The defunct Six Flags Mall will be replaced with a nearly 1.4-million-square-foot industrial complex that would employ roughly 2,000 people, according to officials and tentative plans from a developer that’s buying up the last pieces of the property.
Construction on the project could start in a year.
“We’re all excited because [the uses\ will be all the way from light manufacturing to distribution,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “It’s a big improvement from a decaying mall.”
Missouri-based Northpoint Development has purchased most of the 83-acre mall site, northeast of Texas 360 and East Division Street, but has at least one remaining snag — a lawsuit filed by Cinemark USA accusing Northpoint of trying to run its Tinseltown theater out of business before its lease is up.
NorthPoint will develop the industrial complex, which tentatively will consist of two multitenant warehouses, one about 1.13 million square feet and another at 230,000 square feet, according to renderings and other documents prepared by Coy E. Garrett Real Estate Consultants of Arlington.
It’s a big improvement from a decaying mall.
Mayor Jeff Williams on a planned industrial complex
The industrial redevelopment is apparently being built around an “international company” seeking a place to locate, said Coy Garrett, a real estate broker who has worked for four years negotiating lease buyouts and delivering vacated mall space to NorthPoint.
But he and Williams said they could not yet reveal the identity of the company. Officials of NorthPoint did not return calls this week for comment.
Location and workforce
Eleven sites were studied in Tarrant County and south Dallas County before the 47-year-old former Six Flags Mall was selected, Garrett said. He added that NorthPoint would build the multitenant warehouses and lease the space
Garrett said the mall site was attractive because of its quick access to Texas 360 and 161 and Interstates 20 and 30, and the short trip to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Also, a railroad line runs immediately north of the location.
“And the availability of a skilled workforce,” Williams added. “We’re very proud of that.”
There are too many moving parts in it.You’ve got people who have businesses who don’t want to move, and you have to buy them out. Then you’ve got lenders.... And it’s hard to find space for (businesses to relocate).
Coy Garrett, real estate broker on closing out remaining leases
Garrett estimated that the property acquisition will take four more months, saying the time-consuming process “has been a real killer.”
“There are too many moving parts in it,” he said. “You’ve got people who have businesses who don’t want to move, and you have to buy them out. Then you’ve got lenders. … And it’s hard to find space for [businesses to relocate]. It’s a massive project to get everything to come together at one time even just for one property owner.”
Jim Parajon, deputy city manager for economic development, said he couldn’t comment on details of the redevelopment, including whether the city is considering or has been asked to consider tax breaks and other incentives to assist the project. He said the city issued demolition permits last year to NorthPoint, which he said has “made some progress on it.”
“Six Flags Mall was in poor shape and had very limited tenancy,” Parajon said. “The opportunity to redevelop is welcome.”
Cinemark USA, which is fighting in court to hold its ground amid demolition of neighboring buildings, could be close to an agreement with NorthPoint, according to court documents filed last week.
The 348th State District Court in Fort Worth granted a request by Cinemark and NorthPoint to postpone scheduled hearings, and has set Feb. 6 for a hearing on a summary judgment motion.
Attorneys for Cinemark, NorthPoint and a second defendent named in a Cinemark lawsuit, Dominican Management, did not reply to several requests for interviews last week.
Cinemark filed suit last May, alleging NorthPoint and Dominican “engaged in civil conspiracy” to rush the theater out of its lease early. However, court documents indicate an agreement might be near.
The Cinemark Tinseltown 9, a single-level theater with 2,442 seats, opened in Six Flags Mall in 1996 and is now surrounded by the rubble remains of other buildings.
Cinemark sued in May, alleging that NorthPoint and Dominican “engaged in civil conspiracy” to rush the theater out of its building. The suit claimed the demolition activity and posting of demolition signs on its property threatened to impede access and parking for its customers, and that frequent power outages and surges were disrupting business at the theater.
The documents said the theater manager, Kevin Ghanbari, testified that attendance had declined by 18 percent since demolition began last year.
The lawsuit was not specific about how long Cinemark wanted to maintain its lease.
The mall opened in 1970 as the first enclosed shopping center in Arlington. In December 2012, Fort Worth businessman G.L. Buck Harris, who once operated a large antique mall in west Fort Worth, bought the 364,000-square-foot center portion of the former Six Flags Mall, which had been renamed Plaza Central. He reopened it — briefly — as a Hispanic-themed shopping center in July 2014.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.