Nearly a year after the Kroger in Highland Village closed, it doesn’t appear that a replacement grocery store is on the horizon, but there is progress to report.
The 61,374-square-foot space in the middle of Highland Village Town Center had been leased by Kroger from 2001 until November 2016.
The physical condition of the mostly-vacant shopping center at the northeast corner of FM 407 and Highland Village Road has fallen into decline since then.
“The good news is that the center is going under renovations for a new roof, skylights and repairing damages.” said Highland Village City Manager Michael Leavitt. “It will take 30- to 60-days to complete all the roofing. Just doing that is a significant financial investment by the owners.”
Highland Village Town Center is owned by New York City-based Brixmor Property Group, a real estate investment trust that has invested in more than 500 shopping centers in Texas, Florida and California.
“My contact [with Brixmor] is out of the Houston area,” said Leavitt. “And, they have DFW representatives; they’re the largest shopping center owners in America. They have [established] relationships with Fortune 500 companies.”
In addition to Brixmor’s reputation, the global CBRE property management company is the leasing company working to get new tenants for the six vacant spaces totaling 73,256 square feet.
“They’re actively pushing the [open] spaces,” said Leavitt of CBRE. “They’re ‘pounding the pavement’ in a tough retail market right now. Look at how Amazon’s having a big impact on major retail users; how many are contemplating bankruptcy.”
Lease negotiations are in progress with a small chain that specializes in home décor and fashion accessories for half of the grocery store space and discussions are underway with a furniture store for the other half, said Carter Butler with CBRE.
What is a potential draw for the Town Center is that it was zoned as straight retail since 1996 when it was built.
“Today, it would be more like a Planned Development (PD), with the city’s likes or dislikes in the document,” explained Leavitt. “That isn’t in the retail zoning which is good for them. From the flip size– the negative– is that the city has no say in what might be going in there. So, we’ll just have to let them make those decisions.”
Leavitt is optimistic that the zoning will prove as a positive factor. It includes restaurant and office, as well as typical retail businesses.
“It’s our goal– the council and staff members– to re-energize and get new retail into the center,” he said. “We hope to provide a new brand– a facelift– to the Town Center.”
What would you like to see at Highland Village Town Center? Tell us in the comments below.