With an abundance of retail developments, Southlake is often branded as one of the best shopping destinations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by residents, officials and out-of-towners.

The opening of outdoor equipment retailer REI in early November in Park Village introduced area residents and shoppers to a type of commercial development Southlake has never had before–an upscale development containing a mix of tenants that focus primarily on healthy and active living.

Peter Jacobsen, president of Woodmont Co., which developed, managed and leased the development, said the project is unique in that it has tenants that support many aspects of the health spectrum.

"The project has gained a healthy and active-lifestyle mix of tenants," he said. "For those consumers who like to get out and do outdoor activities and exercise, we have tenants such as REI, Orvis, Luke's Locker and The Pilates Barre. We also have Fresh Market for them to purchase healthy food and Modmarket that fits the healthy concept of a restaurant. We intend for that type of mix to continue to build in the project as we continue to lease tenants."

While the opening of grocer Fresh Market is slated for later this year, Jacobsen said a large portion of the remaining tenants will open between March 15 and April 1.

Constructing Park Village

Southlake Mayor John Terrell said although the development is in close proximity to the Shops of Southlake and Southlake Town Square it is expected to flourish because of its layout and design as well as its tenants.

"Park Village will have a slightly different environment compared to Town Square, but it will be complementary to it," Terrell said. "It's different than any other development we have because it offers a little bit more of variety. While it will still have the same upscale feel [as Town Square], the stores and restaurants are unique in that they are very picky on where they choose to locate. We have been calling it a mini Bellagio [a luxury resort area in Vegas]."

To give it a Bellagio feel, Jacobsen said construction workers are installing a 3,000-square-foot fountain that will feature lights and a seven-minute show every hour on the hour, two more small fountains, a fire pit, and color or stamped concrete throughout the development.

"Also, there will be no curb around the buildings, which is really atypical, but we did it on purpose because that area is programmable," Jacobsen said. "We can hold an event there, or we can put bars down and keep cars away. Also, people could trip over the curbs and hurt themselves, and we wanted to create a pedestrian-friendly environment."

Though the project will have appropriate surface parking, Jacobsen said it will also have two free valet stations available.

Jacobsen said the development differs from Town Square in a number of ways, starting with the tenants.

"Number one this project will have a great number of restaurants in the development, which Town Square does not," he said. "We will also have more regional and local retailers in the project instead of national tenants. Most of the tenants in Town Square can be found in malls. We are also creating a dining district while providing the community with healthy and active shops and boutiques."

Economic advantages

Shannon Hamons, director of economic development and tourism for Southlake, said Park Village would not only add to the city's revenue, but it would also help attract other businesses and distant shoppers.

"Preliminary estimates indicate that Park Village will generate about $200,000 annually in property taxes and about $500,000 a year in sales taxes for the city of Southlake," he said. "Then beyond income tax collections, we will develop an expanded economic impact estimate that considers job creation and spin-off revenues that can be expected in the immediate area."

Park Village will also help to enhance the branding of Southlake as the ultimate shopping destination to locals and nonresidents, Hamons said.

"Southlake has become known in the DFW area and beyond for its extensive shopping opportunities," he said. "In fact, it is estimated that 75 percent of all sales tax collections are generated from non-Southlake residents that visit our community. So one of our major goals is to continue to attract shoppers not only from the DFW area but from areas as far away as Oklahoma. We have strong evidence that Southlake is a multiday destination for shoppers. It is our goal to make that experience well-rounded in not only for the shopping experience but also in dining and other recreational/tourism opportunities."

First tenant

REI has hired more than 50 employees to staff its store.Store Manager Dia Hodnett said not only did the company hire most of the employees from the surrounding area, but it is also donating to and investing in local organizations by building trails, restoring habitats and donating supplies.

From a corporate standpoint, Hodnett said Southlake was a perfect location for the store.

"REI has 15,000 active members within 15 miles of the Southlake store," she said. "Not to mention we are so close to Lake Grapevine where you can see the whole gamut of outdoor sports played out–from camping to kayaking to recreational walking. So it just makes sense for us to be here. We want to be that retailer that provides them with great gear so that we can help their outdoor experience be memorable."