The Shops at Willow Bend haven’t had the best luck in the past, but with new owners and a new plan, that may change. A hotel and apartments are likely to go into the existing space while maintaining retail shops.
Local Profile previously reported that there were high hopes for the mall when it first opened twenty years ago. But a little over a month after Willow Bend opened, the September 11 attacks happened, and the opening was, as DeadMalls.com points out, “just in time for the economy to gown downhill.” Once the economy recovered, the close proximity to Stonebriar Centre didn’t help Willow Bend’s chance at success.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the new owners, Centennial, a Dallas-based real estate investment firm, purchased the mall in May 2022 with investors from Cawley Partners and Waterfall Asset Management.
The company plans to reduce the mall’s retail space, add residential homes and a build hotel. The mall has struggled to keep business inside and by reducing retail space, the demand will be greater.
“We’re still looking at a dominant mixed-use destination, and we’re pleased with the feedback from area residents who want to see the mall survive,” Whitney Livingston, president of Centennial, said. “But everyone also understands that we need to add different uses from what’s there now.”
The Dallas Morning News reported the property has plenty of undeveloped land that can be used to turn a profit. The property has 4,200 parking spaces, including three existing parking garages that are expensive to build.
But the shopping experience won’t go away. Livingston said Dillard’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, The Crayola Experience and the North Texas Performing Arts Center, will continue to be included in the redevelopment plans.
On top of the planned redevelopment, Centennial is also in “active negotiations” with more than one dine-in movie theater operator to take over Willow Bend’s abandoned theater.
It has not been announced when the company plans on starting construction for the redevelopment.