Grocers, retailers flocking to Southlake

Marice Richter

With its economic development engine revving at full throttle, Southlake is about to welcome several major retail and commercial projects that underscore its image as an upscale hub and magnet for high-end business growth. Besides several new shopping center developments, plans for two new hotels are moving forward and a new marketing campaign is getting set to be unveiled to drive more tourism to Southlake. Shannon Hamons, Southlake’s new economic development director, told members of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 20 that Southlake benefits from its ideal location in the State Highway 114 corridor between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Alliance Airport. “We get a lot of business travelers through here,” he said. “And we get a lot of people from places like Oklahoma, San Antonio and other parts of Texas who come here to shop and dine.”

Southlake Town Square, a commercial and residential development that embraces the “new urbanism” pedestrian-friendly concept, has long been a community gathering spot for shopping, dining, festivals and entertainment. Home to upscale stores such as Brooks Brothers and Williams-Sonoma and restaurants such as Del Frisco’s Grille, Southlake Town Square cemented its reputation as a destination for discerning visitors. The center’s success has spawned similar developments in other Dallas-Fort Worth communities and an incubator for other commercial developments in Southlake, including the Shops of Southlake, anchored by Central Market. Currently under construction caddy-corner to Southlake Town Square and across the street from the Shops of Southlake is Park Village, which will complement the neighboring developments with a slightly different twist. It will include a mix of healthy-lifestyle retailers. Planned by Fort Worth-based The Woodmont Company, Park Village will consist of more than 185,000 square feet of retail space.

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Outdoors outfitter REI has recently opened in Park Village and other tenants set to move in include Orvis, a high-end fly fishing sporting goods chain, Luke’s Locker and The Pilates Barre. Anchoring the 185,000-square-foot shopping center will be The Fresh Market, a gourmet supermarket chain from North Carolina that has opened several locations in the area. The Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s, set to open in February in Southlake Town Square, along with Central Market will make Southlake a hub for upscale grocery stores in Tarrant County. A new Whole Foods Market opened recently in Colleyville, neighboring Southlake. With an average household income of $157,847 and a 2014 average home price of $696,963, Southlake is a magnet for upscale retailers and restaurants to serve the community. Visitors, drawn to high-end shopping and dining, are increasingly choosing Southlake for its cache as well as its central location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Hamons said.

Southlake’s popularity has consistently resulted in the city’s single hotel, The Southlake Hilton, to be top-rated for occupancy within the hotel chain, Hamons said. As a result, two new hotels are planned for Southlake. The council has approved plans for a 175-room Cambria Suites property and a 276-room Westin Hotel, both along State Highway 114. Construction has yet to begin for either. With development booming, Southlake officials unveiled a new marketing campaign that brands Southlake as “Perfectly Planned.” Advertisements and billboards will trumpet Southlake as “perfect” for making memories, shopping for “perfect” shoes and “perfect” for a delicious lunch, said Jill Lind, director of tourism and marketing.