Avoiding a Void at Dallas Midtown

Dallas MIdtown Valley View Sanger Harris

If you have been following the plans for an area they are calling Dallas Midtown, you know that, like many other things, plans are big in Texas. The future site of Dallas Midtown is hard to consider mid-town. It’s located just above I-635 near the border with Addison on the sprawling site of Valley View Center, a suburban-style mall. Downtown Dallas is about 12 miles south. The distance from the Empire State Building to Battery Park is less than half that.

On some levels the existing mall may be more interesting than anything that could be built. Sure, it’s not walkable and the land-use pattern is perplexing. A few blocks west is the Galleria with high-end shops and, when the season is in, a very large indoor Christmas tree. With chain stores long-ago vacating the galleria, it is currently filled with art galleries, a popular event space for the Latino community, a movie theater with discounted tickets, and Latino-owned shops that in Los Angeles or some other city would be in a strip of aging storefronts near downtown.

That will all be replaced with high rises, a “central park” and someday, a DART connection. The images on the website make it look more like and urban version of Southlake Towne Center than the Galleria.

Dallas MIdtown Valley View Sanger Harris

That’s all well and good from a design standpoint, but what will be lost should not be lost in the planning. It is after all a healthy mix that makes for an interesting and vibrant neighborhood. Moreover, there is some interesting architecture from the 1970s that would be nice to save, and perhaps be used similarly to the way Valley View is used now. Most obviously is the shuttered Sangar-Harris, and later Macy’s, department store visible from James Temple and Montford.

The comments I see most often surround the missing public transit link. That would be an important addition. There is more that will be lost in the rebuilding of Valley View, however. And some that can be done to make sure Dallas Midtown doesn’t create a void.

About Eric Miller

Rick and I started this web magazine as The New Colonist back in 1999. I was in San Francisco, and he was in Los Angeles. We had a common interest in sustainability and city life. We're still at it. Today I am happy to have lived in both New York, San Francisco and Pittsburgh and to now reside in Dallas. Find more at ericmiller.me