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DALLAS-A Mexican businessman, with the deed to a 103,000-sf vacant Kmart in East Dallas, has struck a landmark deal with the Dallas Hispanic Business Consortium to open the first Mexican/Hispanic-owned mall in the metroplex.

A 10-year lease was sealed in four months of negotiations, Greg McDonald, executive vice president of Dallas-based Weitzman Group, tells GlobeSt.com. He represented owner Julio Laguette of Chihuahua, who had Kmart locked in for the next 18 years when it decided to turn out the lights at 9334 E. RI Thornton Freeway or the intersection of Interstate 30 and Buckner.

The consortium had been scouring the market for a suitable site for some time. When Kmart exited, negotiations immediately opened for the “1980s-something” property, which is on the Dallas side of the border with the City of Mesquite. Kennon Perry of Insignia/ESG in Dallas bargained the terms for the consortium.

The mercado will create 1,000 jobs and is projected to generate several million dollars in annual expenditures for the local economy, Carlos Quintanilla, president of the Azteca Business Development Group and the venue’s majority owner, said in a press release. No public funds were spent for the undertaking, he added.

The mercado will open Dec. 12, debuting with 200 merchant spaces, a 10,000-sf mini-bus terminal, 6,000-sf special events center, five restaurants and sports bar set up as 3,200-sf private club. A section of the parking lot is a dedicated autoplex so individuals can sell vehicles.

Autobuses Tornando is the principal tenant in the bus terminal. Restaurants signed to date are El Huarache, Mariscolandia, Mr. Wongs and Enriques Cafe. The sports bar will fly the banner of Republica Deportiva and also serve as a broadcast site for the most highly rated sports talk shows on Spanish radio.

Mayor Laura Miller courted East Dallas with promises of a bus terminal and a mercado. She and other Dallas officials will be on hand Thursday for a tour of the in-progress conversion from big box to mall.

The demographics are such that Mercado Azteca’s “circle of influence should be pretty strong,” says McDonald, one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s leading brokers of vacant big boxes. “The fact that we got this deal done in four months is practically a record,” he says.

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