Well, Pat's been busy so your old pal Dante is back. I really haven't had much to write or comment on lately. I know campaign season is supposed to be a big deal but it just looks like a lot of the usual posturing to me. I've turned my attention to something that interests me far more:
Sure zoos are cool and everything, but how about your very own piece of retail history? That's what you can get at the George Allen Courts Building on Feb 7 at 10 am. They're have a good old-fashioned cash money auction on the courthouse steps to auction of the not-quite-dead Valley View Mall in Dallas, TX. The same thing was supposed to happen to Six Flags Mall in Arlington, TX last month but a the last second, the seller pulled out. I find this to be a fascinating phenomenon. In two decades, the enclosed shopping mall went from being one of the hottest pieces of commercial real estate to something that you can't get rid of.
This happens elsewhere, too. In the early 1980's people were just dumping their homes in the Lakewood and M-Streets areas of Dallas to move to new neighborhoods in Mesquite. Nowadays, you can't give away a house in Mesquite while home values in Lakewood and the M-Streets are going for 5x - 10x what they were in the 1980's. On the other hand, someone who bought out in the middle of nowhere in the 1980's and moved to Southlake or Westlake can sell their house for a kings ransom today just to watch the new owner knock it down and build a McMansion there. It'll be interesting to see who the winners and losers are 30 years from now.
I think one important factor in Valley View's decline is that it had competition just blocks away. The Galleria is practically next door. This happened in three places I'm aware of in the Metroplex: here, Six Flags Mall/Forum 303, and North East Mall/North Hills Mall. They each worked symbiotically off of each other for a long time. One was the upscale mall. One was the mall for less affluent shoppers. I guess over time, there just wasn't enough business to go around. Forum and North Hills have both been demolished. Valley View likely will be soon.
Just to throw out some Valley View memories, I bought my first GI Joe toy at the Sears there. (It was Cobra Commander for those of you playing along at home.) I also got lost at that mall once. There used to be an indoor play area there. My mom was watching me and lost track of me. I couldn't find her but headed to the bookstore knowing my dad would likely be there. He was.
So if you have some extra cash and are in the Dallas area on Feb 7, you ought to stop by the courthouse. Do it for the fun. Do it for the excitement. Do it for what is probably the last fully in-tact Sanger-Harris tile mosaic (seen in the main pic of the linked article).