By and  on August 3, 2005

DALLAS — The Nasher family is taking NorthPark Center to a new level of luxury.

The first phase of the $170 million, 750,000-square-foot expansion and renovation will usher in several high-end retailers new to Texas, including Juicy Couture, Ted Baker, Custo Barcelona, Lancôme, Vilebrequin and Porsche Design. A total of 27 new stores, with other mall standouts such as Charles David, Hugo Boss, Puma, Coldwater Creek and Cole Haan, in addition to a Nordstrom, are slated to open on Nov. 11. Barneys New York also is rumored to be moving into a former Lord & Taylor anchor space. When the expansion is completed in April, NorthPark managers predict that sales will nearly double to more than $1 billion annually, rendering it one of the top five producing malls in the U.S.

Asked about Barneys as a possible tenant, NorthPark marketing manager Christine Szalay grinned and said: "No comment, but you see I'm smiling."

Dawn Brown, a spokesperson for Barneys, said, "At this particular point, everything is just speculation."

Barneys, though, is definitely on the minds of some of the tenants moving into the center. Neiman Marcus, Foley's and Dillard's already have homes in the mall.

"NorthPark is the best tenant mix of any mall in Dallas or Texas," said Thierry Prissert, chief executive officer of North America for Saint-Tropez-based swimwear company Vilebrequin. "With the department stores there, especially the new Barneys, it really makes itself stand out from any other mall in Dallas."

"NorthPark's expansion makes it by far the best luxury shopping destination in Texas," said a spokesperson for Porsche Design, which will sell men's luxury accessories in a 1,200-square-foot store in the mall. "It has the department stores we want to be near, the brands we want to be near and the owners are flexible and easy to work with."

The mall long has been a central shopping spot for residents of Dallas and its wealthy Highland Park and University Park neighborhoods, and though it will balloon to a massive 2.4 million square feet once the expansion is completed, the owners intend that the development will keep its community feel and arts-focused public space.Nancy Nasher and her husband, David Haemisegger, who own the mall in a joint venture with the real estate investment trust the Macerich Co., hired OmniPlan, NorthPark's original architect, to design the additions. They are currently scouting for artwork to place in the new wings. Works by Andy Warhol and Frank Stella are among those that rotate through the corridors, and Jonathan Borofsky's "Five Hammering Men" — 14-foot-tall mechanized steel sculptures — are favorites of the public.

In the expansion, broad 30-foot skylights and bigger windows will shed more natural light than is the case in the original buildings. The dark concrete floor will be accented with polished mocha-colored stone from Tunisia instead of the tile in the existing structure, which is due to be renovated with the new stone next year.

Szalay said the center will be better merchandised with "neighborhoods" of like stores, including luxury, contemporary fashions, classics such as Talbot's, teens, children and stores with general appeal such as Gap, Foot Locker and Sharper Image.

Two new corridors opening in April will house classics, teens and children's, all of which have had relatively small representation at NorthPark. At the same time, NorthPark also will unveil a 1.4- acre grassy garden bordered by trees in the center of the quadrangle. With a long, narrow fountain gracing one side, the green will be a haven for relaxation and events, such as fashion shows, concerts and parties. Other entertainment ventures include a new 15-screen AMC movie theater on a third story overlooking the park, 25 more restaurants and an open-air food court to pump up the entertainment roster.

"NorthPark is an absolutely beautiful center, and Custo's customers are there in droves," said Joshua Strauss, a managing director at real estate brokerage RKF and representative for Custo Barcelona, which will open a 2,500-square-foot store. "It keeps the exclusivity high in the luxury area of the mall, and they have amazing department stores there and coming there soon. It's a true one-stop shopping center."

NorthPark's 94-acre plot still has room for more structures on its north side. The owners have some tenants lined up for later phases of their current expansion, including Tod's, Occhiali Da Sole, Hanna Andersson, Club Libby Lu, Everything But Water, Swatch and Clark's, which will open in 2006 or later.

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