THE SHOPS AT WILLOW BEND: PLANO, TX
Posted March 29, 2006 (user submitted)
The Shops at Willow Bend opened shortly after the September 11, 2001
terrorist attacks, just in time for the economy to gown downhill. It
was a very expensive project of the Taubman Co, and was touted as an
ultra-upscale shopper's paradise, which fits with the surrounding
affulent community. They even offered to buyout the 2 year old Home
Depot across the street and knock it down, because it didn't fit their
idea for this "upscale" area. Home Depot declined and still operates a
thriving store there next to a successful Costco.
It was targeted to be an upscale "fashion oriented" mall. They were
very selective about who they would have as tennants. No Sears,
Mervyn's, Kohl's, Beall's or movie theatres for example.
At the grand opening, it was less than 70% leased. Many of the original
stores were the "first and only" location in the state of Texas. A few
years later, most of those stores were gone.
The "deluxe" food court lost several tenants, including two full
service fancy restaurants, which are still vacant today.
Foot traffic is always weak, even on Friday and Saturday nights when
most other local malls are packed. Many small shops have gone under,
although management is quick to cover up those shops with wallboard so
it looks as if there was never anything there to begin with. I suppose
that gives a better impression than seeing a bunch of vacant
I would point to these primary factors for the lack of success of
If you're going for a fun day of shopping with your wife/girlfriend, do
you think most men will want to go here or to the other malls where
they can "run off" and do man stuff, and meet up with their honey
- Opening right after 9-11
- Having no entertainment venues.
- Having only "expensive" stores, no moderate priced stores.
- Having nothing for men. Okay, there is a Sharper Image and a
Brookstone, but that's it fellas. There is absloutely no reason for a
man to go to this mall. Everything is geared towards women. While most
malls target females, they do have stuff for guys, such as RadioShack,
Sears (tools, electronics, applicances), arcades, sporting goods
stores, electronics stores, etc. Willow Bend has none of these.
Saks Fifth Avenue was to open in 2004, but was delayed for more than a
year for "unknown reasons." It is open today.
Of the 5 anchor stores, Lord & Taylor now sits vacant, victim of The
May Company's decision to close several stores, even before the
Federeated merger. Rumor has it Sears is interested in that space, but
management doesn't want "that kind of store." Penney's is also too "low
brow" for them, but I don't think Penney's is even interested.
There aren't any other major department stores in Dallas, so I guess
they'll just let it sit vacant until they change their minds about
Sears or Penney's.
In the past year, management has been more liberal about who they let
in, including more "non-traditional" tenants such as doctor's offices,
military recruiters (under discussion) and a sales office for a nearby
luxury car dealership.
This isn't exactly a dead mall, at least not yet. I know from firsthand
information that the Neiman-Marcus and Dillard's are profitable. I
assume Foley's must be making money as this store is not slated for
closure due to the merger; it will soon become a Macy's.
Bottom Line: Willow Bend could go either way. If new management were
brought in, along with new thinking and more variety, I'm sure this
could be a success story. As far as the whole mall closing, I find it
unlikely simply because it really is a great location, and too many
people (including the government) have too much at stake.
Sidenote: The first ever "upscale" Wal-Mart Supercenter just opened
diagonally across the freeway. Fake wood floors, wider aisles, huge
wine selection, no guns, no big automotive section and no fabric department.
www.shopwillowbend.com - Official Web Site of the Mall
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