4

The New Valley View Will Be Like Uptown, With a Gondola

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

The last time I set foot in Valley View Center three or four years ago, it was eerily reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic zombie flick, and not the old-school kind with the undead lurching forward with laughable slowness. The zombies that come to mind are the type that are puma-quick and would have no trouble overtaking their prey across the depopulated expanse of brown tile.

For at least the past year, a plan has been taking shape to transform the mall and its surroundings from dreary movie set into the thriving center of commerce it was 20 years ago. Commercial real estate developer Scott Beck purchased Valley View last year, envisioning the construction "centralized urban village."

The big reveal came today when Beck and city planners presented their grand vision for the Valley View area And "grand" might actually be an understatement. This is a $10 billion-plus development on 450 acres bounded by Preston Road, LBJ, the Tollway, and Alpha Road. We're talking 1,000 hotel rooms, 5,000 upscale apartments and condos, 4 million square feet of office space, plus generous amounts of space dedicated to entertainment and retail. Pretty much all that will remain is Sears, JC Penney, and the AMC theater, and those will all have new digs. There will be European-style "bullet trolleys," 20 acres of green space, and connection, via bike trails, to White Rock Lake.

The whole thing has been dubbed Dallas Midtown.

Beck says it is "a bit premature" to speculate on the details of the public-private partnership, but that it will be "developer driven." The city will likely kick in some money for infrastructure improvements, and there will probably be a TIF district to help cover some development cost, but the bulk of the funding will be sought out by Beck Ventures, which owns the 100 acres on which Valley View sits, and surrounding property owners.

To understand the full scope of the vision for Dallas Midtownwatch this video. It's a dizzying tour of a densely packed urban utopia, full of pedestrians and sunshine and relentless techno music. You'll also spot what Beck calls the project's "crown jewel": a gondola.

Yup. Riders will be conveyed to the Galleria by the type of suspended cable car typically reserved for amusement parks and scenic mountain towns. It seems like an odd thing to include in an urban setting, just as it seems odd to name an area north of LBJ "Midtown." But maybe that's what the people of the future will want.

Another quibble: The whole concept reeks vaguely of Victory Park, which is its own kind of urban dystopia, albeit one that's more Stepford Wives than 28 Days Later. That would still be quite an improvement, but one wonders if the redevelopment of Valley View wouldn't be better achieved more organically and on a smaller scale.

Beck, who predicts that businesses and people are poised to "rubber band" from the northern cities back to Dallas, prefers to compare it to another development. "It's a large vision," he says, "It's the equivalent to standing on top of the Crescent Hotel (in the 1980s) and not seeing what you see today in West Village and Uptown."

That will take two or three decades, and it might not look exactly like the renderings, but Beck is confident it will happen.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.