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UE Location DB > Big Town Mall > End is near for remnants of the area's first mall (Viewed 2132 times)
the ruralexploration kids 


Location: Wind Gap, PA
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this mess we're in

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End is near for remnants of the area's first mall
< on 2/13/2005 1:43 AM >
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11:40 AM CST on Wednesday, November 17, 2004


By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News


The jumble of mostly vacant buildings along U.S. Highway 80 doesn't look like a landmark. But 45 years ago, people came from all over the state just to see Big Town.

The shopping center on the western edge of Mesquite was the first enclosed retail center in this part of the country.

When it opened in 1959 – six years before NorthPark – the idea of an air-conditioned shopping center was unheard of in Texas.

It didn't take long for folks in the Dallas area to warm up to the idea, especially in August.

With department stores Sanger-Harris, J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward, the project was an instant hit. Shoppers even got to learn a new term: mall.


FILE/Staff photo
When Big Town opened in 1959, the idea of an air-conditioned shopping center was unheard of in Texas. The country's first enclosed shopping mall was built in Edina, Minn., in 1956. Today there are more than 1,100 malls.

But the number of enclosed shopping centers these days is falling, not growing. A retail center in the works for Cedar Hill, for instance, will have almost everything a big mall offers, but it will be all in the open.

A similar village-style shopping complex is under construction in Garland.

And with changes in the retail industry, more old malls are being knocked down or redeveloped.

Big Town has outlived two newer Dallas neighbors – Prestonwood Town Center and North Town. But its days are probably numbered.

Real Estate broker Staubach Co. has a contract on the shopping center with a buyer that wants to redevelop the site.

The city of Mesquite has been pushing to see the land reused for industrial development.

But anyone who grew up in North Texas in the 1960s probably remembers when the little shopping center was the closet thing we had to the Galleria.



34253.jpg (41 kb, 640x419)
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image caption "When Big Town opened in 1959, the idea of an air-conditioned shopping center was unheard of in Texas."




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metal fingers clutching dirty sheets

http://www.ruralexploration.com
the ruralexploration kids 


Location: Wind Gap, PA
Gender: Both
Total Likes: 1 like


this mess we're in

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Re: End is near for remnants of the area's first mall
< Reply # 1 on 2/13/2005 1:44 AM >
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Plans for Big Town shifting
Instead of apartments, retail, developer thinking industrial


07:11 PM CST on Wednesday, December 15, 2004

By KARIN SHAW ANDERSON / The Dallas Morning News


An investor has scrapped plans to turn Big Town into a little village and instead will pursue an industrial warehouse development.

Spencer Alpert had proposed bulldozing Big Town Mall and the Big Town Exhibit Hall to make room for an urban-style development of apartments and shops similar to Dallas' Mockingbird Station.

"Big Town has a brand name, and it can be a source of pride for Mesquite again," said Mr. Alpert, principal of Alpert Capital, explaining his reasoning. "I felt this type of project could succeed, given some of the problems in that area."

But at least one Mesquite City Council member objected to putting apartments and a retail sector on the site of the state's first enclosed shopping mall.

So at a public hearing Monday, Mr. Alpert will pitch his idea for The Parks at Big Town, with five industrial warehouse spaces dominating the site.

Council member David Paschall, who spoke against the plans for apartments, said Tuesday that he had not seen the latest proposal but had heard about the shift in focus.

"All I can say is that it sounds like a positive improvement over multifamily," Mr. Paschall said.

In the new plan, about 60,000 square feet would be dedicated to retail use, and comparable space would be set aside for offices. The shops wouldn't compete with those in the Town East Mall area but more likely would cater to the surrounding industrial businesses, Mr. Alpert said.

Some features from the original renderings would remain to enhance the site's visual appeal.

"We had the architect work on reorienting the front of the park to retain the lake and fountain and some of the higher amenities," Mr. Alpert said.

Monday's hearing will deal with creation of a tax-increment finance – or TIF – zone along U.S. Highway 80 in the Big Town area. The zone's boundaries aren't set, but a preliminary proposal calls for the zone to stretch along Highway 80 from its split with Interstate 30 to LBJ Freeway. Some boundaries would bulge to fill in spaces north and south of the highway not already zoned for homes.

"It's designed to help develop an area that's typically difficult to develop," said Tom Palmer, the city's economic development director.

In a TIF zone, tax revenue generated from new improvements is spent to improve infrastructure in the zone that normally would be paid for by developers. Tax revenue from the original value of the area still goes into the city's general fund.

The TIF setup "provides the city with a potentially better quality of development," Mr. Palmer said.

He said the state Department of Transportation's plan to widen and improve Highway 80 would enhance the incentive for developers.

The benefit to Mesquite comes with time, as more attractive developments appeal to other developers. And eventually the TIF would expire, sending higher tax revenue to the city.

"The area is a gateway to our city from the downtown Dallas area," said Deputy City Manager Carol Zolnerowich. "Any improvement there is an improvement to all of Mesquite."






the roaring city sleeps
metal fingers clutching dirty sheets

http://www.ruralexploration.com
the ruralexploration kids 


Location: Wind Gap, PA
Gender: Both
Total Likes: 1 like


this mess we're in

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Re: End is near for remnants of the area's first mall
< Reply # 2 on 2/13/2005 1:46 AM >
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No rush on Big Town plans

Investor wants to give city time to review his proposal for site


05:44 PM CST on Wednesday, December 22, 2004


By KARIN SHAW ANDERSON / The Dallas Morning News


Pulling discussion of the Big Town development from this week's City Council meeting wasn't a sign of retreat for the investor who hopes to reinvent the landmark site.

Rather, Spencer Alpert says, it was an affirmation of his commitment to the project and to the city.

"Since I had only recently submitted a revised plan, I wanted to give the staff and council time to review it and to ultimately come up with a plan to give the city the front door it deserves," Mr. Alpert said Tuesday. "I really want this to be something that's mutually agreeable for both the city and me."

Mr. Spencer's plan calls for demolishing the derelict building – which opened in 1959 as the state's first air-conditioned mall – to make way for an upscale business park. Neighboring buildings would be torn down, as well.

A handful of bowlers from a youth league and a woman representing a senior league showed up at Monday's meeting prepared to protest the razing of the Big Town bowling alley, where they play every week.

Kevin Carbo, whose son Kevin Jr. is part of the youth league, said the business – Mesquite's only bowling alley – gives residents a place to gather and have fun in a positive way.

"They not only learn some skills and learn how to deal with others, but the kids can earn scholarships through the league to help pay for college," said Mr. Carbo, a Mesquite school board member.

The group may not have the fight it expected.

"I think it would be really nice to figure out a way to retain the bowling alley and use it to enhance the retro look of the Big Town site," Mr. Alpert said Tuesday.

During an interview last week, Mr. Alpert remembered taking his son to bowl at the lanes before deciding to undertake the project.

"And the last couple of weeks, I've had several people contact me to say they might be interested in trying to preserve the bowling alley," he said. "Now that I see there is some community interest in that, it's a definite possibility."

Mr. Carbo said he was thrilled with Mr. Alpert's response.

"I applaud him for even considering it," he said. "I know he has interests in the project that he has to consider, and it might not be possible, but I think it's a great thing that he would consider it."

A new public hearing will be set after the first of the year, Mr. Alpert said.

On another matter, the council completed a public hearing that had been opened two weeks earlier. After the hearing, the council approved rezoning the site of a demolished gas station at the northwest corner of Town East Boulevard and LBJ Freeway.

The developer had requested planned development/commercial zoning, but the council approved a planned development/general retail designation with numerous restrictions on the type of business allowed. The structure must be built of masonry that may not include concrete or concrete masonry block, and the exterior may be no more than 30 percent stucco.

Council member Dennis Tarpley dissented on the vote for approval.

Also, the council unanimously approved changing zoning from commercial to industrial on 58 acres at 4790 and 4800 Samuell Blvd.




the roaring city sleeps
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Re: End is near for remnants of the area's first mall
< Reply # 3 on 12/30/2005 9:04 PM >
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Im surprised it hasnt been turned into another Mexican bazaar or flea mkt

no sign of any activity with regard to the vacant portion




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Re: End is near for remnants of the area's first mall
< Reply # 4 on 4/30/2006 9:04 PM >
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read the update

demolition on the interior is underway now

suspect it will be totally demolished soon but only tear out and salvage appears to be going on now




UE Location DB > Big Town Mall > End is near for remnants of the area's first mall (Viewed 2132 times)


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