Fort Worth news overheard at RECon

RECon Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – South Freeway shopping: At least a half million square feet of new power-center retail is on tap for Interstate 35W in the form of Southgate Marketplace, a complex in the early stages of development by Dallas-based Vista properties. Southgate, pegged for the southeast corner of I-35W and Rendon-Crowley Road (FM 1187) next to Fort Worth Spinks Airport, will sit directly across the highway from an existing power center, Burleson’s McAlister Square.

According to site plans seen at May’s international RECon retail convention in Las Vegas, Southgate’s nine anchor and junior anchor spaces will range from 27,000 square feet to 98,000 square feet and include stand-alone buildings for fitness and entertainment tenants. Additionally, 11 peripheral restaurant and retail pad sites are planned for the development, which is being leased by SRS Real Estate Partners of Dallas. Because of its robust population growth, Texas is one of the few states still aggressively building power centers, a category that took a beating in the recession when a litany of big-box retailers closed or shrank their store footprints.

Also overheard at RECon: Dallas-based Studio Movie Grill is in serious negotiations to build its innovative theater-and-dining experience at north Arlington’s Lincoln Square, which has been without a movie theater since Lincoln Square Movie Tavern was demolished in 2006. Its 24-year-old forerunner, Loews Lincoln Square, closed in 2004. Studio Movie Grill has seven Dallas-Fort Worth locations and an eighth is opening soon in The Colony.

Dueling outlets: Two proposed outlet malls less than six miles apart along Fort Worth’s north I-35W corridor have been announced – Woodmont Outlets’ 50-store Outlets at Fort Worth near Texas 170 at Cabela Drive, and a similar-sized Tanger Outlets at Texas 114 next to Texas Motor Speedway in the Ed Bass-backed, 280-acre mixed-use Champion’s Circle development.

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But it’s highly unlikely both malls will get built, said Linda Humphers, editor of the burgeoning industry’s trade magazine, “Value Retail News.” “After what happened in St. Louis with two outlet malls opening less than five miles apart, I’m sure one will blink to avoid that mess again.” Fort Worth-based Woodmont Outlets, an affiliate of Fort Worth-based Woodmont Co., partnered with mall goliath Simon Property Group in the St. Louis deal and the duo now have the dominant outlet mall there, St. Louis Premium Outlets, Humphers said. (Ironically, Woodmont marketed the competing Fort Worth speedway-side site as an outlet mall at RECon in 2013.)

A massive Buc-ee’s convenience store, office space and multifamily housing are also part of the Champions Circle project at the southwest corner of Texas 114 and I-35W. Woodmont will need a strong outlet-brand partner at its Texas 170 site to beat out Champions, Humphers speculated, though other quality retail development on the 45-acre parcel is likely if that deal doesn’t happen, she added. Woodmont Co. chairman Stephen Cozlik argues that his site’s roadway access and the retail halo of one of the nation’s top-performing Cabela’s stores immediately to the south make his planned mall more practical. Woodmont Outlets has other irons in the fire; it partnered with Cherokee Nation Businesses in late 2014 to locate new upscale retail development at the tribe’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa.

Cowtown’s own: The Buxton company continues to expand its site-analytics services for dozens of the nation’s fastest-growing retailers and restaurants. New clients include Atlanta-based fast-casual chicken hawker Zaxby’s, which has 675 locations, and the up-and-coming Bareburger, a New York-based chain of about 25 organic burger restaurants.

Finally: Addison-based Twin Peaks’ Vegas promotional space at RECon never opened. Completed just about the same time that the horrific gang violence unfolded outside its now-closed Waco franchise on May 17, the booth was taken down early the next morning, before the start of business.

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Steve McLinden has been contributing editor for the international retail trade magazine Shopping Centers Today since 2003 and a real estate columnist for over that same span. He is the co-author of three books and covered development for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Fort Worth Business Press. He spent seven years with Fort Worth-based Pier 1 Imports Inc.