Some Lessons Learned From Walmart's Expansion (At Least, Its Move Into Oak Cliff)

lareuniondevelopment.jpg
The development residents were hoping for, more or less, on the spot of Fort Worth Avenue where Walmart's expected to go
On Tuesday, you no doubt recall, the city sent word that Walmart's opening 14 new locations citywide -- among them, three in the southern sector, including on the vacant lot at Fort Worth Avenue and W. Colorado Boulevard. Yesterday, on Go Oak Cliff, Jason Roberts wrote about the reaction to that announcement, much of which was negative. Roberts explains why via e-mail -- because that intersection was, once, "the original La Reunion site plan developed by Dick Sieb," referred to here. City officials with whom I spoke yesterday and today confirm: Yes, at least part of the land intended for the project, seen in the rendering above, will be used for the Walmart.

In his Go Oak Cliff piece, Roberts flashes back to those early meetings of the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, which maintains a thick stack of plans and studies for your casual browsing. Writes Roberts, at one 2004 meeting, "strong neighborhood leaders stood up and passionately discussed why we should organize and start asking the city to re-analyze the corridor and help create a more walkable, livable street." And much good was done: Zoning was changed, Better Blocks were built and so forth. But then: Walmart.

"I'm actually not as upset about the Walmart and more upset about the process we undertake as a community to make an area walkable, livable, [insert urbanism buzzword]," Roberts writes Unfair Park via e-mail when asked for his thoughts on the announcement. "The planning process takes years, costs millions, and in the end, we're at the whim of whoever decides to develop on that property. The community says they want a village, but the realities on the ground won't allow that to happen. Either we need to commit quickly to a vision, or we should use our resources in a more productive manner, like enabling local, small business."

Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, is aware of the reaction to the announcement -- that there are jeers amongst the cheers of those who believe, like Dave Neumann, that this lays the "foundation for economic growth on Fort Worth Avenue." Zavitkovsky says he expects this particular location to be a neighborhood market, and he asks: "Be patient." Why?

"There will be plenty of opportunity for public discourse, for public discussions, for anything that would require zoning changes or where public funds are being requested," he tells Unfair Park this afternoon. "If I were in the neighborhood, I don't think anything's necessarily cast in stone. The neighborhood will have their opportunity to express their opinions. The right approach is to look at each situation individually and not have a sort of blanket reaction. From the city's standpoint, we are very happy that Dallas is an area in which they've chosen to expand, but we haven't negotiated anything individually with them."

Incidentally, he says the city hasn't offered Walmart any incentives to open these 14 locations, many of which won't be announced till the land's been acquired, and Walmart has not asked for any breaks. Not yet, anyway.

"There have been no specific discussions involving incentives as it relates to any of these properties," he says. "The city has certainly encouraged Walmart to bring new stores into the city and region, and they were ongoing over the last three, four years, so we're very happy they made this announcement, but we haven't had any specific negotiations with them about any specific sites. And each site has its own set of circumstances. So I'd cation people not to jump to conclusions and to just look at the facts as they relate to individual properties."


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62 comments
bankalchemist
bankalchemist

if the Seibs are involved you will need ASAOS insurance in case there are any losses. Don't give them the check book.

ew_cummings
ew_cummings

We need to be asking ourselves, why is Dallas happy about Walmart expanding throughout the entire city? Is that really the quality that Dallas is striving for overall? I live in and love Oak Cliff, but I was raised in another area of Dallas where we wouldn't be jumping up and down for Walmart to be in our neighborhood there either.

AC
AC

Stevens Park Village has really been given the shaft. Hampton to the east, I-30 to the north, DHA PSH to the west, and now a Walmart.

What will become of the Aldi, the Minyard, and even further up the road, the Rio ?

Griggs hit the nail on the head with his 18 acres comment at last night's meeting. Best views in Dallas, a large plot of land, close proximity to downtown and jobs, yet we're settling for Walmart.

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

I don’t see what the big deal is. Councilman Neumann told us himself last night that Wal-Mart has committed to him that they will develop a concept that fits with the neighborhood. I’m positive they’ll be supporting our local farmers, offering responsibly raised meats and dairy and sourcing products from socially and environmentally conscious businesses.

Because if there’s one thing you can trust, it’s Dave to look out for our best interests.

How about instead of always lifting our skirt for big business in this town, we ask for a commitment to be REAL responsible neighbors in our community before giving them access to our cash. They could start by chipping in on our sub-standard schools. THAT would be something to brag about.

Who Ray
Who Ray

All of the great aspirations of a mixed use community, with lots of new residential uses......a la West Village.......replaced by a Walmart.........and, do you really think they'll do a "neighborhood market" and go head to head with the Brand New Aldi's across the street? One of them will be a big loser.......guess who? The "renaissance" of Fort Worth Avenue, led by Aldi and Walmart is a figment of Dave Neumann's small mind. Geeez, the City and DHA really did the damage when they moved all of those formerly homeless people into Cliff Tower.........BRILLIANT MOVE!!!!!

Montemalone
Montemalone

There's already a wallyworld down at Cockrell Hill, how many pofolk are there in da cliff?

Daniel
Daniel

Food trucks with topless women serving Tapas On A Stick or Koren Barbeque Towers or somesuch would be just about as nice as Hell and would be a triumph of "local sourcing" and "form-based zoning."

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

In a battle of a Walmart versus a vacant lot with unrealized concepts "attached" to it, Walmart wins.

If it was Target would there be less whining?

buffytrc
buffytrc

Saw that coming. Now for some Old Navy and whatever food chain is "in"

Torrent
Torrent

Wait.... what was all that form based zoning about a few years ago? Doesn't this violate it?

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

I wonder why there's no mention of the Walmart/Sam's going up where Timbercreek apartments used to be. I pass by it every day and I really dread what it's going to do to traffic when it opens.

gabbahey
gabbahey

Wow, battling for the economically lowest common denominator, with ALDI within 100 yards of the proposed WalMart site. This area pocket will become a shithole, faster than it took to raze those low-rent apartments that were there before.

James
James

Because the Neighborhood Market in Uptown is so nice!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I don't believe for a second that the form will be what neighbors had hoped, but actually, WMT offers lots and lots of organic foods. and it's not because they give a shit. it's because it's profitable and they can charge a premium.I love Urban Acres but it's simply not a reality for my family to use it as our only grocery source. it doesn't fit well with the anti-corporate feelings some people in NOC have, but sometimes large corporations actually do provide things that people want.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I'd bet my paycheck that Neuee has never ever set foot in a Walmart, and never will.

G_David
G_David

Believe it or not Robert, that entire area is covered in grass. Doesn't look half bad, really. Nature will always find a way....

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Even the Walmarts in West Plano feel ghetto. I'm pretty sure a Walmart on Martha's Vineyard would be filled with hillbillies somehow too.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I'm not WMT supporter, but the clientele at this store will NOT be the same as the Cockrell Hill store. they do not target the same demographic for their standalone grocery that they do for the stores themselves.

guest
guest

I shop at Walmart and I don't consider myself poor. Let's try not to generalize.

Daniel
Daniel

Koren = Korean, not Koran. Dude, you have no Koran!

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

Given the size of our city, and most cities that rail against wal mart, it's not difficult to realize that the populations are large enough to accommodate both groups with little, if any hypocrisy.

St. Augustine
St. Augustine

That might be because lots of people are broke ...

Boo
Boo

Dallas is a big city and there are a lot of people who don't care about the Walmart business model. These are NOT the same people who fought for the Ft. Worth Avenue development and want good business in Oak Cliff.

Kebnabi
Kebnabi

Agreed -- as a Lake Highlands resident, I'm already writing off the entire Skillman/NW Hwy interchange as a route. Meanwhile, we're all terrified waiting to see what kinda big box retail pops up at Skillman/Walnut Hill.

Who Ray
Who Ray

Let's not forget........it was the City's money that was used to raze the old apartment complex, and ready this site for...............WALMART!

Montemalone
Montemalone

Dont' forget the "lovely" Minyards across the street.

Howard
Howard

I go to that one a lot, and I've never encountered a personal problem. (Maybe it's because I mostly go in the middle of the night when hardly anyone is shopping.)

To be honest, this entire message board thread reeks of smug elitism -- seems like many here would prefer all of Dallas to be one giant city version of West Village (which I myself like and go to every day, BTW) with only Costcos, Targets, Central Markets and Whole Foods as the big box food shopping choices.

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

Although I’m dubious of the “USDA organic” label, I honestly don’t care that much if my fruits and vegetables are organic or not. Ethical meat is another story, and Wal-Mart is as bad as any. And Urban Acres is not much of an option for me either; it’s feel-good and cute at this point. There's nothing wrong with big corporations per se, they ultimately pay my salary.

It’s that a Wal-Mart adds nothing to the area that we don’t already have, so why put one there. I’d rather see a vacant lot for awhile. Or split it up for housing, etc. But alas no one will develop decent housing across the street from a quasi-homeless shelter.

The bank has the right to sell the land to whoever they want. But we as citizens have a right to press our representatives to help zone that land in accordance with what works for the community. I wouldn’t loose sleep if the bank has to hold it for now; they made the ill-advised loan. The problem with Neumann is not that he’s a bad guy necessarily, he just has no vision.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That's a good point -- I drove past it over the weekend, and my 7-year-old son pointed out that it looks like a slice of country in the middle of all that concrete.

Walmart is evil
Walmart is evil

Have you been to the Walmart Market by the West Village? It's pretty scary and it is NOT the same clientele as you'd expect for Uptown. Walmart Market, plain old Walmart=bad crowds.

XianC
XianC

Then get your non poor ass out of walmart and into local retailers or at least people who pay living wages.

Neuman doesn't see this as a victory for Ft.Worth Ave development, as much as a knock out of the hipster utopia he thinks Jason and Scott see for the area. If he supports this, he gets to bring development without giving in to real vision.

G_David
G_David

If you're not poor, then you're a complete masochist.

Mark
Mark

Definitely will not be a Whole Foods Since that location sucked for them!!!

L_Streets
L_Streets

I miss all the trees they mowed down and promised the city they would replant. It was also awesome when they said, "Oh yeah, by the way we don't have the money to replant those trees" Looks like a bunker is being built on that corner.

G_David
G_David

I don't live near the Skillman/Walnut Hill intersection, but I would rather take a roll of the dice with the big box store than the crack-selling apartments that were along that strip before. That used to be one of the saddest shopping centers north of N.W. Highway, after the Whole Foods store went out. I was amazed at the occupancy when I drove by there a couple of weeks ago.

Dallas_Joe_Schmo
Dallas_Joe_Schmo

Yeah it seems more and more like the planned "urban" development will result in a strip mall or big box developments like they have at the corners of abrams/skillman, audelia/skillman, NWHWY/Skillman, Skillman/Mockingbird. Sigh...

blue pencil
blue pencil

You're also forgetting a major factor here: We'd been promised something rather different. If you'd been told the West Village was coming to your neighborhood, but no, wait, it's actually going to be Megalomart, and isn't that great??! you might be sounding a teensy bitter, too.

tired
tired

I don't think that's what people are saying. Have you been to Oak Cliff? We don't have any of what you think we want and sure don't want more crap stores like Walmart. The demographic being catered to is not the middle class who are trying to make the area better.

G_David
G_David

Yes, Nunya, brown = bad. That's why I live in the middle of E. Dallas. I'm scared of brown people.

Linda
Linda

Nice try Nunya...but most of the pictures you see on PeopleOfWalMart.com are white.

Sounds like you're a paid consultant.

Nunya
Nunya

Translation: lots of brown people = bad crowds.

G_David
G_David

Probably because it's actually closer to the public housing across 75 than it is to The West Village.

XianC
XianC

Guest brought up the not being poor. I took it as an opening to challenge Guest to find an alternative. There absolutely IS something wrong with tightening up your budget here. There are local farmers, producers and grocers from farmers market, coops, Urban Acres. There are people making and selling clothes, from High fashion to elementary kids school uniforms. There are crafts people, artists, and producers of everything that can sell you what walmart will. But you know what? They will sell it at a level that will allow them to keep a roof over their heads and maybe even afford college for thier kids. Nunya, when you say "there is nothing wrong with...having extra money in your pocket." By spending it at WalMart or other big box stores, you are doing it at the expense of your neighbors. It isn't a statement of elitism, it works at every socio-economic level.

Nunya
Nunya

Thank you XianC. Which "local retailer" would you suggest I spend my hard-earned money?

I buy groceries at Wally world because it's cheap, and convenient. I'm not saying that I agree with this location, I don't. But to suggest that someone who shops there is a low life or someone that's "poor" is pretty ridiculous. Get over yourselves.

G_David
G_David

Actually, when it comes to store brands, you can find a lot of HEB/Central Market brand items at Central Market, and they're as good as any brand out there. Their cereal is $2 a box and I literally can't tell a difference. Don't care much for the huge Kroger on Mockingbird. I go to Michoacana regularly, and live right across from the Super Mercado Mexico at Beacon and Columbia/Abrams. I won't buy tortillas or avocados anywhere else, and if I ever move, I'll miss it!

scottindallas
scottindallas

Kroger and Michoacana are both regularly cheaper than Walmart. Walmart doesn't offer sales so you can usually find sodas and other products on sale. If you're not brand conscious, the house brands at Kroger are unbeatable--actually Save a Lot and some of those are even cheaper, but aren't full service grocers. Kroger does have different level stores, so the Mockingbird Kroger is more expensive than other Krogers.

G_David
G_David

I'm not an elitist. I do a huge amount of shopping at Target. Prices are more than competitive, and I don't feel like I need an shower immediately afterward, like I do when I leave any of the Wal-Marts within driving distance of my E. Dallas 'hood. They are disgusting.

Nunya
Nunya

Far from the truth. There's nothing wrong with tightening your budget and having extra money in your pocket. So I choose not to pay double on my grocery bill, so what? That extra money goes to support the "local bars" anyway. Stop being such an elitist.

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