Just months after suing the developers of the Valley View Mall replacement project known as Dallas Midtown, Dallas leaders celebrated with them instead over demolition completion.
After years of delays and angry neighbors complaining about the abandoned mall eyesore, Valley View is finally leveled. The last of the rubble is being hauled away.
The developers and city officials have high hopes for the prime site on I-635 LBJ Freeway between Preston Road and Montfort.
“I think this is the most important and exciting opportunity in all of North Texas. It’s one of the largest infill projects in the entire United States,” said Dallas City Council Member Jaynie Schultz who represents the neighborhood.
New construction will begin near what was the Preston Road entrance to the once-popular mall.
A mixed-use building of stores, restaurants and 275 apartments could break ground in January.
But the much larger vision for Dallas Midtown expands west from there for a new regional downtown, with a central park that planners hope will rival other big cities.
Plans call for a people mover shuttle to connect with DART’s Silver Line Rail which is under construction between Plano and DFW Airport.
Almost 6 years ago, on June 23, 2017, Developer Scott Beck hosted another ceremony at the site for a demolition launch and construction groundbreaking. Since then there have been many complications and accusations between the city and the developer.
As competing projects in other North Texas locations raced ahead, Beck blamed the City of Dallas for failing to provide sewer and water lines needed for new construction. The city blamed Beck for failing to meet demolition deadlines and sued him after repeated fires at the vacant structure endangered firefighters.
City Council Member Gay Donnell Willis represents the district directly across LBJ Freeway from the former mall site.
“There’s not a community meeting I go to, no matter what the subject is, when I open it up for Q and A, somebody does not ask me, ‘Hey what’s going on with Valley View,’” Willis said. “And so I’m very excited about today.”
Instead of discord, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax was there shaking hands with Beck.
Council Member Jaime Resendez who represents Pleasant Grove was there, too along with Willis and Schultz supporting the project.
“This is a very important project for the City of Dallas,” Resendez said.
Beck refused to talk about past disputes.
“We have turned over a new leaf. So, we’re not really going to be talking about what happened in the past or hasn’t happened in the past. We’re going to just move forward from today,” Beck said.
The question of what to call the project remains a small dispute.
It started years ago as Dallas Midtown. But since then the city renamed the region between Preston and the Dallas North Tollway, LBJ Freeway and Alpha Road as the Dallas International District.
Beck said it has led to some brand confusion.
“And our project where we are here will still be called the Dallas Midtown project,” Beck said.
Shultz adjusts the description.
“This is Dallas Midtown at the International District,” she said.
With all the kindness Tuesday, a test remains on whether other people come to know it as something big and new and not just the abandoned shopping mall site.
Beck warned that the city’s ongoing ransomware computer problems might delay building permits he is seeking by December to start construction early next year.
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