Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Sources: Chinese-based home goods retailer readying massive project in Frisco


A Chinese manufacturer of building materials, hardware and home goods is readying plans to make way for a massive retail hub along the U.S. 380 corridor in Frisco, sources say.

The real estate rumblings come after an affiliate of Lesso America Inc., a subsidiary of China Lesso Group Holdings Ltd., acquired two tracts of land totaling more than 76 acres in Frisco for a new mall development site in June 2016.
Lesso America President Victor Lin did not respond to interview requests. Real estate sources say Lesso America is working on plans to build a multi-story retail center that would be a hybrid between an Ikea and a Home Depot with a focus on serving the growing North Texas suburbs.

If developed, this could be one of the first Lesso Mall developments to appear in the United States. But other U.S. locations could be in the mix.

In April, China Lesso acquired an underperforming mall, called Mall at the Source, in Westbury, New York, for a reported $90 million. The company has kept quiet about plans for the East Coast retail property.

Upon Lesso making its foray into Australia with a new store in Sydney, Lin told The Australian this was part of the company's larger global strategy to diversify its holdings amid challenging conditions in China.

The new store, called Lesso Home, brings all the Lesso-manufactured products available in other shops throughout Australia under one roof, Lin told the reporter. He also said the company was diversifying its interests amid challenging conditions in China with plans to open more locations in North America, the Middle East and Asia.

Two years ago, China Lesso Group made its move in America, launching its U.S. pipe production in Corona, California.

DFW's rapidly growing population along the U.S. 380 corridor could make this an ideal launch site for this type of retail concept in Texas, said Ken Reimer, partner and co-founder of Dallas-based Venture Commercial.

"There's no doubt there's a growing population in this part of the region that could handle a store like this," said Reimer, who works with numerous retailers searching for land sites for storefronts along the corridor.

Reimer, who did not know about Lesso Group's plans, said with few retail competitors along the growing U.S. 380 corridor and a building boom, he could see why a retail company like Lesso would be attracted to the site.

Plus, Frisco has received international attention with its rapid population growth, which has attracted global companies and investors to the city, he added.