Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maybe I'm wrong...

I've always maintained that once retail is dead, it stays dead. Nothing will ever bring it back to prosperity. Wal-Mart is betting a huge chunk of change that I'm wrong. They're building a Super Center in south Dallas on the grave of the old Target at I-35 and Ledbetter.

For those not familiar with the area, it was once home to the first Target in the Metroplex. It was in a nice shopping area with a Red Lobster, a decent strip mall anchored by Kroger, and a few other things. Then the neighborhood went to crap. If you drive through there these days, most houses have bars on the windows and there's even a service station with a couch sitting out front next to the ice machine. That's not really Target's cup of tea so they left in the late-80's when they opened a new store at Red Bird Mall. Everything else that didn't leave for the new mall went under. Now what do you do with a huge red building in a crappy neighborhood? Salvation Army, naturally. So it was a Salvation Army store for a long time but after a while even the Salvation Army left. I don't know what kind of Biff-Tannen-induced post-apocalyptic environment has to exist before the Salvation Army calls your neighborhood a shithole and packs up shop, but Oak Cliff reached that point.

Fast forward to now. Wal-Mart is building a Super Store at that very same intersection. How will it work out? My prediction would be a disaster, but this is Wal-Mart. They didn't become a retail giant by throwing money away on lost causes. I'll be interested to find out how this goes.

CORRECTIONS:
-It has come to my attention that this may not have been the first Target in the Metroplex. It was still one of the first.
-I used "new mall" yet Red Bird Mall was roughly a decade old at that point. That was poor wording on my part.
-That area may not actually be in Oak Cliff. I always considered everything north of I-20 and south of the Trinity River on I-35E to be Oak Cliff. I think I'm wrong about that after looking at Google Maps.

1 comment:

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

+1 Back to the Future reference. 88mph'd FTW.

Years ago, Wal-Mart dropped a store on the site of the old St. Thomas projects in New Orleans (now River Garden mixed-income community). Despite the fact that the location suffers from all the pathologies you would expect from a Wal-Mart, it appears to be doing a brisk business.

Your theory of "dead retail" will likely experience at least a few exceptions to prove the rule. It happened to the cities when the middle class/white flight moved to the suburbs, it happens to the suburbs when the middle class moves to other suburbs.