By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Dallas developer Scott Beck of Beck Ventures provided an update of his 430-acre “Dallas Midtown” project Thursday, Dec. 10 during a Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Commercial Real Estate Division breakfast held at the Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road.
More than 50 people were on hand to munch on bagels and other breakfast foods, sip orange juice, and hear Beck discuss his planned $4 billion mixed-use redevelopment of Valley View Mall.
The project involves a new urban living and retail center bordered by 635 on its south, Spring Valley Road to its north, Dallas North Tollway to its west and Preston Road to its east.
It is being developed in the Valley View-Galleria mall area of town. As Beck states on his company website, the project will provide “an urban atmosphere within the heart of the population of North Dallas.”
Linda Koop, R-Dallas, a former Dallas city council member, was cited as a staunch ally of the project by Beck during his comments. Koop has said this development will create a “city within a city” with restaurants, shopping, housing and office space — completely redefining this portion of Dallas.
The plans include parks and open space, hike and bike trails connecting to White Rock Lake, iconic office towers, two luxury hotels, luxury condo units for sale, entertainment venues, restaurants, boutique shopping and a 10-screen movie theater.
“Our plan is to start in the first half of next year with the demolition of the entire mall,” Beck explained to the audience.
Beck told the audience the intention of the reconstruction is to come up with something other than a brick-for-brick remake of Valley View Mall.
“We want to create something that doesn’t exist in the entire state of Texas,” he said. “… Something different from a lot of other things that are done.”
State Rep. Koop — a member of the Dallas City Council from 2005 to 2013 — was not at the breakfast, but said in a separate interview Sunday night that this project is taking much work to make into reality.
As it was, Valley View Mall seemed to be like an old worn-out puzzle whose pieces didn’t quite fit. Koop said she wanted to help boost property values there, helping shunt the area out of stagnancy.
“Valley View Mall had been losing tenants,” Koop said. “Some of the main stores had shuttered and the area was in a bit of a decline. The neighbors in the houses on the east side of Preston had expressed numerous concerns over the years about the mall … and had been asking what they could do to help. What could anyone do?”
Beck managed to get the overall district plan for redevelopment approved by the city of Dallas, the city council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, but the process took quite some time — two years — and much energy.
“Our hopes and aspirations were the area would turn over and this would have a really positive impact on the community — which is kind of what happened,” she said. “We got the area rezoned, which originally seemed kind of impossible with all the property owners involved.”
Koop said Beck has a long-range timetable to realize Dallas Midtown, but he also has a sound plan, which is why she remains supportive.
“It took a couple of years really from start to finish to get everybody moving in the same direction,” she said. “Everybody has a vision of what they want. Location, location and location is everything.”
Meanwhile, Mike Friedman, senior vice president of retail brokerage services for CB Richard Ellis, Inc., lauded Beck at the breakfast for his work in the past, which includes development and design of Trophy Club, a 2,400-acre master planned city in North Texas.
“He has financed billions of dollars of high-profile projects around the country,” Mike Friedman said.
Beck encouraged members of the audience to review project developments on his website, http://www.dallasmidtown.com.