City Looking to Kick In $2 Million Toward Development Around Walmart on Ledbetter

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Word of warning: This won't be the sole Unfair Park item of the day to feature the word "Walmart." Patience, patience. But, to begin: Remember that Walmart going in at Ledbetter and R.L. Thornton? Right, that one. Gave us the phrase "Trees do not vote" during the contentious discussion about how the Big Box will decimate a small forest near Five Mile Creek.

Well, turns out that's not the only thing planned for that location: According to Item No. 32 on next week's council agenda, former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas advisory council member and Corinth Properties partner Frank Mihalopoulos has big plans for that development that will include not merely the 182,000-square foot Walmart Supercenter but an additional "45,000 square feet of additional stores and restaurants offering general merchandise and other retail related services," per the agenda. And the city's offering to help pay for the development to tune of $2 million out of the city's Public/Private Partnership Program, which will come out of that seemingly endless supply of 2006 bond funds. Per the agenda:
The economic development grant is designed to offset certain development costs including property demolition, public infrastructure, environmental remediation, and other related improvements for the development of this shopping center. The City grant will be payable upon obtaining a certificate of occupancy for the Wal-Mart Supercenter and the expenditure of at least $15,000,000 on the project (demolition, site work, vertical improvements, infrastructure, and other related project costs) by December 31, 2013.
Says the agenda, the council's Economic Development Committee is due to be briefed on the item Monday, after which council will be asked to vote on the grant. Trees, however, will have no say in the matter.
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Buhl Dozher
Buhl Dozher

Irony: Directly north of that site, across Ledbetter, in Village Fair, is a bigass former Sam's Club and a huge bunch of unused property that doesn't have trees on it. What's the matter with these morons? Why don't they repurpose already-cleared property?

Lora-x
Lora-x

Does the grant include tree mitigation?  That's even better than PD's.  

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

 Yikes!, jim where are you, forget the trees for a moment. Get the corps of engineers to see if this development is going to cause flooding problems. In the 90's many of the homes that backed up to the creeks lost half of their back yards. I understand Darren Reagan, BSEAT raised so much hell, the city went ahead and quietly bought his folk's property but the others simply lost their property. Why can't the city give them an incentive to renovate not only Village Fair but the old a K mart and the old Gibson building, no traffic problems, no trees demolished, no flooding problems.  

RTGolden
RTGolden

"General merchandise and other retail related stores...."  around Dallas WalMarts usually means nail salons, Family dollar, laundromats, and Subways.  Maybe a City Trends store will go in.  Wal Mart has the money to encourage these types of satellite businesses to come in without needing city tax money to help it along.  At the (outrageous) stated sum of $26k/mile to create and stripe bike lanes, we could get almost 77 miles of bike lanes for this $2mil.  I don't ride bike around Dallas, but there seems to be a lot of interest in it, why not use it for that?

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

The stores around the Walmart serve the communities around the Walmart. These stores will come where there is a market.  Anon, This is not a disadvantaged piece of property right off 35 close to downtown and a higher socio economic neighborhood than south Dallas.  i'd rather see townhomes to attract a market to keep the doors open after they take the city's money and run. 

Anon
Anon

Haven't they heard? Walmart is a category killer. Other businesses that might sell something similar to what Walmart sells usually can't compete, so they stay the hell away from Walmarts. The only store I can think of that can compete with Walmart is Aldi. And Aldi can only do it because they have a very different business model and are an all cash business. Look around the Metroplex. Walmarts generally don't attract other development or redevelopment. To expect a Walmart to drive redevelopment of a very challenged piece of property is highly unrealistic. But hey, it's Dallas taxpayer money, not real money, so give it away!  Wait. Some of that is my money! I don't want my tax money going to a Walmart development, no matter where it is! 

BDY
BDY

"Walmart doesn't attract other development or redevelopment?"  And what sector of Dallas (or the world) do you live in where you've noticed this to be the case?  While I am not a particularly big fan of what Walmart has done to US retailing, it is none the less here and going to remain.  Back to the point though, Walmart is a huge economic generator.  This site will spring up many ancillary restaurants, businesses, etc. to an area that desperately needs it.  Now I am a north Dallasite myself, but we take our "relative retail adjacency" for granted.  I am also a real estate developer, familiar with this site and this transaction.  There are little if any other places for Walmart to go in this sector, and the economic benefit to the area in the form of jobs, sales tax revenue and let us not forget, property tax revenue will be incredible.  It is also worth noting that a few others have referenced Walmart as who is coming in and killing all these trees, bla bla.  This tract is being developed by a developer into many things, including the Walmart.  This tract is also extraordinarily difficult to utilize.  The terrain is terrible, it is covered in trees, etc.  So what is the owner of this property to do?  Is it fair for the the rest of the world to tell him that his property is truly worthless because it is covered in trees?  So what would those opposed to this development propose?  Should the city spend money to buy the property and turn it into a park?  (which by the way they currently don't have the funds to adequately maintain the existing park system)  What is being done makes sense.  There is no "give away" involved here.  The economics have been analyzed on this deal and the economic benefit to the city and community is there.  I have seen comments on here complaining about the use of 2million dollars.  Did you know that just the sales (not including job creation or property tax revenue) but just the sales in a typical Walmart is around 100 million dollars a year?  Do a quick figure on what the sales tax revenue on that will be.  Now yes, there will/are likely other incentives due to the part of town.  Bottom line though is this is a good thing....and it makes sense.  And if you have problem with the city using funds for this, perhaps you need to revisit economics.  And if you have a problem with the loss of trees on this site, then I would ask you if your position would be the same if this was your property.  Now I don't want to come across as the greedy real estate developer, but economics certainly need to be weighed.  As I read back through several of the comments here I can't help but note the number of comments based on assumptions and a general lack of information.  I truly would like to know (as a tree lover myself) but also as a developer, what is the alternative if you have a piece of property covered in trees?  Now I'm not talking about what many may think of as us "rich greedy" developers, but your average property owner.  Suppose your average property owner has a piece of property covered in trees?  Does that mean that his property has no economic value?  Does it mean that he should never be allowed to do anything with it?  Does it mean that the city should buy it and turn it into park land?  Does it mean that he should be excused from paying property taxes on it if there is nothing that can be done with it?  I'm not asking these questions rhetorically.  I truly would like to know IF a property covered with trees trumps economic gain, what the alternative is.  There must be an alternative, otherwise why complain?  Don't complain for the sake of complaining unless you have some notion of "what else" should be done if the intended course is not the correct one. 

Anon
Anon

Look at sites in the Dallas area. I use one town in particular to illustrate the point. Look at the Wal Mart at 190 and N. Garland Avenue. Then look directly across the street. Despite the Sam's Club and Wal Mart next door to one another, all the significant development is across the street - near the Target.  The development adjacent to the Wal Mart side of the street is there, not because of the Wal Mart, but because of the toll road. Near the Target is a gym, loads of good restaurants, other retail, and it is vibrant. Next to the Wal Mart is a Sonic.  Better yet, look at what was the proto-type for what eventually became the Super Wal Mart - the very first Hypermart USA was built in Garland on the site of the former Apollo Drive-In Theatre. It opened with great fanfare in the late 1980s. Lots of hopes were pinned on that project. Despite all the promises, the only things that developed were a McDonalds, and a couple of gas stations (one of which closed years ago and is now a Turimex International bus station.) Now the building sits vacant, one of the largest empty big-boxes in the country at about a quarter million square feet of retail space, rotting in place because it costs too much to re-purpose the building and it also costs too much to tear it down. What kinds of guarantees are being built into the deal with Wal Mart in this Dallas instance? It is common knowledge that Wal Mart loves to build a shiny new store with great fanfare, only to close it ten or twenty years later, leaving a gaping hole in the economic landscape that is usually impossible to fill with other retail. When Wal Mart leaves a location, if they sell the property, they encumber it with covenants that make it that much more difficult to redevelop. What is the Dallas Council considering to help offset these well-known tactics of Wal Mart? Are they requiring that in ten or twenty years, when Wal Mart leaves the location, that no such covenants be put in place? Are they considering that if the site sits vacant for more than a year or two that the building be demolished by Wal Mart and the site prepped for redevelopment?  To further illustrate the point that Wal Mart does not drive development, look again at the original Super Wal Mart in Garland. When that store closed in 2008, twenty-one years after it opened, another Wal Mart opened a couple of miles away, again with great fanfare and high hopes.  The only redevelopment that's happened near this Wal Mart, which opened in 2008, is an Aldi, which likes to be near Wal Mart but is a very small footprint and limited economic benefit. Other redevelopment that's happened here is because of proximity to 635, not proximity to Wal Mart.  So no, Wal Mart is not a business to pin hopes on for quality, long term economic development and/or redevelopment. Studies also suggest that the overall costs imposed on a community by a Wal Mart coming in can be more than the economic benefits - look at the other stores that close because of Wal Mart, look at the lower wages paid by Wal Mart, look at the crime that Wal Marts attract, these costs and more are well documented and need to be carefully evaluated BEFORE getting into bed with Wal Mart.  

CEL
CEL

Hello? Walmart doesn't drive economic redevelopment? I think you need to look closer at the cost of going in around a Walmart after they open verses before as well as the size of the companies that do. Granted direct competitors might not come in but virtually all non-direct competitors as well as service and restaurants will pop up as close as possible to benefit from the traffic driven by a Walmart. It's location, location, location and traffic is what makes location. Big chain retailers and resturants follow the Lowes, Home Depots, Targets and Walmarts. Even vying for inside info to get a leg up on lease and real-estate before they are announced.

phosho-n-dimsum
phosho-n-dimsum

Why not just turn every school in the, disd, into a "half walmart, half school" place. Let's make it, "actual one stop shopping!"....for christ sakes

Paul
Paul

Hmmm ... we can give $2M to a developer but we can't keep pools open ... go figure ...  After all the service on the principal will be $100k per year.  I would like to know for how long Wally World has to be at this location or forfeit the subsidy, if at all?

After all we (the taxpayers) will be on the hook for the debt service on the 20 year bonds for ... oh ... twenty years ....

LaceyB
LaceyB

why not just beef up the walmart grocery on 75/approx Hall, and make it into a full walmart?

Mean Green
Mean Green

Um, how? Unless they build two more floors ontop and make the entire parking lot into a parking garage.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

because the southern half of Dallas needs some love

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

I'm always amazed how The City of Dallas has the capability to throw out $2 million here(not that there's anything wrong with this particular piece) and $3 million there along with TIFS for even double digit millions on projects all over the city and yet..........

Well you know where I'm going with this.

Guest
Guest

This seems like one of those things that was going to get built whether the city kicked in any money or not, making the city's money just a nice bonus to the developer.

Doesn't seem like an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

LDR4
LDR4

LEPPERT!!!!!!!!!! *shakes fist in air*

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