Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Dallas Cowboys' Debt Star Claims Another Casualty

This is the house that the City Of Arlington Texas built with other peoples' money and land. Cowboys Stadium.
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.


Fester said...

I have never understood voters inclination to vote to help the richest men in America buy new toys. The new stadium in Denver tells a similar tale to yours. I think it is the same story all over the country. In Denver they tore down the old stadium and built the new one in the same place. In the process they lowered the number of seats, and raised the price to see the game. Local business started shutting down because they could not stay open with all of the construction going on for 2 years.

Durango said...

For 2 months I've been trying to find out what the deal is with the stadium and Wal-Mart, that shuts down the Wal-Mart during big events. Yesterday, for the Cotton Bowl, the Wal-Mart parking lot was blocked, dozens of buses were parked on the Wal-Mart lot.

I think over the years I've gotten at least 200 comments regarding my bloggings about the stadium. Easily 50% from morons, with at least 10% saying I have no understanding of what an economic boom this stadium will bring Arlington and that Jerry Jones could not have taken those homes if the owners did not want to sell them. No awareness, at all, of what eminent domain, and its abuse is. No awareness that the Cowboy stadium in Irving was surrounded by a wasteland, that 30 years spawned no development.

As for this Fester comment regarding the Denver replacement of Mile High Stadium. I saw that one under construction and completed. It was built next to Mile High Stadium. I saw both standing. I've no idea if Mile High Stadium has since come down.

Fester said...

Durango, the old stadium is now gone. They built the new one next to it and once the new one was complete, they tore the old one down.

Anonymous said...

All taken on Christmas. Of course the shops are going to be empty.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Photos were taken on the 26th (my camera was off by one calendar day). My only proof of this is that B&N closes for Xmas, and they wouldn't have allowed me inside to photograph the coffee bar if the store was closed.
Anyway, what I was intending to emphasize was the large number of retail spaces with no tenants, not the relatively small # of cars in the lot. My bad.

PBH said...

Your delusions of “common sense” wisdom stem from an unwillingness to seek information and an inability to critically analyze it. You cling to every scrap of bullshit you can find to support your ludicrous belief system and reject all empirical evidence to the contrary. You never hesitate to offer strong opinions on subjects you don’t know a damn thing about. You are why democracy doesn’t work. You are an idiot.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Thanks for your insight. Let me respond with the following:

1) The Barnes and Noble is now closed.
2) The restaurant/bar that was in its parking lot is now closed.
3) Many of the retail spaces to the west of the store now have no tenants.
4) I have it on good authority that the Wal-Mart next to the stadium will soon be closed. Hide and watch.
5) Wealthy team owners have used the "it will bring a retail/restaurant/bar boom to the community" argument for years. It's been proven wrong time and time again. Look at the retail/restaurant/bar boom that was around the old stadium in Irving. Or around Reunion Arena. Or around the Cotton Bowl. Look really, really hard. Let me know if you find it.
6)Another group bought the Texas Rangers several years ago, for $86 million dollars. Then they used taxpayer money to build a baseball stadium, relatively close to the Debt Star. They got a total government subsidy of somewhere around $205 million dollars.
Then they turned around and sold the team for $250 million dollars. George W. Bush and Company made a $168 million dollar profit because taxpayers gave them $205 million.

Jerry Jones has been able to take advantage of similar taxpayer generosity.

I look forward to your critical analysis of this information. Please bring as much empirical evidence to the table as you possibly can. Perhaps I'm wrong about the stores and bars closing, or who paid for the GW Bush sale of the century.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Arlington is the Charlie Brown in the game of Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown to kick. Time and time again they get promised riches and high quality living - - if only they open this amusement park, that water park, this stadium, that stadium, this giant fiasco, that boondoggle.

I don't want to sound like a snot rag here, but Arlington can be (about 75%) one giant crap pile. Bad schools, terrible roads/traffic, crappy living standards... If I had to assign a retail store to local cities, I'd have to say that Arlington is a Dollar General Store. Fort Worth would be a Target... just FYI