Robert Wilonsky | Dallas News

Well, according to Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city’s Office of Economic Development, it’s a new tax increment financing district aimed at resurrecting two very dead malls: Valley View Center in the north, Southwest Center Mall in the south. If the council OKs its creation, it would have a budget of around $432 million, most of it aimed at helping the five major property owners between Valley View and the Galleria create what the Becks are calling Midtown Dallas.

Says Zavitkovsky, most of that money will go toward an wholesale infrastructure redo and the massive park proposed in the heart of “Midtown.”

“There’s also a bucket there called economic development grants,” he says, “which, as you know, are quite flexible and you can use for financing gaps and affordable housing.”

And, he says, 10 percent of the total TIF allocation will go toward “the ultimate improvement” of The Mall Formerly Known as Red Bird off Marvin D. Love Freeway and Interstate 20. The city’s been struggling with ways to resurrect that dead mall since at least 2009, when the city gave $120,000 in grant to the Urban Land Institute in exchange for a pile of solutions current gathering virtual dust. A year later the city toyed with buying a hunk of the corpse for $2 million, then backed off.

“There is not a developer there,” says Zavitkovsky. “You had the ULI panel that came up with a lot of good recommendations, but no money to accomplish them. So in order to attract a credible developer they have to see some financial muscle behind it. This doesn’t do that immediately, but over time, depending on the speed of the success of the redo in the Monfort District” — which is what Zavitkovsky calls Midtown — “this can do that.” {….}