Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Big retailers jump into sports game


Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer
Frenzi women’s clothing store is among the specialty shops at The Village at Fairview. Construction to renovate the mall will begin in two to three months, says Robert Dozier, Lincoln Property executive vice president.
J.C. Penney and Kohl’s are upping their athletic wear game as they look to fill a void left in sports retailing.

One of North Texas’ largest shopping centers has quietly changed hands. And the new owner plans to make significant changes at the regional center that has struggled since the recession.

The 1 million-square-foot The Village at Fairview on U.S. Highway 75 has been purchased by Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. Lincoln acquired the big retail venue on Stacy Road at 75 from Prudential Insurance, the original financial partner in the project.

Lincoln plans to spend $50 million revamping the center, anchored by Dillard’s, Macy’s and J.C. Penney department stores.

“Million-square-foot shopping centers don’t trade often in Texas,” said Robert Dozier, Lincoln Property executive vice president. “We thought this was a great opportunity. There is a lot of demand from retailers and other tenants that love that location and the area.

“It’s a beautiful center and we are going to make modifications that will make it resonate.”

Lincoln Property acquired the huge Fairview shopping center after Prudential Insurance put it up for sale. Prudential also owns The Village at Allen shopping center to the south.
“They spent more than $300 million on the project,” Dozier said. “But it delivered in 2009 and 2010 in the teeth of the recession.

“The market dried up, and the project never got over 65 percent leased. There is 200,000 square feet of vacancy — we have a lot of leasing to do.”

As part of its renovation plan, Lincoln Property will tear down nearly 50,000 square feet of the shopping center to open it up more for traffic and create a central green space.

“We are opening it up, eliminating some pinch points and creating better sight lines,” Dozier said. “It’s hard to buy a project and tear down space, but it’s the right thing to do.”

The 200-acre project will be renamed Fairview Town Center. Lincoln has hired Dallas-based O’Brien Architects to handle the makeover.

“The architecture of the project is tired,” said company founder Jack O’Brien. “There are parts of it that really don’t look so great. We are going to improve and modify cosmetically the architecture.”

O’Brien said the new park area in the center of the property will add to activity levels.“These projects need to have a central gathering place,” he said. “It gives it a spot to have performances and gatherings.

“We are going to provide a big grass panel out there for the kids to play in.”Original restrictions on the developer kept signs at the center small and made it hard for shoppers to determine locations of merchants. Lincoln Property and O’Brien are working on a series of lighted towers with signage, including large monument signs.

“Driving down Stacy Road, you wouldn’t even know a lot of what is back there,” O’Brien said. “You don’t know where to go in and who is in there because the signs are so small. We are going to fix that.”

Lincoln Property worked with the town of Fairview on the redesign and new signs.“This is the town’s project,” Dozier said. “They want it to be a success and we do too.

“We are two to three months from a construction start. You are going to see a lot of the renovation start taking place in the summer.”

Lincoln Property also acquired several development tracts surrounding the shopping center. And Dozier said he’s considering additions that would bring more visitors.

“We are working on a redevelopment plan for the corner of Greenville Road and Stacy,” Dozier said. “We are looking at adding work components that would be for creative office tenants.”

A building surge is underway on the north side of the shopping center. Other developers are building a 100-room limited service Hilton Hotel and a 117 suite Residence Inn. Apartment builder Greystar is building a 200-unit active adult residential community called Overture Fairview.

“There are 500 apartments next door that are all leased and doing extremely well,” Dozier said. “This shopping center just needs a developer to come in and reinvest the capital and time.”


Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News