ALLEN, Tex. — The hotly competitive and increasingly crowded Dallas area retail scene has a new player that’s using wealthy demographics, a focus on women and Mother Nature to win shoppers.
Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm, a 52-acre upscale shopping and lifestyle center that opened here last month, is located in the midst of a lush country setting with lakes, hills and a natural amphitheater. Cultural elements include small parks, interactive public art and outdoor fireplaces.
Watters Creek is part of the 500-acre Montgomery Farm residential development taking shape in this wealthy town of 80,000 people, where the median family income in 2006 was $101,120, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s more than double the $49,740 median family income in 2006 for nearby Dallas, which had a population of 6.1 million.
Trademark Property, a real estate developer based in Fort Worth, is counting on such upscale numbers to generate up to $700 a square foot in retail sales at Watters Creek, which it calls a “retail resort.” The project contains more than 300,000 square feet of shopping, including Swarovski, Vera Bradley, Victoria’s Secret, White House|Black Market, Ann Taylor Loft, Chico’s, Eddie Bauer, Francesca’s Collection, New York & Company and Origins. Other signed tenants scheduled to open this year include Banana Republic, Sephora and Jos. A. Bank.
Phase I also includes 80,000 square feet of office space and 233 residential lofts. Future plans contain luxury hotels and spas.
Watters Creek is targeting upscale women ages 25 to 55. In partnership with the City of Allen and civic and business groups, Trademark conducted female focus groups to tap their shopping, dining and family outing preferences.
“It really doesn’t make sense to get the customer’s opinion after you’ve already built the place because then you’ve already made potential mistakes or missed out on opportunities,” said Terry Montesi, chief executive officer at Trademark.
Women account for about 80 percent of all consumer spending in the U.S., which equates to nearly $2 trillion a year, according to Andrea Learned, co-author of “Don’t Think Pink,” a guide to marketing to women.
The Dallas area is already heavily stored and claims to have more shopping and retail venues per capita than any other U.S. city, according to the City of Dallas, which estimated there are 26 square feet of retail space for each person in the metropolitan area, compared with the national average of 14 square feet. An estimated 20 million square feet of retail space is set to open in the region from 2010 to 2012.