Interest increases in development

LA Fitness is newest tenant to sign with Frisco Market Center



Development at Frisco Market Center, a multiuse retail center on the northwest corner of Main Street and the Dallas North Tollway, has picked up speed.



In early September, developers announced LA Fitness leased the 38,000-square-foot space next to Main Event. A FedEx office opened in August, and Elite Care Emergency is expected to open in October, said Kirk Hermansen, owner of Hermansen Development Inc. who has developed the property.



Frisco Market Center has been gradually filling its retail spaces since first beginning construction in 2007.



Development on the center began quickly with three large companies—Main Event, IHOP and Marriott International—being the first businesses to claim spaces.



However, progress on the development stalled in 2009 following the economic recession.



The recession lasted from late 2007 to mid 2009, though some figures struggled to return to pre-recession values by 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.



"Like a lot of big projects at that time, we just kind of got stuck in the downturn," he said.



As a result, a movie theater and a Chinese restaurant that had announced new locations at Frisco Market Center dropped out of moving into the area, he said.



Between 2009 and 2012, Hermansen said his company, Hermansen Land Development, was fighting to stay in business.



An equity partner helped keep the Frisco Market Center project going, and the company negotiated new loan terms with lenders, Hermansen said.



When the economy began recovering in 2012, the developers changed focus and started attracting smaller businesses.



"We assessed the market and decided that the most active users were probably smaller retailers, and we started to go after those," Hermansen said.



The first retail strip opened near Main Street in 2013 and now includes Pei Wei Asian Diner, Pie Five Pizza Co. and Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes.



The strip was 100 percent leased before developers finished construction on the building, Hermansen said.



Because of its success, another nearby retail strip was built that now includes Panera Bread and FedEx.



The constructed retail strips along Main Street are now almost completely leased, he said.



To help keep progress going, Frisco's Economic Development Corp. has suggested businesses for Hermansen Land Development to pursue. Panera Bread was a direct result of that help, Hermansen said.



The company also sold the northern portion of the land to the developer of an apartment complex with 410 units—The Emerson at Frisco Market Center.



Also new to Frisco Market Center will be a hotel. Marriott International plans to begin design work on a Courtyard Inn & Suites this fall and expects to open in a year and a half, Hermansen said.



"After having worked through that hiatus period, we've had a tremendous amount of momentum on the project," Hermansen said. "More importantly, I think, is that our tenants have had a tremendous amount of success."



Looking ahead, Hermansen said he hopes to draw a variety of businesses to Frisco Market Center such as more restaurants, a bank, retail and possibly medical offices.



The west side of the development still has about 25 acres of available land.



Hermansen Land Development now has a soft target of 2016 to have every space either sold or leased.



Hermansen said he's optimistic given the recent momentum of the center.



"Having lost three to four great years in the middle of the project has slowed us down some," he said. "But we're also at a point now, without a debt gun to our head, that we're going to be rational about it. We have a great piece of real estate in a great market with great support by the community and the city."

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