Nearly two decades after Richardson Square Mall was demolished, plans are in the works to revive a portion of the structure left standing.

At a Feb. 7 event, officials from real estate leasing and sales firm Structure Commercial, which was hired by developer VN Holdings, presented plans that include an overhaul of the former Sears space.

According to Structure Commercial Vice President Quyen Nguyen, the up to $20 million redevelopment will include a Japanese grocery store anchor surrounded by boutique retailers and sit-down dining.

“Because this is going to be a ... multicultural concept, it’ll be a lot more attractive,” Nguyen said.

The details

Structure Commercial President Eric Deuillet said city staff has approved plans for the project and the developer is waiting on a building permit to begin work. That could start in the next few months with expected completion by the end of 2025.

After giving a facelift to the exterior and renovating the interior of the former Sears location, officials estimate the site could accommodate up to 20 storefronts. Based on presented plans, the existing structure would be divided into four buildings separated by open-air walkways and anchored by the first U.S. location of Japanese grocery store Aeon.

Deuillet said a lease is pending with Japanese home goods retailer Daiso, with representatives from other companies such as Hudson House, Cava, Panera Bread and Ulta expressing interest in becoming tenants once work on the property gets underway.

“[VN Holdings has] done their demographic work to know that people ... would all love what they want to do here but also the draw that it’ll have to get from people from hundreds of miles away that will come,” Deuillet said, pointing to the uniqueness of the tenants Structure Commercial hopes to attract.

The background

The original Richardson Square Mall was built in 1977, five years after Sears opened, according to the Richardson Historical & Genealogical Society.

The mall was demolished in 2007, minus the Sears location, which remained open until 2019. Portions of the former mall site have been converted to house current tenants, including Lowe’s.

"​​Once we get the permit, ... [the plan is] we’re going to go to all these tenants that we’re talking to and say, ‘Get in now or you’re going to miss out,’” Deuillet said. “They’ll be doing their construction at the same time, so it all opens at once.”

What they're saying

Prior to construction beginning, Deuillet said Structure Commercial is willing to continue meeting with community leaders to help alleviate concerns expressed by attendees at the February event, which centered around a lack of community engagement, viability of the project and diversity of potential tenants. No community meetings have been scheduled yet.

“We don’t have to [get approval], but we want everyone to feel involved and to feel like they have a voice,” Deuillet said. “If somebody has [a suggestion] that we know would go with this, we’ll go out and try to get it.”

Anthony Rice, Duck Creek Homeowners Association president, said that while he appreciates that the site is being cleaned up, he still believes more steps need to be taken to engage with the community and hear residents' feedback.

Looking ahead

Based on the Richardson’s zoning ordinances, many retail and commercial uses would be allowed without city involvement as they fit within the existing zoning of the site. However, uses such as installing a drive-thru and measures such as replatting sites for tenants would need to go before either the city planning commission or City Council.