Dallas Officials ‘Expedite’ Demolition of Former Valley View

Demolition began at the remaining portion of the former Valley View Mall site March 16, Dallas city officials told local media, after the second fire there in two months injured firefighters.

“Our firefighters being hurt was enough of an argument to the state that there was a mortal danger to leaving the building standing as is,” Dallas City Council member Jaynie Schultz, who represents the area including the former Valley View Mall, told the Dallas Morning News. “This is something that should have been done a long time ago.”

Schulz estimated it would take about 90 days for demolition to clear the site.

“This demolition is long overdue for our community,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “As we have seen, the former mall structure was a blight and a hazard for our public safety personnel. Dallas deserves safe structures, a strong International District, and a vibrant new development on the site of the former Valley View Mall. This is a major step forward on every front.”

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said firefighters responded to a 911 call at the vacant three-story mall in the 13000 block of Preston Road shortly after 4:30 a.m., saw heavy smoke, and quickly requested a second alarm.

Evans said one firefighter became trapped while fighting the blaze, but that firefighter was rescued and removed quickly.

“Unfortunately, that firefighter sustained undisclosed burn injuries while another sustained an injury, of the musculoskeletal variety, while helping to rescue the first firefighter,” Evans said. “Thankfully, neither of the firefighters’ injuries were life-threatening, but both members were taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.”

One firefighter was discharged the afternoon of March 16, and the second was discharged the afternoon of March 17, Evans said.

Dallas Fire-Rescue also responded to a fire Feb. 11 in the vacant mall where the AMC theater, which closed in January 2022, used to be. 

That fire was extinguished within four hours, Dallas Fire-Rescue said, and no one was injured.

Months before the Feb. 11 fire, Dallas Assistant City Attorney Charlotta Riley sent a demand letter in Novmber 2022 to property owner Beck Ventures outlining 10 code violations, including objects or conditions on the premises that are “reasonably capable of causing injury to a person” after a pair of YouTubers in a November video showed how easy it is to get inside. They filmed themselves entering through an exposed loading bay and walking through the food court, where glass shards covered the floor and spray paint many surfaces. The demand letter gave Beck Ventures until June 1 to complete demolition.

Also, in February 2023, the Dallas Police Department notified the property owner that the Valley View Mall property would be designated a habitual criminal property. DPD expects to make a final decision by March 30, 2023, city officials say.

Beck Ventures has yet to return requests for comment, but, before the fire, city workers found progress during a site visit on Dec. 7, 2022,  with asbestos abatement beginning the week of Dec. 12.

“The inspection confirmed that preparations for the (asbestos) abatement process are happening,” Riley said at the time.

“The contractor had asked for July 28th and we were prepared to allow that since they were working diligently,” said Schultz at the time. “Since the fire, the city will hold to the June 1st deadline and extend to July 28th only if there is provable reason.”

The Valley View site is included in the 450-acre Dallas International District, which encompasses the area north of Interstate 635, between Preston Road, the Dallas North Tollway encompassing the partially-demolished former Valley View Mall, and Galleria Dallas.

City officials’ plans for the Dallas International District, include a Dallas ISD K-12 STEAM school, a complete street overhaul for Montfort Drive, Montfort Drive is getting a complete street overhaul, and a large park.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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