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Dallas Midtown Project To Keep City Competitive With Northern Suburbs

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Developer Scott Beck used to ride his bicycle to Valley View Mall as a child. Now he's preparing to bull-doze it.

"It is bittersweet to see my old stomping grounds as a kid look like it does today."

Beck says he's tearing it down to help build up the entire area, now known as the $3 billion dollar Dallas Midtown Project. The 430 acres falls between Preston Road, the Galleria Mall, LBJ Freeway and just north of Alpha Road.

"This is the largest urban rezone in the history of the city."

By 2019, Beck hopes to complete the first wave of development, which he says will be modeled after the Shops At Legacy in West Plano. It will include a 250 room high-end hotel, two apartment buildings with 600 units , a new fitness center, a ten story medical office building and a brand new dine-in movie theatre with a total of 650 seats. The ground floor of each building will consist of some shops, but mostly restaurants.

"It's really an entertainment type of district," says Beck.

More details about the project will be announced in the next two months. Eventually, Beck says there could be buildings up to 40 stories there. They will also build a 20 acre park, four times larger than Klyde Warren Park. "That park will be the largest programmed park in the city", Beck says.

For now, there are still stores open in Valley View Mall. But Beck says more will be closing. The project was first announced four and a half years ago, and Beck says something like this takes a long time to develop.

During the next couple of weeks, crews will start demolishing the old Macy's store. But the mall will be torn down in stages. Looking toward the future, Beck says Dallas Midtown will help keep this part of the city competitive with its northern suburbs. Beck says that's important because this part of Dallas is in the center of the city's population density. "If you look at the corner of Preston and 635 (LBJ Freeway), you've got a third of the population that lives within three and a half miles of this location."

He says it's important to keep that population from moving. "Dallas has a problem and that's the problem of flight of office users going to the north. People who are coming to Dallas who don't want to be in Downtown Dallas do not have to leave our city limits."

Beck says the project still needs some zoning changes and other receive other help from the city.

Evelyn Marshall now uses the mall for walking, but worked at the Sears store for 35 years.

"Oh, I loved this place, yes."

The Sears store opened in 1967, and the rest of Valley View Mall opened in 1974. Even though the mall won't be standing in about a year, Marshall says she's excited about its future. "It's going to be good when it's finished. I'll bet money on it."

Follow Jack on Twitter & Facebook: @cbs11jack

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