The dirt has started to fly as the renovation of Wheatland Plaza begins. Visionary developer Monte Anderson’s proposal to revitalize the old Wheatland Plaza in Duncanville was enthusiastically endorsed by the City’s Economic Development Board, applauded by community members at a Town Hall meeting, and unanimously accepted by the City Council. The council approved grant funds of $1.5 million from the Duncanville Community and Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) for the redevelopment of the property at 402 E. Wheatland Road.
“Excited to Watch For The Positive Changes”
“The fast-paced revitalization of Wheatland Plaza will take place as a result of the efforts of multiple facets of our exemplary City staff, the DCEDC Board, the City Attorney, the City Council, and Mr. Anderson of Options Real Estate,” Mayor Barry L. Gordon said. “What typically takes months to accomplish, was done in weeks with the same diligence and attention to detail our citizens expect of us. I am extremely excited to watch for the positive changes that will come with this project. It is truly astounding.”
Anderson has helped revitalize a number of Dallas County landmarks, including Oak Cliff’s historic Belmont Hotel and Duncanville’s Main Station. A Duncanville resident, Anderson owns Options Real Estate Company, with headquarters in Duncanville.
Once an important shopping destination for Duncanville residents, with anchor stores like Minyard Food Store and Eckerd Pharmacy, since losing those anchors Wheatland Plaza now has just a few tenants and many empty spaces. Longtime tenants like Kim & Jenny’s Restaurant, the Every Season Store, D-squared Catering, and Taekwondo remain.
Phase I Underway
“There are several phases involved (in the Wheatland Plaza project),” Anderson said. “Phase 1-get the property stabilized; parking lot lit, cleaned and patched. Remove the asbestos in the vacant spaces. Phase 2-get the property leased. Who knows how long this will take.”
“Phase 3-work on more landscaping in the parking lot for new Kiosk type buildings and food trailers up close to the street. Phase 4-loft type condo apartments in the big parking lot area in the middle, creating an urban village. Phase 5-a 10-14 unit boutique type hotel in the Southeast corner of the center.”
Wheatland Plaza Projected Timeline
“Timing wise, just not sure,” Anderson said. “Anything now would be a guess. Hopefully all of this would be done in the next 5-7 years. Please keep in mind everything I say is subject to change as we try to obtain unique tenants. We are currently turning away cheap grocery stores, beauty supply stores, and medical uses. We want restaurants, night life, art, music and unique uses. We will keep people who are there that have leases,” he added.
The City of Duncanville’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan and the DCEDC’s 2022 Strategic Plan work closely together, as the Comprehensive Plan provides a vision for Duncanville, and the Strategic Plan outlines ways the City can accomplish that vision. Development Services Director Agustin “Gus” Garcia has made improving the City’s retail centers a priority.
“The retail centers along our major gateway corridors impress upon visitors and residents who we are,” Garcia said. “By allowing strip malls to decline, we allow those outside of Duncanville to shape incorrect perceptions of our community. We set ourselves up for success by having the Comprehensive and Strategic Plans to work from, which outline exactly these types of projects.”
Community Members Support Revitalization
A number of community members turned out for the March 20 Town Hall meeting. Residents and business owners were eager to hear about the renovation plans for the aging strip mall. A few were their to share comments on the importance of the project. Bryan Kaeser, who owns Black & Bitter Coffee Company and Mudhook Bar & Kitchen on Main Street, was an outspoken proponent for the proposed revitalization of Wheatland Plaza and also supported the City Council’s decision.
Kaeser said, “We need projects exactly like this to change the image of the old portions of the City, increase the number of available jobs and give our citizens a broader selection of businesses to spend their money at in Duncanville increasing our tax base, instead of elsewhere. There was resounding support for this plan at the Town Hall and it seems to be a very non-controversial vote. This should be the beginning of many such projects.”
“The future success of Wheatland Plaza will support the future success of our Main Street/downtown area,” said Clay Mansell, Economic Development Manager. “An improved Wheatland Plaza creates additional opportunities to work toward an integrated downtown that will give the Duncanville community a truly unique and walkable town center.”
Longtime residents of the Wheatland Plaza neighborhood were also excited to learn about the mall renovations.
Nelda Fender Hunt, who lives nearby, said, “Having lived and shopped in Duncanville for over 50 years, it would be great to see Wheatland Plaza revitalized. We have so many unoccupied spaces. We still miss our neighborhood grocery store.”