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Creating a destination

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The Shops at Highland Village south courtyard
The Shops at Highland Village south courtyard

By the time holiday shopping season rolls back around, The Shops at Highland Village will sport a new look.

With an estimated $3 million to $4 million in renovations proposed to begin in the next few months, the look and feel of the almost eight-year-old shopping center at FM 407 and FM 2499 will change dramatically, says Terry Montesi, president of Trademark Property Co., which he founded in 1992.

“We want to make it more comfortable, inviting, easier to use and more connected,” he said of the plans to change both the north and south courtyards.

The project will go before the City of Highland Village Planning & Zoning Commission and then city council for approval. Montesi said he expected the application process would take about two to three months with construction to follow soon after. The transformation, he said, is expected to be finished by November – just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Residents will first see new directional signs, known as wayfinding signs, to guide shoppers to the many specialty shops inside the center. The next step in the overhaul will involve major landscaping improvements to “soften the environment,” Montesi said.

New seating areas, shaded pavilions, trees, grassy fields, large potted plants, floral and greenery landscaping and play areas will make both courtyards a place people can hang out and stay awhile, he added. See renderings here and here.

In front of Barnes & Noble, a large fountain will be surrounded by seating areas for shoppers to linger. Outdoor seating areas for Rockfish Seafood Grill and Blue Goose Cantina will be expanded with shaded tables overlooking the courtyards.

Trash bins will be relocated and some walls will be eliminated to open the center for more walkability and visual appeal,” he said.

“One of our big investments is to change the character and usability of the space,” Montesi said, adding the current design is more masculine with hardscapes.

Creating the urban parks will allow residents to use the areas as public spaces to “linger, connect and gather” for a picnic or to let their children run and play.

“It’ll be a pretty major transformation of the experience,” he said. “We really believe once this project is complete, it will be more than a shopping center. … definitely, we’d like the public spaces to be a destination.”

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