Last week, when Dillard's announced it was shuttering its Valley View Center location by the end of August, Intern Spencer went over with his camera to shoot the other vacant storefronts in the once-popular mall at the intersection of LBJ Freeway and Preston Road, formerly the site of the best skateboard shop in town. (Like, some time during the late 1970s, if memory serves.) With even the Disney Store gated and gutted, the place has become a sort of retail ghost town, with abandoned stores' bare windows advertising food-court bargains; love to have the cardboard-cutout burger concession there. Turns out, no surprise, that Valley View's but the tip of the melting retail center iceberg: Notes this morning's Wall Street Journal, "Vacancies at retail properties rose to multiyear highs in the second quarter as retailers closed stores and curtailed expansion plans."
It's worse for the strip malls, of course, anchored by Big Boxes and groceries; Northwest Dallas is littered with antiquated strips of barren storefronts. Still, Dallas's Steven Lieberman, chief executive of Retail Connection, just a market correction; not to worry. "We've had unprecedented growth over the last 15 or 20 years," he says. "Clearly, that is slowing down." Clearly.
As for that Valley View slide show, well, Intern Spencer was kicked out of the mall three snapshots in; since then, calls have been made, messages exchanged and interviews scheduled with management and folks from Macerich, the mall's Santa Monica-based owners. All that, forthcoming. --Robert Wilonsky
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