Pop Quiz: Is It a Dallas Shopping Center or a Dallas Neighborhood?

Categories: Lists

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Madison.Marquette
Mockingbird Station -- Shopping center or neighborhood?
Dallas has lots of awesome places to shop, and also some cool neighborhoods that aren't malls. But it's easy to confuse the two. Most recently, in a piece celebrating Dallas' transition toward walkable neighborhoods, the DMN pointed to the West Village as a place "often cited as Dallas' most promising pedestrian neighborhood."

Not quite. Review what is and isn't a neighborhood with our special guide below.

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Joy Kennely/Flickr

West Village
It looks like a village and kind of feels like one. Unlike traditional malls, where people are just aggressively walking from store-to-store on a mission to buy shit, people in the WV tend to stroll the sidewalks in a manner that looks a bit more fun and spontaneous. There's some good independent businesses here that aren't connected to corporate chains. And the streets are narrow enough to prevent douchey Uptown drivers from speeding and running you over, which is also kind of neighborhood-like. But those streets don't belong to you. They're all private property, part of "joint development" venture between an architecture firm and two property companies that opened 2001.

Sure, there is an apartment complex inside the West Village that you can rent from, or more apartments on public streets across the way, not far from the property.

More recently, another developer called City Place Company came in to add another development to complement the current WV development, and it's scheduled to be all done in the fall of 2014. Still, does that make it a neighborhood? Or just an area where a lot of tasteful developers are cooperating together inside of Uptown, the actual neighborhood?

Verdict: Shopping Center.

Mockingbird Station
It's a mixed use development where you can Shop, Eat, Live or Play. It's also next to a train station. Sounds urban! But wait. Go to the Mockingbird Station website and up comes an organized little directory of all the stores, the restaurants and the parking spots. No neighborhood association would be able to pull this off.

Verdict: Shopping Center


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15 comments
ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Trying to work up a local Potemkin village pun.

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

Even by Dallas Observer standards, this is an idiotic article. If you define each location strictly by its retail footprint, then clearly every single place you cite is a shopping center. Since the Observer has a hard on for Oak Cliff, you have for some reason decided that Bishop Arts is a neighborhood despite the presence of a grand total of 3, maybe 4 housing units above Lucia and Dude Sweet. And I'm not even sure those are apartments anymore. Spence may have converted them to office.

Meanwhile, because West Village has a GAP, you have to find a reason to hate it. Is there any denying that the presence of the West Village and its retail has created the demand for the vast quantities of apartments and other mixed use buildings that has filled every single space in every direction? The last holdouts are a school and a church. It's no surprise that these buildings can afford to stay there as they pay no taxes or are publicly funded (or both). I lived across the street from West Village several years ago and if that part of Uptown isn't a neighborhood, then the word has absolutely no meaning at all.

If you take a similarly strict definition of Bishop Arts, it's just a shopping center like the West Village but with worse parking.

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

Joke is none of these places have anything worth walking to and all the people in Dallas are fat asses with diabetes. 

dominicide1
dominicide1

All of these newish planned, well, absurd places remind me of a movie set tour I went on: if you unscrew all of the poles and bolts; undo the ropes and cloth behind the cheesy facades, they would collapse.  

WylieH
WylieH

The Shops at Park Lane has a ginormous, towering, and very ugly parking garage on its North end that towers over the adjacent low income neighborhoods, like a fort... Very world class... I betcha none of this other so-called "world class" cities have allowed the construction of anything like that in the last 10 years!

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

Why can't it be both or more?

That is, after all, the point of some of these areas. Oh by the way, what qualifications do you have in urban planning Ms Silverstein? uh huh... That's what I thought.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Ok. Lower GV crowd. What happened to Zu from Mimi's?

ruddski
ruddski

When mall rats grow to adulthood, they have to find a suitable place to live.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

I would revise the part where you say "another developer called City Place came in." Anyone who's lived here longer than a few years knows that Cityplace is the original developer that planned twin towers along Central Expressway. When the 80s real estate crash left just the one tower on the east, West Village became the new vision for the west side (hence the street named Cityplace West where Grimaldi's is).

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

It's an All-Inclusive.

Like you find in third-world countries where you can go and never leave Dallas, as you know it.

I can envision these walled developments springing up all along the Trinity River flood plain.  Just build them out (raise the building elevations to above the 100 year flood) and voilà!

Elysium..

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

can't disagree with any of your conclusions.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

West Village exists because of "the vast quantities of apartments", not the other way around. If the residential projects nearby were not already built and occupied by prospective customers there would never have been a West Village.

Odd you get the impression the author "hate[s]" West Village, maybe you should re-read what was written, it's pretty positive about the development. Doesn't mention GAP btw....

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

@mavdog which apartments in the area pre-date the WV? this is an honest question. apartments in Dallas are almost universally very poorly built and deteriorate incredibly quickly. the developers are never long term holders of the property and have no incentive to spend the extra money to build a lasting structure. because of this, subsequent owners also have little incentive to keep them up well. the profile of the renters follows this same basic pattern. people like to think that high end rentals are the way to make money, but higher end customers demand clean facilities and an updated building.

all this is to make the point that I don't see too many apartment projects in the immediate vicinity of the WV that are older than the shopping center itself because they would look like shitholes. Bishop Arts exists despite the fact that the neighborhood cannot support even 10% of the restaurants and retail without people crossing the river (that is true even taking into account the broader N Oak Cliff neighborhood). to say that retail always has to follow households is incorrect. sometimes things are just so crappy that the low price makes up for the risk that the development will fail. that was true in Bishop Arts when it was snapped up decades ago, and it was true when a bunch of developers decided they were going to buy up Little Mexico and turn it into Uptown.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Tipster1908

Columbus Realty began developing in State-Thomas what was later rebranded "Uptown") in 1988, and development really took off in the early 90's. West Village was built in 2000-2001.

Your description of owners of apartments is a bit skewed. If an investor puts tens of $Millions into a property why would they not keep it maintained?

retail does always follow rooftops. retail without sufficient demand will certainly fail.

your mistake is not taking into account what a trade area is for the retail. some retail has a close in trade area, other retail has a wider trade area. Bishop has a wider trade area because it is small, typically owner run restaurants that are singular. consumers will drive past the options nearer to them to go to these unique offerings. West Village has a more compact trade area due to its lack of unique vendors.

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