development fell through, leaving a leveled parcel with nothing on it -- just waiting for a big box developer to come along.
What you can do: Unhappy residents tell Sprawl-Busters that there is a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market only 5 minutes away from the City Lights land. Many residents will be unhappy as the word spreads that the City Lights project is slated to become just another Wal-Mart in a saturated city.
Readers are urged to contact Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway at (214) 670-4054, or by email at: ci.dallas.tx.us/forms/mcc/mayor_mail_contactus.htm with the following message: "Dear Mayor Carraway, The Big D is turning into the Big W. The city is already swimming in Wal-Marts, and the latest announcement of another Wal-Mart for the City Lights property is the tipping point for neighbors.
All this project will do is increase the crime and traffic congestion near the site, and put more area merchants out of business. If Dallas residents want cheap Chinese imports, they don't have far to go to find a China Mart. But this is not a form of economic development for Dallas, and those 8 acres can be put to a much better use.
Help the city with real economic development that produces jobs with decent wages and benefits, not more poverty cycle jobs. Giving Wal-Mart more market share adds no value to Dallas, and only lowers the residential property values in the Bryan Place Neighborhood. Ask the neighbors: they will tell you this project is wrong for that location, and not at all what they were hoping for."