By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Victory smells: It is wrong to kick a man when he's down or rub salt in another's wounds. Very un-Christian.
But what the heck? It's fun, and Buzz has never been baptized. So we can't help but resurrect (heh) this quote from Ross Perot Jr., given to USA Today back in 2007, talking about his Victory Park development around the American Airlines Center: "You can move into a beautiful downtown home, walk to the arts, walk to a basketball game, walk to restaurants," Perot told the paper. "There is something unique in the downtown fabric that you couldn't get in the suburbs."
Yeah, there's now a Hard Rock Café and a lot of empty retail space in Victory, once the home of pricey shops and restaurants before all those businesses decamped for want of customers. You know, you just don't see that many chain restaurants and empty storefronts in the 'burbs—unless you happen to open your eyes and don't count T.G.I. Fridays, which is nothing like a Hard Rock Café, inasmuch as Fridays doesn't have autographed guitars on the walls.
On the other hand, suburban Grand Prairie has Der Wienerschnitzel—possibly the best fast-food chain ever—which is something Dallas lacks. Maybe Victory Park's new owners can fix that, seeing as they're German.
This week, Hillwood Development Co. handed Victory over to US Treuhand, the German investors who, back in March, warned that Perot's company was in danger of defaulting on a $185 million loan. "As of today, July 6, Hillwood has transitioned the ownership of the buildings at Victory Park to our partner, UST XVI Corporation," Perot wrote in an e-mail to Hillwood employees obtained by Unfair Park. (One difference between being a rich guy whose company owes 185 million simoleons and a working mensch who can't make his home mortgage: The bank forecloses on the latter. The rich guy transitions ownership.)
Perot's e-mail describes Victory as a "premier destination" for Dallas, which is laughable, or course. Pretentious, sterile and uninviting for regular folk, except basketball fans, Victory attempted to define itself by exclusion. No Gaps, no Old Navys and none of the sort of people who shop at Old Navy, were needed there. C'mon, it's hard not to smile just a bit at seeing the ostentatious deflated.
Still, Hillwood did turn a once empty, polluted field into a shiny new development, so here's hoping the new German owners can make the joint more welcoming to the rest of us. How could they do that? Five words: beer, beer and more beer. And maybe a footwear store—Das Boots, anyone? Oh, and a Der Wienerschnitzel. That's German food, right?