Highland Village City Council and the city's planning and zoning commission held a special joint meeting to discuss the possible development of property at The Shops at Highland Village on June 30.

The plan is to shift focus from traditional retail to more restaurants in the shopping center, according to Josh Poag, president and CEO of Poag Shopping Centers, the company that manages The Shops at Highland Village.

With several fashion-based retail stores being shuttered and a decrease in foot traffic, the shopping center’s owners are looking to revitalize The Shops and make restaurants—such as Sip + Savor, a new restaurant set to open later this year—the main draw, Poag said.

“The restaurants at [The Shops at] Highland Village are very important for our future,” Poag said. “Restaurants create culture. What is more dominant now are the chef-driven concepts, individual concepts that can cater to their individual environment, their individual community.”

The property, located at 1701 Shoal Creek, is made up of retail stores, restaurants and an AMC movie theater.

“The pandemic really sort of highlighted the reasons why we need to pivot,” said Sean Chatlos, vice president of real estate investment management company AEW.

The Shops previously shifted from a flagship store focus to a local business focus during the height of the pandemic. During that time, restaurants at The Shops became the new anchors of the retail industry.

Mark Farrell, president of development for Presidium Group, proposed an apartment complex at The Shops that will have modern amenities and expects residents living in the community to make an annual salary of at least $80,000. If plans are approved, Presidium will be the developer of the proposed apartment complex.

“I know there’s concerns talking about apartments,” Farrell said. “They are apartments, but they’re different. They’re not the apartments we grew up in.”

Farrell cited resident demographics as well as safety and crime as common apartment stereotypes that have caused concern. He said the complex aims to attract young, affluent professionals.

The item will have to go through a zoning change application process and return to the planning and zoning commission for potential approval before it goes before City Council. No vote was made during the June 30 meeting.