20 years later, Grapevine Mills still a city destination

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Grapevine Mills shopping center in Grapevine celebrated its 20th anniversary on Oct. 27.

Since its opening in 1997, the 1.6 million-square-foot shopping center has seen several changes. It now features attractions such as Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center and has played host to special events and celebrity appearances. Even more changes have taken place in the recent years as its owner, Simon Property Group, invested nearly $40 million in 2016 to renovate the mall to give it a high-end shopping atmosphere.

“What we’re finding is the shopping center is really becoming the family-focused entertainment venue,” said Trudy Cresswell, director of marketing and business development for Grapevine Mills. “… It really becomes the pulse of the community.”

She said this happens when families can come to the shopping center not just to purchase back-to-school clothes or to look for a new handbag, but to also take their family bowling or watch their children play a basketball game, all inside the same shopping center.

This was something Bob Farley, the city of Grapevine’s director of economic development, pointed out as well. He said Grapevine Mills is an important part of the city due to two driving factors—one being the amount of retail sales tax it brings to the city, and two, being the entertainment it offers helps cement Grapevine as a tourist destination.

“It’s probably the most entertainment-heavy mall in the Simon portfolio,” Farley said. “To kind of enhance the shopping experience, almost all of the larger box stores have morphed into entertainment activities. It’s probably some of the best performing space in the U.S.”

He said Grapevine Mills sees about 13 million visits a year and makes up about a third of the city’s sales tax revenue. The shopping center has also welcomed more than 160,000 international visitors from more than 75 countries, meaning much of this sales tax revenue is driven by people who live outside of Grapevine.

“It’s a very big driver for Grapevine economically and as a destination,” Farley said. “We rely a lot on tourism in general.”

Grapevine Mills just launched its initiative to redesign the shopping center’s food court. New eateries will be added to the court, and Cresswell said the area will be enhanced with better lighting and better seating.

“We’re bringing a new and bright and elevated dining experience for our shoppers,” Cresswell said.

She said what makes the world of retail interesting is that there is a natural ebb and flow of retailers that come into play.

“That gives us the opportunity to take a look at what our shoppers are really asking for and what they’re wanting to see in their entire shopping experience, and we’re able to accommodate that,” Cresswell said.

She said most shoppers come to Grapevine Mills looking for ways to spend a half a day or a full day of shopping and entertainment, and that many of the renovations that have occurred have been built around that model.

“That’s how we’re building and making Grapevine Mills really relevant with the shopper today,” she said.

In addition to the renovations inside the shopping center, road construction has also taken place outside Grapevine Mills to make it easier for vehicles to get there. Cresswell said all of these changes have occurred coincidentally with the shopping center’s 20th anniversary. She said Grapevine Mills will continue to be forward-thinking when it comes to what to offer shoppers.

“We are constantly in the process of reinventing what we’re able to offer the shoppers,” Cresswell said. “So coming back to Grapevine Mills on a regular basis, it’s almost like seeing something new every single time.”

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Miranda Wilcox

Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. Now she's in Tarrant County, mostly, and has been an Impacter since 2017 as the editor of the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition.

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