Monthly Archives: December 2016

Saddle Creek remodel nears completion


Ellen Collier | MBJ

Saddle Creek remodel nears completion
Written by: Meagan Nichols

Said to be the first lifestyle shopping center in the U.S., the Shops of Saddle Creek will soon complete its multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation.

Trademark Property Co., property manager for Saddle Creek, announced initial plans to update the circa-1987 shops in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and the project is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2017.

“In the retail development and property business, it is either evolve or die,” said Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark Property Co. “That property hadn’t evolved for 29 years. … Almost 30 years is way longer than is appropriate and healthy for a retail place. It was in, we felt like, dire need for evolution and refresh.”

That “refresh” has meant tearing down a two-story building on the southwest side of Poplar Avenue and West Street and replacing it with 20,000 square feet of new retail/restaurant bays on both the south and north portions of the shopping center. Improvements were made to the buildings’ exteriors, and 5,000 square feet of retail space was added to Saddle Creek North.

Not yet finished are items such as new signage, landscaping and other exterior upgrades to Saddle Creek North.

“We really wanted to put Saddle Creek in a position to once again become the dominate lifestyle and specialty retail concentration in the greater Memphis trade area,” Montesi said. “That was the goal.”

According to the company, since 2014, Trademark Property Co. has signed 18 new tenants — 12 new to market — to the center for a total of 57,000 square feet.

A few of the new-to-market tenants include Kendra Scott, Sur La Table and Soft Surroundings.

The center has seen a few notable brands like Coach and Kate Spade vacate, but Montesi said every retail center across the country has tenants come and go.

“Coach and Kate Spade — the folks that have not performed well at Saddle Creek — have been the folks that are losing their relevancy nationally,” Montesi said. “It was rarely a micro-situation.”

While exact figures were not provided, Montesi said sales have already started to rise since the improvements, which he said will have a positive impact on the community via an increase in sales tax.

“It is going to be a success for the retailer and a success for the owner and a success for the community,” Montesi said.

Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark Property Co. has managed Saddle Creek since 2011.

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Why Brick And Mortar Stores Won’t Go Away

Globe Street
Written by: Jennifer LeClaire

ATLANTA—The rise of e-commerce is undeniable. But omni-channel is the present and future reality. So says Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark Property.

Over the past 24 years, Trademark has invested in, developed or redeveloped 11.5 million square feet of retail property worth in excess of $2.1 billion. caught up with Montesi to get his insights in part one of this exclusive interview. What is your overarching view of the retail commercial real estate scene in 2017?

Montesi: The retail real estate industry is experiencing a rapid state of change. E-commerce has caused everyone to pause, consider how they allocate resources and put many of their brick-and-mortar investments on hold.

In 2017, we’ll continue to see online retailers venturing into brick-and-mortar, and brick-and-mortar retailers upping their game online. Omni-channel is where it’s at, and retailers and investors are embracing this hybrid model.

Retailers are using stores for distribution, pick-ups and returns. For many types of retail—fashion, food, et cetera—people want to see it, touch it, before they make a purchase.  Because of this, the physical store should remain at the core of retailers’ omni-channel strategies. What impact will urbanization have on the retail real estate industry in 2017? And what are the implications?

Montesi: Urbanization is not a fad, nor is people’s desire to live, work, play, dine and stay in high energy, interesting urban places with great public spaces. This idea rings true across all demographics and generations. Urban development is becoming more integrated, dense and energetic is currently a major trend that will continue in 2017.

At Trademark, we are creating retail ground planes that are public space-centric, and we’re finding that hotel and multifamily developers are not only very interested in being part of those projects, but are also willing to forecast higher rents because of the mixed-use environment. Similarly, the office projects that we develop as part of our mixed-use projects are either achieving higher rents or higher leasing velocity than competitors.

Find out how mall retailers are repositioning themselves in my recent column.

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Tiniest Tom Thumb in Fort Worth opens in WestBend


Written by: Rick Press

When you’re a grocery store named after a wee character from English folklore, size matters.

Fort Worth’s newest Tom Thumb, which opened Friday in the WestBend shopping area just east of University Drive, is about one-third the size of the chain’s typical store (South Hulen Street, for instance). But a quick visit to the cozy new market Sunday proved good things do come in small packages.

The emphasis at this “specialty” store is on expanded prepared food and deli areas, plus fresh and organic produce. That’s the first thing you notice as you enter the store, which will likely play well to the grab-n-go crowd.

But there is also a strong selection of meats and seafood at the counter in back. And, unlike a lot of specialty and boutique grocery stores, this tinier Tom Thumb still has all the staples in tightly organized aisles. (No second or third trips to a big-box store for name-brand soft drinks and cereal required.)

The aisles even have local street names, which gives it a neighborhood market vibe. For example, Aisle 1, or Forest Park Blvd., is where you’ll find bulk foods, cereal, sugar, spices, etc. There’s also University Drive and Vickery Boulevard, among others.

An expanded wine selection is smartly displayed at the front of the store, as is an in-store Starbucks, which is scheduled to open Wednesday, according to service manager Wanda Baylor.

(Of course, there’s a Starbucks across the street next to the Apple Store, and Ascension Coffee, a popular Dallas coffee shop, is slated to open in WestBend facing the Trinity River soon.)

Tucked back from University Drive and hidden a bit by The Silver Fox steakhouse, this Tom Thumb is located in the space of the former Fresh Market, which closed in May.

Albertsons, which owns Tom Thumb, also purchased two other former Fresh Markets in Dallas and is converting those as well. “Tom Thumb has had great success with smaller-format stores,” said Dennis Bassler, president of the Southern Division of Albertsons, in a statement earlier this year. “We look forward to serving our customers in these new neighborhoods.”

The WestBend Tom Thumb will be about three miles from an “urban” Tom Thumb expected to open early next year in the Left Bank shopping center at the base of the West Seventh Street bridge, the Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy reported in September. That store will be a two-story, 53,000-square-foot “urban concept” grocery.

Both of those Tom Thumbs join a very competitive and diverse grocery store market in Fort Worth with Central Market, Trader Joe’s and the city’s first Whole Foods not far away. Early next year, Dallas favorite Eatzi’s Bakery & Market is expected to open in the former Chili’s space across University Drive from the WestBend Tom Thumb. And then there’s Sprouts, Aldi, Kroger, Target, Wal-Mart and more.

But this specialty Tom Thumb seems to fit nicely between the big markets and the gourmet groceries. (Did we mention Dean & DeLuca, new sponsor of the annual Colonial golf tournament, is actively looking for a space in Fort Worth, too?)

As for where Tom Thumb got its name, just in case you were wondering, the company describes it this way:

“Back in 1948 two Dallas friends with family roots in the grocery business became intrigued with a new shopping concept. The men were J.R. Bost and Bob Cullum. The new concept was called ‘supermarkets.’ Together they bought a small local chain and for the first few years worked nights and weekends to upgrade the selection, quality and overall shopping experience. They made sure that, despite their small size, they could compete against the national chains. This eager customer service became represented by a friendly little cartoon figure in a grocer’s apron, the still instantly recognizable Tom Thumb logo.”

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Hot Hoods: Victory Park


Flickr/Brett Chisum

Written by: Julia Bunch

If Victory Park was ever in Uptown’s shadow, it isn’t now.  With big players such as Hillwood Urban, Hines, Trademark and an equity fund called UST XVI managed by Estein & Associates investing into the submarket, the 75-acre neighborhood has had enough experience and dollars to pull itself up by its bootstraps after the crash in 2008.  Starting next year, the American Airlines Center (pictured) and the Perot won’t be the only forms of entertainment for the ‘hood. A 44k SF Cinépolis theater with eight screens and 700 seats is coming to the northwest corner of Victory Park Lane and High Market Street.  More than a dozen restaurants, including Buzzbrews Kitchen, Havana Social Club and Victory Tavern, and retail concepts such as Read Between the Lines and Simply Elegant Dallas have already opened. At full build-out, Victory will have 200k SF of retail.

In addition to shopping, eating and Mavs games, Victory will soon have 1M SF of office space, including the 445k SF One Victory Park (pictured) with tenants such as Ernst & Young, Haynes and Boone, and PlainsCapital Corp. In June, Hines and UST XVI sold the 17-story tower to Clarion Partners. Nearly 4,000 units of multifamily will come from Alamo Manhattan, Camden Victory Park, SkyHouse Dallas, Victory Place, Ascent and Katy Station. Red Development’s The Union, a $300M mixed-use development on Field Street and Cedar Springs, hopes to connect Victory, Uptown and the Arts District. Victory developments have been alternately praised and criticized for using TIF funding for retail concepts, sidewalks and improved roadways. But the financing has undeniably made a difference. Since redevelopment started in 2014, developers and city officials have made Houston Street and Victory Avenue into a two-way street, added crosswalks and road signage and extended Katy Trail. More landscaping, public art, a parking garage and increased signage are underway. A full pipeline has us looking forward to Victory in 2017.

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Tesla Motors Gallery Opening at Market Street The Woodlands


The Woodlands Journal
Written By: Jason Franklin

Tesla Motors is opening a new gallery showroom at Market Street in The Woodlands.

Here’s what we know:

The new Market Street gallery in The Woodlands will join Tesla’s Houston downtown Galleria along with Houston North gallery, Supercharger and service center.

The Woodlands gallery is strategically placed in a high-foot and automobile traffic shopping center that will display the most innovative components of the Tesla Model S and Model X, highlighting Tesla’s market-leading electric powertrain and battery architecture.

Tesla takes an educational approach with all of their guests. Every Tesla location is staffed with highly knowledgeable staff who focus on spending quality time with each interested passerby.

With this personal and educational methodology, Tesla ensures guests understand the benefits of owning an electric vehicle and provides a full Tesla experience upon the guest’s visit.

The Woodlands gallery will not include a service center. However the nearest service centers are in north Houston and I-45 and another on Westchase Drive.

Tesla’s approach remains on educating and engaging customers, first and foremost, on their mission towards a sustainable energy future.

All Tesla locations include enticing visuals and an interactive design studio where customers can learn about sustainable energy and driving electric. The Woodlands location will conduct demonstration drives for interested customers.