The recession of 2008 was still impacting many projects, however, and over the years the developer, Hines, attempted to sell off sections of the land. Hines eventually backed out of the Carillon plaza district altogether, leaving the field undeveloped.
“We felt abandoned,” Shirey said at a June 19 Southlake City Council meeting.
That changed in June when the Southlake City Council unanimously approved Hunter Chase Capital Partners’ updated Carillon Parc development—a project a decade in the making.
Carillon Parc was originally intended as a mixed-use shopping district to complement the nearby Carillon community. The name Carillon comes from a musical instrument constructed primarily of bells. Carillon Parc carries that concept over into its new design, which will be located between North White Chapel Boulevard and Rivera Drive on SH 114..
The updated $290 million Carillon Parc plan from Hunter Chase Capital Partners comes with eight distinct districts that developers say give the 42-acre site its own sense of place. These districts will include chef-driven restaurants, artisan kiosks, local shopping, residential flats and townhomes, and 9 acres of green space, 8 of which will be collected into an area known as The Parc that will be at the center of the other seven districts. Water features in The Parc can be shut off so the space can double as a performance area.
The city of Southlake also plans to partner with the developers to relocate the city library to a new building in Carillon Parc.
“That will be a huge investment on our part, and we look to making that an incredibly successful part of our community, something we’ve never had before,” Mayor Laura Hill said at the June 19 council meeting.
The concept is an open-air, walkable community that will combine residential, retail and restaurant spaces in a distinct European atmosphere.
While many residents expressed interest in the original plan from Hines, they said Hunter Chase Capital Partners’ new plan surpasses what was first approved.
“This version is so much better than we were originally expecting,” said MaryLee Alford, a Carillon resident and a community liaison for the developers, in an email.
Developers said construction is slated to start by the first quarter of 2019, and will take approximately three years to substantially complete.
“This is a project that is great for our city, not for today, not for five years, but for 10 years, and 20 years, and 40 years,” Hill said. “I think we can do some great things together.”
The Carillon Parc effect
As presentations were made to the city of Southlake regarding the project, one fact was made clear repeatedly.
“This is not another Southlake Town Square,” said John Terrell, former Southlake mayor and a developer for Carillon Parc. “We don’t want to do something that is face-to-face competition; what we want to do is very additive and complementary and will bring in a whole other set of tourists and diners and shoppers into the area.”
He said Carillon Parc will bring a new, experience-oriented community to Southlake. Assistant City Manager Allison Ortowski said this as well.
“What we hear from residents and visitors today is that they are looking for unique, new experiences,” she said in an email. “Carillon Parc will certainly add a unique element to what Southlake has to offer, and we expect it to play a key role in keeping Southlake top of mind with those audiences.”
She said city staff have some key economic goals set in its Economic Development and Tourism Master Plan: increasing visitor spending and boosting the city’s daytime population of an estimated 46,000 through job creation.
The importance of increasing that daytime population, she said, is to ensure Southlake businesses continue to serve more than just the resident population, and that existing and future businesses continue to have access to a sustainable customer pool.
“Carillon Parc is expected to meet both of these goals,” Ortowski said.
She explained that through Carillon Parc’s hotel offerings as well as the planned entertainment elements and the intentional destination design, Southlake should experience both new and returning visitors.
At buildout, Hunter Chase Capital Partners estimates the project will add 1,100 jobs to the Southlake economy.
Traffic studies show at buildout the development is expected to generate approximately 625 new one-way trips during morning peak traffic hours and 1,603 new one-way trips during weekday afternoon peak traffic hours.
To prepare for this traffic volume several improvements were recommended to the developers to work with the city to address. These include right-turn deceleration lanes and a traffic signal at the intersection of Kirkwood and White Chapel boulevards.
As Terrell presented the project to the Southlake City Council in June, he was asked if in reality the project would be as grand as the renderings illustrated.
“I will say that you’ll be pleased at the end of the day, that the reality is going to look better than what you see in the picture,” Terrell said.
Giving Southlake a say
Laird Fairchild, senior managing director of Hunter Chase Capital Partners, said he has served on the Southlake Planning and Zoning board as well as the zoning board of appeals in Southlake. He said he understands the difficulty of having a project come up to the city’s standards.
“I am aware of how difficult it is, but I think it’s an affluent community that takes pride in what we created, and I think what we have here is evidence of that,” Fairchild said.
He said he knew going into this project that it could not be done without input from the Southlake residents.
“That’s always been my philosophy, to work with the community and the leadership early on,” Fairchild said.
Shirey said Hunter Chase Capital Partners invited residents to multiple meetings regarding the development of the site. She said Southlake residents not only showed up, but also provided a long list of suggestions, including adding a larger park, a parking garage to avoid a sea of concrete and pedestrian-focused spaces, as well as many other suggestions.
“Hunter Chase Capital Partners redesigned their plans to incorporate all of the requests from the residents,” she said. “… All of them.”
At the June 19 City Council meeting, the mayor said it was the first time in her 14 years on council to see so many residents actively support a project.
“We’ve learned in Southlake that when residents are heard and they’re part of the process then they can be your biggest allies, and this is absolutely proof of that,” Hill said.
Alford said the proposed plans will benefit the Southlake community and residents, and said she is eagerly awaiting the day the project becomes a reality.
“The residents of Carillon bought or built homes in Carillon … expecting a beautiful, European-style, mixed-use, ‘upscale’ retail development,” she said. “And 10 years after City Council’s approval of the original plans in 2008, Carillon residents are finally getting the walkable, entertaining, healthier lifestyle they moved here for.”