Transforming Valley View Center from a dystopian wasteland into Dallas Midtown, a mammoth, 450-acre complex of restaurants and offices and stores and apartments and retail, won't be cheap. More than $10 billion was the figure floated when developer Scott Beck first went public with the idea last year.
Most of that will come from the private sector -- but not quite all. The Dallas City Council is set to chip in $360 million in the form of reimbursements through a newly created TIF district.
In TIF districts, the city captures the future property tax revenue generated by new development in the district and uses it to help offset the costs of that development. In this instance, the development in North Dallas will help fund development around Southwest Center Mall in Red Bird, which, while separated geographically, was included in the district.
TIF funds aren't typically used to build parks. In this case, however, there will be a whopping $70.9 million set aside to buy land for Midtown Commons, a 10- to 20-acre parcel of green space at the heart of Beck's development.
Councilman Lee Kleinman, whose district includes Valley View, describes the park as an "anchor" for the project, much like a train station serves as the anchor for a transit-oriented development.
"[Dallas Midown] is, for lack of a better expression, a park-oriented development," Kleinman says.
The most obvious local antecedent is Klyde Warren Park, but this isn't a knockoff of the deck park. Kleinman says developers decided a large central green space was an absolute must at a charette three years ago, before Klyde Warren opened. They instead had places in mind like New York's Central Park, where real estate prices are sky-high.
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From Kleinman's perspective, the city benefits by getting some much-needed green space in North Dallas.
Few details about the park have been hammered out. Kleinman expects the next step will probably be for Midtown Commons foundation, the new group created to raise private funds for the endeavor, to fund a master plan. After they decide what to include in the park, they will decide how to pay for it, likely through some combination of bond funds and private cash.
It's way too early for a cost estimate, but Kleinman guesses that putting in a basic, no-frills city park of that size would cost $20 million. Putting in a more heavily programmed venue, a la Klyde Warren, could reach $60 million.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.