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Shops at Willow Bend $100M facelift

Our NORTH TEXAS economy is the growth engine that has helped make this $100M facelift possible and more property tax revenues in the City of Plano and Collin Counties coffers going forward.

The SHOPS AT WILLOW BEND opened August 3, 2001 and 38 days later 9.11.2001 happened. Sometimes the big developers just can’t seem  to get a break.  In this instance it put somewhat of a pall over SWB as from that point onward through 2007-2008 the US economy was in an economic tailspin.

In my opinion SWB never really has had its legs under it in the way a mall of this size and magnitude should in one of the hottest zip codes in America Plano, TX 75093.  Yes, the mall has three great anchor stores Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

Another major factor that has always affected SWB is Stonebriar Centre in Frisco @ 121 between DNT and Preston Rd which opened August 4, 2004 virtually three years to the date of SWB’s opening .

And as I usually say to folks that are not familiar with Stonebriar Centre with 1,600,000 square foot of retail under one roof  ‘”f they don’t have what you want then you don’t need it”!  Needless to say just being virtually 10 minutes up the DNT to Stonebriar Centre didn’t make life any easier for the stores in SWB.

But the good fortune that SWB has been blessed with the new owner Starwood Retail Partners having recently bought Shops At Willow Bend and has big plans for it.  Major additions include a Class A office tower, a hotel and an entertainment district with six to eight restaurants.

The project will begin with the razing of the 125,000 square foot former Saks Fifth Avenue where.   This is key to where one the major updates of the facelift will be happening.  The addition will be the ‘architectural focal point’ of the malls main new entrance facing east toward the Dallas North Tollway just north of Park.   Overall SWB will have a “vibrant, welcoming facade that expresses a sense of arrival” for people visiting the center.

The projected first phase of work will be completed in 2017 with the projected finish date for the entire project completed in 2019.

Scott Wolstein, CEO  of Starwood Retail Partners, states the original developer tried to make the mall into high-priced, super luxury center built around Neiman Marcus, but the demographics for the area are much broader than just luxury shoppers.  The demand for  the merchandise went beyond the initial Prada, Gucci and Armani level as Neiman Marcus can serve that customer.   And furthermore Dillard’s, Macy’s, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and Apple store all do extremely well.

TAKEAWAY: With continued pace of growth of the immediate 15 mile radius using Shops At Willow Bend as an epicenter  the entire area as noted is seeing a growth rate never truly seen in the North Texas region.  And unless someone has been in a cave for the last five years it doesn’t take much to realize with major corporations  moving their corporate headquarters the likes of Toyota, FedEx OfficeLiberty Mutual, plus the new development of Legacy West  DNT and Headquarters Drive on the west side of the DNT are all major drivers of this population growth in the area in.

And don’t forget the old-timers who were pioneers of corporate campuses in the Shops at Legacy  area …. like JC Penney, Frito-Lay, Ericcson and even the original EDS campus (now HP) and without the insight of Ross Perot, Sr we wouldn’t have had the start of Legacy Business Park if not for Mr. Perot.  Then you throw in  The Colony with its GRANDSCAPE development and its Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas mothership ….you’ve got a lot of additional growth going along the three  mile stretch of of  121 running from Main Street in The Colony to the DNT in Plano

About Jerold Smith

From 35 years in the corporate world to a full-time Broker & REALTOR® for the last 15 years, I know real estate. I share my extensive knowledge and expertise with buyers, sellers or investors, personally. I am a NATIVE TEXAN and know the local market better than anyone else. Any questions? Just ask.

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