Grapevine Mills, city leaders agree on $10M incentive for mall renovations

The Grapevine City Council on June 19 unanimously approved a $10 million incentive with Grapevine Mills mall for future mall renovations.

Grapevine Mills mall, which is owned by Indiana-based Simon Property Group, Inc., ranks as Grapevine's third largest property taxpayer and the largest sales tax generator to the city.

"Grapevine Mills has proven itself to be a great asset to the City of Grapevine as a magnet for jobs, increased tax revenue, tourism growth and expanded business development," Mayor William D. Tate said in a statement. "With a strong vision for the future, which includes the ongoing success of Grapevine Mills, the City Council remains committed to our strong tradition of economic growth and prosperity as one of the leading municipalities in Texas."

Grapevine Mills mall, which opened in October 1997, features more than 180 outlet and retail stores. The Mills President Gregg Goodman said in a statement the company applauds the city's commitment to ensure Grapevine Mills mall remains competitive in the Dallas/Fort Worth's dining, entertainment and shopping scene.

"We are currently in the initial design process and we look forward to sharing details of our renovation plans in the very near future," Goodman said.

While Simon has yet to officially announce details for an estimated $40 million in renovations to Grapevine Mills mall, plans include remodeled storefronts, more premium tenants, added amenities, new restrooms and new floor and ceiling finishes.

"This is going to be done in phases so that it doesn't interfere with the store's busy months like back to school and Christmas," City Councilman Mike Lease said. "It is a two-year type of renovation. It will be done in such a way that it keeps the stores open."

The City Council approved $7 million for four phases of interior renovations to the mall. For each completed phase, $1.75 million will be awarded.

The incentive also includes $3 million that will be given to the mall once 12 new premium tenants open. The mall will be awarded $750,000 for every three new premium tenants that open.

The $10 million incentive is a way to drive sales tax revenues to the city.

"It is a performance basis for them to bring in tenants that will drive better sales at the mall," City Manager Bruno Rumbelow said. "Premium tenants brings shoppers that spend more per person and that's really the whole concept, that the renovations and improved tenant mix will all drive sales upward on a going forward basis."

The $10 million in funds will be pulled from the tax increment financing district, which was created to attract the mall and fund infrastructure around it. Grapevine Mills mall is the only entity in the district. The city estimates an additional $4 million will be accrued in the district between now and its expiration in 2017.

Simon can apply for the additional $4 million to renovate the mall's exterior once the funds become available.

In March, Rumbelow, Assistant City Manager Jennifer Hibbs and City Council members visited the Simon-owned Opry Mills mall in Nashville, Tenn. The Opry Mills mall underwent renovations after flood damages in May 2010, and reopened earlier this year.

The renovated Grapevine Mills mall will have the look and feel of the renovated Opry Mills mall, which will be used as a template, Rumbelow said.

Lease was impressed by the renovated Opry Mills mall, which featured more use of stainless steel, glass and natural lighting.

"They had to use lightweight technology to create some floating clouds to enhance the interior design of the mall — it absolutely just blows you away," Lease said.