By  on August 3, 2011

DALLAS — Fashion sales at Highland Park Village average animpressive $1,782 per square foot, but managing director and co-ownerStephen Summers believes longer hours and a premium tenant mix can hikethat figure.

“We want to take Highland Park Village to the nextlevel,” he said. “We want it to evolve into an internationaldestination.”

The 250,000-square-foot shopping center is locatedin Highland Park, a wealthy, insulated enclave surrounded by Dallasthat’s known locally as “the bubble.” Facing Dallas Country Club, theVillage serves as the local shopping habitat, offering Chanel, Scoop NYCand Harry Winston as well as a supermarket, shoe repair and liquorstore.

Since Summers, his wife Elisa, and brother- andsister-in-law, Ray and Heather Washburne, bought the open-airSpanish-style complex in 2009, he has been courting premium labels forspace formerly occupied by Banana Republic and Harold’s.

“Wecould have filled it in a day, but we wanted the brands that wereright,” he said.

The newest high-end name joining the group isYves Saint Laurent. Summers said a lease with YSL is being finalized,and that store is expected to open in 2012. Stella McCartney is set toopen in September along with Hadleigh’s, a ready-to-wear sibling of theindependent custom clothing atelier located directly above.

BillyReid and Trina Turk bowed this summer, while Christian Louboutin, Dianevon Furstenberg and Leggiadro opened last year. Pucci and art galleristKristy Stubbs are testing the waters with year-long leases. Inaddition, Anne Fontaine’s success has prompted the retailer to double insize in a new location opening this month.

Reid’s1,300-square-foot store, which welcomed shoppers a month ago, is halfthe size of his former store at NorthPark Center but is producing morevolume, Reid said.

“Dallas was always one of our top two stores,but we wanted a more intimate, smaller space in an outdoor setting,” heexplained. “Half of our Highland Park Village business is newcustomers.”

New leases mandate evening and Sunday shopping hours,a radical change in a center where boutiques like Jimmy Choo andCarolina Hererra keep banker’s hours. But the Village also housesrestaurants that draw traffic in later hours, and Summers has been eyingthose people — and wishing they could shop.

“We’re up 31 percentthis June over June 2010 and 24 percent year-to-date,” Summers claimed.“Those numbers are based on six days worth of sales versus seven goingforward. Think about that in terms of where we can take this.”

Hermès,which signed on as the center’s first prestige tenant 24 years ago, hadits best year there in 2010, according to Robert Chavez, chiefexecutive officer of Hermès International.

“This year is shapingup to be yet another banner year,” Chavez said. “The center has donegreat things and it is drawing even more high-quality traffic. We areplanning an expansion in HPV in the next couple of years due to oursuccess there.”

Summers transformed the antiquated movie theaterwith a $5 million renovation and a sleek new restaurant atop themarquee. Another new eatery, a posh bistro with a patio, is due thisfall.

Landscaping at the 80-year-old center was also spruced up.The parking lot is dotted with live oak trees, lamppostsare draped with flags promoting local teams and charities. On rainydays, black Village logo umbrellas are placed around the center in hopesthat people will grab them and carry them off.

“We are trying tobring special and exclusive brands to attract Mexican consumers, MiddleEastern traffic and an international clientele,” Summers said. “KristyStubbs Gallery has some fabulous works — Lichtenstein, David Bates, aPicasso. If a Mexican consumer wants to shop and is thinking aboutHouston, we have the only Stella McCartney in the region, the onlyChristian Louboutin in Texas. We’re giving them more reason to chooseus.”

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