Questions and Answers About the Latest Developments
What is the status of the Northcross Development?
Northcross Mall is being renovated in stages and the work on the east side you are currently seeing is part of Stage I. Developments are generally built in stages to accommodate existing businesses, or to use revenue from one part of the development to help pay for the completion of the rest of the project.
Several businesses have lease agreements with the original owners of Northcross Mall that must be honored by Lincoln Property Company. Some of the agreements state that Lincoln cannot cause those businesses to be closed for even one single day during construction. The eastern side of the mall is being renovated in preparation for moving those tenants if renovation of the western half of Northcross were to begin.
But they've started work. Isn't it a "Done Deal" now?
No. We've seen cases involving developers and Wal-Mart where the projects have been nearing completion only to have judges rule that the structures must be demolished. There is still plenty of time to positively affect this development.
What will happen to those tenants if the construction process is stalled? Won't that affect their business and make them close if they don't get to move?
No. They would simply continue to do business in their existing spaces with no interruptions.
What's wrong with having a Wal-Mart there?
There's plenty of things wrong with a Wal-Mart Supercenter there. Wal-Mart stores have a history of causing more traffic congestion and increased crime rates than other retailers. This plan is the wrong type of development for the Northcross area as its success depends on customers driving in from miles around. On the other hand, a development that serves the surrounding neighborhood, is pedestrian friendly, and includes residential components that promote safely walking to shops in the development would far better serve the community.
Why did it take so long to file a lawsuit?
On Tuesday, June 26, the City of Austin approved Lincoln Property Company's second site plan for Northcross Mall. On June 28, RG4N filed a lawsuit in Travis County District Court against our City and Lincoln to invalidate the site plan.
RG4N had hoped to resolve this issue without litigation. We met with city leaders and the developer, but to no avail. Once it became clear there could be no resolution without litigation, RG4N waited until the developer settled on a site plan, since it had one approved site plan but was also pursuing approval of a second site plan. Austin does not allow two approved site plans for one site, so the first site plan became null when the second site plan was approved. To avoid additional costs of fighting two site plans in court—the first one and then the second one—RG4N opted to wait until the second site plan was approved in order to have a single focus.
Does RG4N really have a serious chance of stopping the Wal-Mart Supercenter?
Yes. Lincoln Property Company filed a second site plan because it was clear that the first site plan would be successfully challenged in court. The second site plan addresses some, but not all, of the legal problems of the first plan.
Once a court declares the site plan invalid, Lincoln Property Company and Wal-Mart will be prevented from destroying Northcross and turning it into a mammoth big box store.