We were in Manhattan for Mother’s Day weekend, and I had the chance to walk both Madison and Fifth Avenues to about 80th Street, then back to our hotel window shopping with an occasional duck inside to shop. NYC was bustling as ever, Broadway was thriving, and Times Square was wall-to-wall. 

But the retail! So many stores were closed or seeking tenants, I had to write my friend real estate expert and appraiser Jonathan Miller, who I unfortunately did not have time to see:

“But the empty retail spaces! Whoa even along Fifth and Madison! I think I saw one or two every block, and we walked from 44th to 80th. What gives” I wrote in an email.

His response:

“It’s funny you mention the retail apocalypse – I am supposedly on “Inside Edition” tonight to speak to this very issue!  Strolled up and down Fifth with a camera crew last week to explain it for 90 minutes in a 3 minute segment. From 49th to 59th, 1 out of 4 stores are empty.”

Here is the segment on Inside Edition. 


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I am pretty gung ho about Dallas getting a Costco within the city limits. Even if it means we have to bribe them with $3 million. I think the returns for the city will be worth it, well worth it: sometimes you have to spend money to make money. The City Council will apparently debate this Wednesday. Digging into their own membership information, Costco has projected that existing members who live south of LBJ will spend more than $40 million a year in this store. (Costco apparently makes the bulk of their profit from memberships, so they track them carefully.) That’s $40 million now being spent in other Metroplex area stores, NOT in Dallas. Have you ever been to a Plano Costco on a Saturday? Grand Central Station. As for giving Costco $3 million in economic incentives, I’m not turning cartwheels about it, but turns out we bribe a lot of businesses to move here, as many metros do. The hand-outs are carefully selected to bring us something in return. It’s an investment in our future.

Reading over city documents outlining the Costco proposal, turns out we are also giving the ad agency Saatchi + Saatchi North America, Inc. a $75,000 bribe to move into the new McKinney & Olive building in Uptown.

According to knowledgeable sources at Dallas City Hall, Costco has said the Dallas store at Churchill and Coit off 75 will be their most expensive store in the USA. More expensive, even, than the New York City and San Francisco stores. As one of the top three in the U.S., it will be a prototype and garner attention. Costco has been looking to build in Dallas city limits for more than a decade. The land they have a contract on is owned by the Texas Department of Transportation and by state law, must sell for appraised value. Which in this case is $16.5 million for a little over 13 acres. That’s about $29 a square foot or  $1.2 million per acre, not an outrageous price. Costco’s contract is pending Dallas forking over that $3 million incentive.

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The other thing: the TxDOT property has been on the market for 20 years — fallow, producing zilch for the city, for us. Why the state could not lower the price tag on it to move it remains a mystery, unless there is a criss-cross of legislation somewhere. The lot was used to stage construction for LBJ. It is a mass of concrete and curbs, parking spaces, a few straggly trees and a bump or two of green. The area is surrounded by commercial real estate and multi-family living. (more…)


landscapingWe teased about this last April Fools Day — when we said that Costco was buying up the Hicks-Crespi Estate on Walnut Hill Lane for its hottest new North Dallas location. It was a joke. Then Andy Beal actually BOUGHT the Hicks-Crespi estate, no joke! Costco has been eyeing Dallas for years for a location, from the dealership sites on East Northwest Highway to the intersection of Coit and Churchill just west of Central Expressway for a North Dallas big box location, where they have finally landed.

Now we are giddy with delight!

The City Plan Commission recently gave Costco a green light. Now the city’s Office of Economic Development wants to give them a Chapter 380 economic development grant “not to exceed $3,000,000″ to get the job done and bring the retail giant’s sales revenues into the city.

I mean, this is a no-brainer. The money comes from the 2012 bond proposition specifically to attract businesses to Dallas. This is the first incentive money spent in District 11 in over 10 years. Full disclosure: I live in District 11. Frankly, anyone against it just is not thinking straight.Screen-Shot-2016-04-21-at-4.55.12-PM