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You are here ‘Place Making’ Strategy Enables Starwood to Meet Area’s Growing Demands

With major corporations like Snapple, Toyota, and JP Morgan Chase moving operations and jobs to the burgeoning metropolis of Plano, Starwood Retail Partners (SRP) is leveraging the opportunity to introduce The Shops at Willow Bend anew.

When SRP acquired the mall property in October 2014, it already played host to several top-tier and luxury retailers, including successful Neiman Marcus and Apple stores. What the mall lacked, however, was an inviting front door to beckon consumers in off the adjacent Dallas North Tollway, a rich dining experience, and a range of entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

A Refined Community Space

The influx of new consumers and growing demands of the community led SRP to design a $100 million redevelopment plan to enhance the existing property. The strategy includes construction of an enticing grand entryway visible from the Tollway in the form of a promenade of restaurants separated by a charming cobblestone lane. Adorned with festival lights, bollards and a “Texas cool” design aesthetic that will run throughout the entire property, the village-like entryway will have the capacity to hold street fairs, farmers markets and a wide array of in-demand programming.

“This is more than just a traditional remodel—it’s a comprehensive reexamining, re-merchandising and reintroduction of a shopping center,” explained Rob Hense, Senior Vice President of Development for Starwood Retail Partners. “We’re improving the existing components that already work and adding new, engaging retailers and experiences to create a highly dynamic property.”

SRP also has plans to bring a distinctive culinary, entertainment and lifestyle presence to the mall with the addition of sophisticated local and regional dining options, a 60,000 square foot entertainment facility, and daily use retailers that could include a gourmet grocer and one or more high-end fitness users. Existing high-performing retailers like Neiman Marcus will remain, while the Apple store is currently being renovated and expanded to twice its original square footage. SRP is also in talks with developers regarding plans to add a class-A office building.

“What we’re doing at Willow Bend is ‘place making,’” Hense explained. “We’re taking a mall that already has great fashion retailers, expanding its offer to engage with consumers of all ages, and elevating it visually. Meeting the needs of Plano is a priority, and we’re planning for the future. We have already secured additional building rights that will allow us to continue to grow and thrive with this booming community.”

Construction is set to commence on the property in summer 2016. Once completed, SRP’s reintroduction of The Shops at Willow Bend will fulfill Plano’s need for a vibrant, contemporary shopping, dining and lifestyle experience.