Businesses coming and going (and going) in Camp Wisdom area

We’ve had a great new addition to Southern Dallas in recent weeks. Back in March, the first tenant of Wheatland Crossing (Target) opened their doors for business. Wheatland Crossing is a retail development just north or Interstate 20 and just west of Hampton Road.

red-bird-019.JPGBut as I drive around the “Red Bird” area, and especially Camp Wisdom Road, I wonder is Wheatland Crossing masking a significant net loss of businesses in the area. A number of tenants at Wheatland Crossing are simply packing up and moving down the street.

red-bird-013.JPGThe blame does not lie with the companies who are moving. The shopping experience at Target has been greatly enhanced since leaving the store that for years has been located at Cockrell Hill. But one has to wonder what will happen to the strip center that the store anchored – which is already only half to 2/3 occupied. The recruitment of new businesses to the area is key, but let’s look at those who had invested in the area and are continuing that investment.

Moving Over

I remember a couple of years back when Chili’s at Camp Wisdom and Highway 67 was open one day and closed the next. It dealt the casual dining choices a real, leaving Cheddars as the lone choice for many casual diners. Yes there’s Red Lobster and Olive Garden down the street, but they are both in Duncanville.

red-bird-029.JPGIt will be good to have Chili’s back in the neighborhood when they open May 1st. Mike Davis (Dallas Progress) talked to me about how this is the best case scenario. “Chili’s took a while, but they (eventually) moved and South Dallas Cafe comes in and backfills the space with something positive,” he said. “It happens all over Dallas.”

Mike makes an excellent point. I drive around every corner of Dallas in my job and in every corner there are abandoned grocery stores and shopping centers all over town. Yet the situation around the mall -empty office buildings, oil change stands, the vacant Petco- seems more desperate than in other parts of town. Mostly because the only noticeable new entrants in the area have been Golden Corral and a Check Cashing store.

red-bird-028.JPGIn addition to Target; Office Depot will probably close their Camp Wisdom store when they open a location at Wheatland Crossing. I’d assume Ross will do the same thing, and Chick-Fil-A will close their Southwest Center Mall location once their stand alone location is built at Wheatland Crossing.

Moving Out

red-bird-015.JPGThere are also those stores who have left the area never to return. It’s been years since Best Buy shut down their Gannon area location and moved to Cedar Hill. They have opened a store at Pinnacle Park off I-30, but I tend to head south to Cedar Hill rather than north for my electronic needs. red-bird-008.JPGSpeaking of moving to Cedar Hill, a Family Christian Store has opened (near Half Priced Books) as one has closed in a Camp Wisdom strip.

There needs to be special attention paid to this Camp Wisdom area. The infrastructure is there (with the exception of a Camp Wisdom exit heading north on Hwy 67) and with a little vision, this strip could return to its heyday of the 1980’s .

There are many troubled apartment complexes in the area especially east of 67 and south of Camp Wisdom. Demographics is a challenge that also exists. Choice Homes has started a new single family community on Westmoreland, but others like it must come on board to truly sustain the area economically.

I often ask myself who’s leaving next. Toys R Us? Chuck E. Cheeses? Party City? I believe in the market, yet I also believe that if the city and the community ignore what’s going on there could be a gaping hole in the area.

And then there’s Southwest Center Mall….

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