Dallas-Area Malls Morph into Warehouses as the Retail Business Changes

Seems somehow fitting that the site of the Dallas area’s first shopping mall is now a warehouse for package shipments.

In the last decade, more and more retail business has migrated from the storefront to the laptop as consumers make their purchases online instead of at the mall.

Clicks have replaced bricks in when it comes to stores.

So its no surprise that e-commerce companies and logistics firms accounted for the lion’s share of the more than 10 million square feet of industrial space leased in North Texas in the first half of this year.

Back in 1959 when the area’s first shopping mall debuted, consumers had to touch it and see it before they bought. And at Big Town Mall on U.S. Highway 80 near Buckner Boulevard in Mesquite, they could do their shopping indoors for the first time.

Billed as “the Southwest’s first air conditioned shopping village,” Big Town was mobbed with business from the day it opened with 40 stores. There was even a bowling alley, town hall, movie theater and cafeteria to make you never want to leave.

Unfortunately, by the 1970s, newer shopping centers had siphoned off Big Town’s business. The tired old mall closed in 2001 and was torn down about five years later.

About a year ago, FedEx snapped up the site to build a huge package delivery center.

It’s similar to another delivery hub FedEx is building in Arlington. And there’s an even larger FedEx distribution center on Interstate 45 south of Dallas.

Those shopping centers — for FedEx, UPS, Amazon and their ilk — have become the shopping malls of the new millennium.

FedEx’s Big Town warehouse just sold for $50.6 million. That’s more than seven times what it cost to build the old mall back in the 1950s.

FedEx bought the site of the old Big Town Mall in Mesquite and built a 334,000 foot distribution hub there in 2012. They just sold it for $50.6 million.

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