The city of Dallas on Wednesday voted to inject $22 million into Southern Dallas to help a developer remake the long-stagnant Red Bird Mall.
Developer Peter Brodsky has a vision for the mall that includes an area with shops surrounded by park land, apartments and restaurants. He hopes to draw people in by moving away from the traditional definition of a mall.
“Anchors of mixed use are not retail big box stores anymore,” Brodsky said. “Those are dying; Amazon is killing those. What draws people to these sites today, is ‘Oh, this is where I go to work, I live here.’”
He also wants to separate the mall from its battered history. Still, some retailers can’t really move past that.
“When they hear about Red Bird they don't automatically think economic opportunity,” Brodsky said. “They think ‘I've been told not to go there.’”
One business that has bought into Brodsky’s vision: Starbucks. It’s set to open up a store this fall. But for some shoppers, that’s not enough. They say that they would come to the mall more frequently if it had more stores.
“[I’m] hoping to see more stores, like MAC,” Danielle Johnson said. “I love MAC, but can't come here because they don't have a MAC.”
Ultimately Brodsky wants to end the misconceptions.
"It had been portrayed to me as a universally poor, universally dangerous part of town,” Brodsky said. “When I started spending time there, it's like North Dallas. Filled with families and people who want to go out to dinner with [their] wives, husbands, boyfriends, and girlfriends. They want to shop with their kids. The only difference is there is nowhere to do it in Southern Dallas."
If it all goes according to plan, the mall could be that place for South Dallas. Brodsky hopes that the city’s investment will get things started and attract private investment.
Ground will be broken at the mall in early 2019 and the new features will be built in several phases.