Shopping Centers Today

JUL 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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J U L Y 2 0 1 8 / S C T 31 the map for regional and national retail- ers." e 124-room Hewing Hotel pays homage to the city's logging industry, with its six stories of wood framing, flooring and paneling. ere are several other buildings under construction and redevel- opment as well. "It's great, because office, retail, housing and hotels are all under construction," said Kroll. "It is a wonder- ful base for a 24-hour neighborhood." RENAISSANCE SQUARE FORT WORTH, TEXAS l It was 2007 and retail development markets were starting to crumble under the weight of a Wall Street meltdown. Investor Happy Baggett, a key man in the creation of mas- ter-planned deals in Dallas and in the town of Trophy Club, had bought slightly more than 200 acres a few years earlier, at U.S. 287 and Berry Street, in southeast Fort Worth. But deals were slow to develop. e parcels he bought in the historic Mason Heights neighborhood had been used as a dumping ground and the only remaining building on the site was the long-closed Masonic Temple. Despite the imminent recession, Baggett, of Happy Baggett Properties, pushed ahead, meeting with city officials, partners and hundreds of area residents. e historic neighborhood was a classic food-and-retail desert, he found. Perceived locally as a poverty-stricken neighbor- hood with minimal consumption power, the area actually had twice the income that the census takers had reported: $44,000 per household, not $22,000 — some $500 million in additional spending power, Baggett discovered. Baggett brought in capital partners, including Mid- land-based Moriah Real Estate and Cedar Falls, Iowa–based developer Lockard, in the wake of the worst downturn since World War II. Baggett first had to determine whether Lock- ard even had the stomach for the challenge. "I told them, 'If you don't have a heart for this kind of development, we can't be partners,'" Baggett recalled. "'We're going into a minority neighborhood that has all these preconceptions; we have no zoning, and we have no TIF yet.'" As the team went about securing entitlements and incen- tives, it resolved to enlist only class-A retailers — passing on rent-to-own stores, pawnshops and the like. e group landed their big fish: a 175,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter, to anchor what would be aptly named the Shoppes at Renaissance Square. Baggett counted the meet- ings he had attended in the run-up to Walmart's 2013 opening: "My logbook showed 671." e development would soon enlist roughly 30 in-line and pad-site occupants, including Hibbett Sports, Marshalls, Rainbow Apparel, Ross Dress for Less and about 10 fast-food eateries in its 350,000-square-foot retail component, adding residences and a huge community-service presence that Baggett called "essential": is included an 18,000-square- foot Cook Children's Health Care System medical and dental clinic, ACH Child & Family Services and the Upli Mighty college-preparatory charter school. A 45,000-square- foot YMCA is to open later this summer, complete with a water park. Many of those operations enjoyed the advantages of Baggett financial seeding (what he calls "just good business"). Renaissance Square benefited from a city tax increment finance district and received a 20-year Chapter 380 grant tied to job creation and property improve- ments. Indeed, the complex has since created some 1,000 jobs, with 90 percent of the workers living within a three-mile radius. Center sales have risen by some 3 to 5 percent in each of the past four years, and the development suffered only one closure: an El Pollo Loco restaurant that, though profitable, got caught up in a company retrenchment, Baggett says. Renaissance Square is negotiating deals with a movie theater and a sit-down restaurant and has plans to add more pads, he says. e first 140 units of the 400-unit multifamily Columbia Renaissance Square Apartment Homes project have opened. Jon McDaniel, president of the Fort Worth retail unit for NAI Robert Lynn, notes that there was a huge void in the Mason Heights market, but that "this development really filled it." e residents have done their part, Baggett says. "ey've taken ownership," he said. Crime is low, "and there hasn't been one incident of graffiti. e residents are proud to see an already good neighborhood get even better and put so many of their neighbors to work." According to the Cushman & Wakefield report on trendy streets, which includes some of the neighborhoods profiled here, such areas are becoming "incubators of sorts for what will likely be the hottest new retail concepts of tomorrow." n These areas are incubators of the hot concepts of tomorrow

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