Fancy Retail in South Dallas: We Built It, and They Didn't Come

Categories: Schutze

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You guys are killing me. I'm a four-hyphen guy, a commie-pinko hippie-liberal nanny-state bleeding-heart libtard. I thought Dallas was supposed to be ultra-conservative. You're supposed to have at least one hyphen. But you keep putting me on the wrong side of the hyphen.

Today The Dallas Morning News has a serious editorial -- as opposed to a joke -- in which it bemoans the fact that the erection of a city-subsidized shopping center to house rich and fancy shops in a district of bleak soul-biting poverty two years ago in South Dallas has failed to cause that area to become rich and fancy. In fact it has just failed -- failed, failed, failed.

What the ...? No. You guys know better than this. You have to know better than this. But you keep doing it. Not just in poor South Dallas. You did it a few years ago in downtown with a government-owned fancy furniture store and a fancy grocery store. The fancy furniture store and the fancy grocery store, subsidized at fancy government cost, also failed to cause fancy people to emerge from nearby sidewalks like potted palms.

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Fancy people don't come from groceries. It goes the other direction. Fancy groceries flock to fancy people. You have to have the fancy people first. Then you can sell them fancy stuff. Why am I ... why are we talking about this? Come on. Conservatives, this is your territory, not mine. I don't want to talk about this. I'm going to get in a lot of trouble with my libtard friends.

How can City Hall in Dallas -- of all the cities in the world -- not understand where money comes from? The Bexar Street project in South Dallas is an utter, abject, shivering and shuddering failure. The original plan for it was inspired by a phenomenon that anthropologists call the "cargo cult" -- the belief that erecting the outward shapes and forms associated with wealth will cause real wealth, or cargo, to arrive as if from a mysterious gift-bearing ship.

Somehow installing fancy shops in a neighborhood where people can barely afford to live indoors and eat regularly is supposed to turn those people into rich Burberry-umbrella twirling shopaholics. I know if I was that poor and had to look across the street at something that fancy every day, it might turn me into some-kind-of-aholic. Shop, I don't think so.

To shop, you have to have money. You can't shop without money. People sell things for money. You bring the money into the shop. You give the shop the money. They give you the umbrella. They don't give you the umbrella, and then money falls out of it, and then you give them back some of the money. If it started working like that, the shop people would shutter their shop immediately, take all their umbrellas home and shake the hell out of them.

You get this. Really. Right? I don't know what the ... what's going on here?

Last month Dallas Morning News editorial writer Tod Robberson, who is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time including Charles Dickens, had a very moving piece in the paper about a poor girl from a Dickensian background, born in public housing and subjected to all kinds of slings and arrows, who did good in life anyway. A terrific read. If I had one objection, it might have been that Robberson's piece didn't say how she did it. It just said she did, and that was heartwarming enough.

At the top of the piece, however, was an illustration that I believe the News may have sort of borrowed a bit -- note that I am not using the term, plagiarized -- from a friend of mine, Robert V. Pitre, a businessman who has lived and worked in southern Dallas most of his life. The illustration in the paper over Robberson's piece, under their Pulitzer Prize-winning rubric, "Bridging the Gap," was a map on a chalk board called "From Cradle to Success," showing different paths kids can take in life.


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92 comments
tedbarker45
tedbarker45

Okay, I am going to go and meet Pitre. You have mentioned him enough for me to go and do this. I may have already done so in my former life working in South Dallas, but age does take it's toll.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo as long as Sandra Fluke be get’in her free birf controls pills what diff’ do it make?

grace_johnson
grace_johnson

I know this is just a blog, but isn’t supposed to be journalism as well? When you accused the DMN illustration as being “a whole lot -- I want to say a WHOLE lot, like really a whole lot, as in really a huge whole lot -- like a teaching tool Pitre invented some years ago”, did you look at how dissimilar the images were before making that accusation? Because the images in this post look nothing alike. Did you take the time to contact anyone at the DMN for comment? If you contacted them and they had no comment, you should say so. Otherwise, this is a poor piece of journalism.

EateryDozen12
EateryDozen12

FYI when I lived downtown around 2005-07, we walked to that grocery store every day. Not sure what was up everyone else's asses that insisted on taking their cars out of the parking garages and over to walmart or target, or wherever.

clynn686
clynn686

When did DALLAS become "ultra conservative"????? Dallas has been trying so hard to be NY the last 30 yrs it's not even funny. Next to Austin, Dallas is one of the MOST Liberal cities in Texas. Don't try to spin this like it's Conservatives doing. 

milesofsmiles
milesofsmiles

Jim,

Did you know the city can tax property owners for public road construction?  Just learned this the hard way.  I own a small shitty piece of property by bachman lake/love field and just got hit up with a road tax bill in excess of 5 years of my income on the property.  My building provides about a dozen jobs to hard working guys who work in a body shop repairing cars.  I tried to get ahead in the money game by getting out of the stock market and sunk my life savings into a piece of commercial property.  The taxes are killing me.  I feel like you libtards should be sympathetic to a guy like me who pays a shit load more than my fair share to the government. 

Screw these subsidies to the rich for providing jobs.  I want some subsidies so I can break even.  The city makes the rich richer through their crazy tax breaks and little single property owners like me get screwed. I want to put my fist in the face of every fat-cat who gets a tax break for developing another useless property.  When is the city going to learn that the big land developers will still develop here without the subsidies.    

Sully
Sully

I'm not sure what the answer is, but a grocery store down there would have been a good start. I drive through there pretty often, and honestly, it kind of creeps me out. It has the affect of a fake neighborhood set built for a theme park or something.

joeinbost
joeinbost

Only two markets in Oak Cliff  Drugs and Butts

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

At least the housing developers still got rich and the kick backs still happened at city hall from the developers...Obviously this was a way to get around end of year bonuses in 2010

casiepierce
casiepierce

People in Ideal Neighborhood need jobs. Good-paying jobs. You can subsidize a barber shop on Bexar Street for the next 100 years, and you're only paying for two people, tops. The townhouses are subsidized. Sure, they're nice. But they are below market-rate. You could BUY a house on Stark for $15,000. 

What's a Starbuck's gonna accomplish? Who will patronize it? Leo Chaney told me YEARS ago that's what he envisioned: an Uptown. 

When I ran for city council two years ago, this is what I had in mind when I said that we needed jobs. People to work. People to buy houses. People to live. People to shop. It's following the fundamental rules that any developer will tell you, and THIS is why there is no grocery store in Ideal which, incidentally, happens to be the thing the neighborhood needs most. I said that our south Dallas leaders need to be working twice as hard to get the kinds of jobs and development that we needed in south Dallas. Instead, we don't even settle mediocrity, no, mediocrity is what we're looking to get up to! 

I guess it's just easier to have a "story" ala Tod Robberson, to sell so you can get whatever CDBG funds to build an albatross such as this, so that it looks like you're doing *something important* for "the community" to your constituents, and then leave office in time to kick it to the next idiot who won't do a damn thing.

And the DMN is a willing partner. They don't want any "Drops In The Bucket", they only want to make it look like they care.

Todd Deatherage
Todd Deatherage

Silly people. Don't you know that people with money do not go South of the Trinity River to spend it, unless they are going all the way to Austin or Houston?

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

I have to assume you were referring to Urban Market, but I am not sure based upon your describing it as "fancy."

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Summer Adventures at Fair Park is the new Bexar with corporate sponsors.

ryan762
ryan762

@EateryDozen12 You can't get pictures for the People of Walmart blog at the fancy downtown grocery store.


I'm not a downtown shopper, so I never shopped there. Was it price competitive?

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

So u blew ur life savings wad into something you don't have any idea about and are bitching now. Smh.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@milesofsmiles 

Another example of the city not knowing where money comes from.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Sully 

Sully, what about just kind of a Hollywood set false-front grocery store.?

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@joeinbost ...says someone who's entire opinion of Oak Cliff comes from Channel 11 news Facebook page comments...

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@casiepierce 

And the single biggest best promise of jobs for people, not just in this city but maybe in any city in the country at the time, the Allen Company Logistics Center project, was opposed and hobbled by John Wiley Price and Royce West because they wouldn't play ball with the inside guys. All of that energy and money now has gone straight to Alliance Airport. These guys diddle around with ice cream shops, when, as you so truthfully state, Casie, what Southern Dallas needs is tens of thousands of well-paid jobs with benefits, out from under the thumbs of tin-horn politicians and the Citizens Council.

mrarmyant
mrarmyant

@Todd Deatherage I go to the Belmont. I do however pretend the rest isn't there.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus 

Got to disagree with you on that one, Sharon. The guy behind Summer Adventures is Errol McKoy, president and impresario of the State Fair of Texas -- the one thing that does get done right around here. I expect it will be a big success.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@casiepierce 

Don't forget the Morning News editorial page tore into Richard Allen, as well, accusing him of being a racist when he wouldn't give partial ownership of his privately held family-controlled company to Price's friends in the so-called "Salt Group." And Michael Morris of the North Central Texas Council of Governments joined the editorial page spouting the same line. So how badly does anybody around here really want to create economic opportunity in Southern Dallas? Golf, anyone?

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Dallas proper house. 75204.

Looking at downtown of my front porch.

Took the red train to the green n back.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Check it out when yor having a meal at the mill.

Was there Saturday. Was a absolute ghosts town.

It was as if we reserved the park for ourselves.

SF is much different than running a amusement park.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@JimSX Yes, my neighborhood is all over it. I believe it will be successful as well.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@JimSX @casiepierce Speaking of which, looks like we made it through today's inauguration without the FBI raiding anyone!  Yay for Dallas?  Any news on the JWP legal case?

observist
observist topcommenter

@casiepierce @JimSX  All this time I thought Ralph Lauren was a clothing designer - turns out he just cooks Mexican-style roast chicken!

casiepierce
casiepierce

@JimSX @casiepierce Bridges. And the Audobon, And the pollo-set at the Horse Park. And yes, golf. I've seen where this is headed for many years because I did get to have an office in a certain area of the Design District.....

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

No. City place. Remodeled a 1954 house . I'm close to the projects.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Sharon_Moreanus Gee Uptown, and I too can see DTD from my front porch. AND I am withing walking distance from FP. So, I guess turf sensitive.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

No soccer over the weekend. Lots of construction cranes and the field looked like crap from the AWESOME VIEW on the Top of Texas Tower.

Need some music or commentary piped in it though.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

i know. Was just suggesting if you ate lunch at the inn, you could see how empty SAFP is.

Give ol Errol a call and ask how many paid admissions they are having every day.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus 

Sharon, I hate to tell you, but the Old Mill Restaurant burned down 20 years ago. The place you were in was the ... (scary organ music) ... Old Ghost Mill! 

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Sotiredofitall Interesting that you would say that because traffic getting into and out of my neighborhood always seems to be clogged up on the summer weekends due to soccer games.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@Sharon_Moreanus Because they're doing an a real shitty job of marketing Summer Adventures.   Just like the Cotton Bowl sitting empty while in range of the biggest soccer market in North Texas.

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