Actually, this 24 hour Super Walmart would be built a couple of miles away, near the freeway exit that eventually takes you to my subdivision. Our city councilman has been aware of this proposal for a couple of years, but the residents of this area only recently learned of this plan.
And the plan is this; to tear down two or three shoddy apartment buildings that are hotbeds of criminal activity, also tear down an empty office building, a tacky motel, and possibly another retail establishment or two. The entire project requires 17 acres and will strain the intersection that feeds into the proposed Super Walmart.
Now, I live far away enough that I will probably not notice the effect of increased traffic. And I’m all for tearing down badly managed/maintained apartment complexes that have fallen into the habit of renting to criminals. The same with tacky motels and empty office buildings. Moreover, this would help residents in the rest of the apartments nearby, because they would have easy access to relatively cheap goods. In fact, I shop at the Super Walmart in Garland, so I wouldn’t have to drive as far if there was a Super Walmart only a couple of minutes away.
But… There are some significant downsides to this plan. First, there is a new CVS across the street from the proposed site, that would probably close. Likewise, from what I’ve seen, when a Walmart opens a new store, most of the other retail in the surrounding area withers away. I often see sort of unsightly businesses around Walmart, which is not a good thing. So I just don’t know if I should be thrilled that a Super Walmart is coming to my area (after all, look at the huge van I drive and look at the price of gas) or if I should stick a “For Sale” sign in my front yard.
Next, I wonder what this will ultimately do to the value of the homes in my subdivision and the neighborhoods even closer to the proposed Super Walmart. My neighborhood in Dallas, Lake Highlands, has a huge swath of apartment complexes that were once zoned for singles only or couples w/ no kids until a court decision made that illegal. So that has shifted demographics dramatically in the last 10 years. Now we even have section eight housing. In addition, Dallas has so many dead strip malls, so much underutilized retail space that was built in the 1980s in response to the perception that all people want to do in their free time is shop. We move here in 1989, after the real estate bubble popped.
Anyway, I guess I’m frustrated that this area which used to be a wonderful place for families, has changed so dramatically for the worse. Until ten or fifteen years ago, Lake Highlands was like its own town within a city. Now, its got all of the urban issues (not in huge doses, but just in higher numbers than we’re used to) that you find anywhere… meth labs in apartments, shootings at passing cars, and scary parking lots around stores that I felt comfortable shopping at day or night. This is solely due to the apartment population. In fact, my first thought about the Super Walmart was that since it will probably be viewed as a good thing by apartment residents, which would increase the demand for apartments in this area, it was bad for homeowners.
The subdivision that I live in hires off-duty police officers to patrol our neighborhood. I live in a beautiful neighborhood, and one of my dearest friends lives down the street! Most of the houses in my neighborhood are around the $300,000 level. There are a few half million to million dollar homes too, especially along the long two-forked creek that makes our subdivision so special.
Deep down, I wish we could move, or at least look into moving. My son’s boys high school and my daughter’s girls high school are in a different part of the city (about six miles away), which is a more expensive area in Dallas, but in an area where the real estate values are more stable. But of course, this is a terrible time to move, not only because I love my house, but because of mortgage rates and overall economic issues that might affect DH’s job security. Plus, we love our Parish/Catholic school our elementary aged children attend.
Just so you know, I’m no stranger to big cities and urban issues. I’ve lived in San Francisco and New York, where I did social work in the South Bronx. What do y’all think? And thank you for reading this lengthy post.