When Jerry Jones and the City Of Arlington were conning the taxpayers into building Jerry a new stadium, one of the arguments they used went something like this:
The stadium will increase business in the area around the stadium. There will be a retail and restaurant boom. It will create jobs in Arlington, so many that we'll be justified in taking people's homes by force and bulldozing them for parking space.
People bought the argument.
Well, the new Cowboys Stadium has started claiming casualties.
About a dozen years ago, I was the manager of this Barnes & Noble store near the stadium in North Arlington. It was one of the last ones B&N built with a full book, CD, and software selection, plus a Starbucks coffee bar.
The store closed on New Years Eve.
Guess what killed it? On game days and concert days, customers avoided the neighborhood. On all other days, the city was working on the roads to improve access to The Boss Hawg Bowl, and customers avoided the neighborhood.
As a life-long Mark Twainiac, I loved, loved, loved this mural in the coffee bar:
Ok, so Amazon, file-sharing, and the internet are cutting into book and retail music sales.
The stadium was still supposed to be a godsend for restaurants and bars.
This bar/restaurant (in the picture below) was in the front parking lot of the B&N. It was one of those Hooters/Twin Peaks/Bone Daddy's - type places.
The stadium killed it. There are lots of places in DFW to watch the Cowboys, but one place you don't want to be anywhere near on game day, unless you have a ticket, is within 10 miles of that stadium.
Look at the restaurant/retail wasteland around the old Cowboys Stadium in Irving. Was it ever possible to buy a hamburger within 3 miles of that place?
Here's some empty retail to the west of the Barnes & Noble. I remember it being fully occupied, or close to it. I wish I'd gotten photos a couple of years ago.
I don't think this is what the Arlington City Council had in mind....
Like most libertarians, I have an appreciation for what Joseph Schumpeter called "Creative Destruction". We can't make progress with new ideas if old ideas have to be preserved at all costs. The B&N would've eventually died, but in this case, Dr. Jerry Kevorkian sped things along.
A funny thing happens when government forces a new idea. Jerry Jones didn't have to pay the price that businesses and families were asking for this land in Arlington. The Government determined the price, via an abuse of Eminent Domain. The free market didn't determine if a Debt Star Stadium would ever be profitable in the middle of North Arlington. It was theft by plebiscite. The typical voter probably spent less than two minutes seriously considering the secondary and tertiary effects of buying Jerry Jones a new toy in Arlington.
I'm predicting that the B&N retail site will soon be some variation on a parking lot. Guess which two entities will get the lion's share of the proceeds?
Maybe this store is a poor example. Granted, the retail book business is struggling. Ditto for retail music.
Another business (that operates in the shadow of the new stadium) is one of the few that has done well through the current recession.
In spite of their increased nationwide sales, the Arlington Wal-Mart will be closed by the end of 2011. The stadium is going to kill it.
Hide and watch.
Picture of the Wal-Mart on Death Row came from here.