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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2009, 3:11 PM
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Arrow Highland Mall Redevelopment Update Thread

http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin...595200^1808701

Dillard’s wants out of Highland Mall ‘ghost town’ ASAP
Store sues mall; seeks to void lease

Gang activity, crime and a store that sells toilet paper are some of the reasons why anchor retailer Dillard’s wants out of Highland Mall before its lease is up.

Dillard’s announced last month that it would leave Highland Mall “in the next few months,” and in a recent lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Dillard Texas LLC and The Higbee Company — both wholly owned subsidiaries of national department store chain Dillard’s Inc. — asked the court to void its contractual obligations to Highland, including paying rent on the remainder of its lease.

Dillard’s alleges that the owner — Highland Mall Limited Partnership, made up of Simon Property Group Inc. [NYSE: SPG] and General Growth Properties Inc. [NYSE: GGP], two of the country’s largest mall operators — let it deteriorate to such a degree that it has forced Dillard’s to close.

... While about 100 tenants operate in Highland, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Simon, occupancy has been the lowest of any local indoor mall for years and reached a low of 60.5 percent at the end of 2008, while its counterparts were more than 94 percent full.

[more...]
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2009, 5:07 PM
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Unfortunately this mall is beyond the point of no return. Really a shame. Lots of memories for me, dating back to the old Gold Mine arcade. Time marches on...

I do agree with their assertion of the lack of investment in the mall. There has been VERY little enhancements/remodels over the past 20+ years. Once a mall gets a reputation of being crime-ridden, its often fatal. There are numerous examples of this throughout the country (regardless of the presence of increased retail competition). See http://www.deadmalls.com for a whole boatload of such malls (amazing Highland is not yet represented. It will soon).

It would take a massive redevelopment effort to turn this around. Given the economy, thats very unlikely at this point.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2009, 9:24 PM
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Yes, one of my friends in San Marcos grew up in Austin in the 1960s-70s, and remembered when the mall opened. He said it was the nicest shopping center in the area. It's sad to see what shape it is in. It seems about every city has one or two old shopping centers like that that for whatever reason decline beyond the point of no return.
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 1:24 AM
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Sad! Really sad! as Mopacs mentioned earlier, The Goldmine was the place to hang out on Saturday's growing up and the family would always eat at the Luby's on Sunday's after church before Luby's moved to the 183/Cameron location
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 1:55 AM
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From what I know or at least what I have been told, since it is a joint ownership where General Growth Properties owns more than 50% of the mall, it's decline is due to that company's unwillingness to invest money and update the mall. Simon would have done it if they owned the majority of the mall, just look at both Barton Creek and Lake Line Malls, both of which have been upgraded and are kept really clean.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2009, 6:06 AM
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I work at Highland Mall...
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2009, 6:51 AM
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Today, the City of Austin rezoned the entire Highland Mall tract for "vertical mixed use".

That's it...
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2009, 5:36 PM
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Someone is going to buy that property, and the next boom we have it will be redeveloped into a Mueller/East Ave./Triangle hybrid which will be a million times more awesome than any of those individually. Hey, I can dream can't I?
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2009, 6:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottolini View Post
Someone is going to buy that property, and the next boom we have it will be redeveloped into a Mueller/East Ave./Triangle hybrid which will be a million times more awesome than any of those individually. Hey, I can dream can't I?
I really think the boom days are over.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2009, 6:37 PM
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I'm sure people have said the same thing all over the world, time and time again. More people means more need for housing, stores, hospitals, schools, and everything else people want or need. The population isn't going to stop growing for a long time, if ever. Unless of course a meteor or something wipes us out.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2009, 7:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottolini View Post
I'm sure people have said the same thing all over the world, time and time again. More people means more need for housing, stores, hospitals, schools, and everything else people want or need. The population isn't going to stop growing for a long time, if ever. Unless of course a meteor or something wipes us out.
That doesn't mean they are going to be able to afford it if the government keeps spending the way it is and puts us all in debt to our eye balls.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 3:48 AM
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Yeah...

The way I see it is what won't fly is some kind of open-air retail center with overpriced condos tossed in. That is just another mall, to replace one that is going out of business. think about it. They'll call it something "tuscan" like "El Highlandio Towne Centre @ 290" and in the future someone will say "Dude that place is so 2009, can't wait for them to tear it down now that it's empty".

What I think would be really preferable would be a carefully planned development with a mix of attractive housing that will sell regardless, and space for things people always need, like dentist offices. To set it apart you would mix in some unique offering like commercial lofts and live-work arrangements. It would work as a satellite center in a established and connected part of town.

No doubt M1EK will come in and blast me for saying this but the mall has a train stop, too...
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 4:00 AM
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As I said, a mix of the Mueller redevelopment, the Triangle development, and Concordia redevelopment. These aren't just open air malls with condos thrown in. It's well planned, urban redevelopment. The sight has now been zoned Vertical Mixed Use, so it is only a matter of time (5 years, or 20 years?)
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 2:58 PM
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There's a train station across from the mall - but you don't get real TOD without employment density at the end of the trip within walking distance.

Only have said this ten million times now. Here's ten million and one: you don't get real TOD unless people can walk to their office on the other end of the trip.
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 3:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottolini View Post
As I said, a mix of the Mueller redevelopment, the Triangle development, and Concordia redevelopment. These aren't just open air malls with condos thrown in. It's well planned, urban redevelopment. The sight has now been zoned Vertical Mixed Use, so it is only a matter of time (5 years, or 20 years?)
I'm thinkin' sooner than later. Look how quick the Concordia plan happened. How many large parcels are there "inside the loop" left to develop?
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  #16  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 5:01 PM
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Don't expect a similarly quick outcome with Highland. Its access to downtown is fairly poor compared to the Concordia site, and its transit access anywhere is poor compared to the Triangle (and always will be, commuter rail doesn't actually go anywhere good, remember?)

The bus transfer center there exists because the mall was a big chunk of parking lot / internal roadways that didn't mind Cap Metro coming in, not because it's particularly easy to get from Airport/2222 to anywhere (ironically, the commuter rail line itself is the biggest barrier - it's actually quite a PITA to get from one side of Airport to the other; and it takes a substantively long time to get up there on the bus unless you're on one of the lines that uses Airport itself). If we were picking bus transfer centers based on actual logic and could make the property owner play ball, the Triangle would be where it's at, actually.
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  #17  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 10:49 PM
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There's a train station across from the mall - but you don't get real TOD without employment density at the end of the trip within walking distance.
exactly, and this development would be a destination if it ended up having any significant jobs, never mind if you got something like a ITT tech or art college to move in.

Last edited by llamaorama; Apr 16, 2009 at 10:59 PM.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2009, 3:40 PM
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An employment center substantial enough to help rail is measured in tens of thousands of jobs (or multiple sites with thousands each); not the mere hundreds that a redevelopment at Highland might provide.

Any job impact from TOD, even on good light rail lines, follows much later than residential TOD. In other words, companies don't seek to develop newer/denser offices along light rail lines until quite a while after the line has reached critical mass.
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  #19  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2009, 12:27 AM
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Since you never relent, I'm going to continue to say, god, you are unpleasant.

On that note, if it really was rezoned for VMU, I think there's a chance that something might happen. It's much bigger than Northcross and doesn't really border any annoying neighborhood organizations. It's one of the few places left for miles where a big-scale redevelopment could occur without anyone really complaining.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2009, 6:36 AM
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^True. I'd rather see it happen there since it's closer in, than to put it farther out. And something big like that wouldn't work farther out for the reasons you mentioned. Plus dense developments almost never happen on the fringe of the city for a lack of need to go vertical. If it's an issue of transportation infrastructure not being in place at Highland, even if it involves rail, well then, snap to it and build it.
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