By  on January 24, 2005

NEW YORK — Through a two-year, $170 million expansion and renovation, NorthPark Center in Dallas hopes to join a very exclusive club — malls that generate more than $1 billion in annual volume.

Only a handful of U.S. shopping centers eclipse that mark, including South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., Ala Moana in Honolulu, King of Prussia outside Philadelphia, the Houston Galleria and possibly Tyson’s Galleria in McLean, Va., according to real estate sources.

NorthPark does have a long way to go to catch the field, and the Dallas area has become flooded with retail. Last year, the 1.4-million-square-foot center generated about $600 million in sales, or $615 in sales per square foot of leasable space. But the mall is projecting $890 million in sales in 2006 and $1 billion by the end of 2008.

The expansion project, under way since December, will add about 260,000 square feet for 110 specialty stores, as well as 30,500 square feet for restaurants and another 10,000 for the food court, potentially generating some $200 million in sales. The specialty store count increases to 200.

A 200,000-square-foot Nordstrom will open in November, which sources close to the project said should far exceed $100 million in yearly sales, and could approach $150 million, although Nordstrom has a unit only eight miles away in the Dallas Galleria.

An AMC 15-screen theater will open in April 2006, and two parking garages with 4,000 spaces should be ready in March, while the infrastructure, including new electric, gas, and sewer systems, also is getting an overhaul.

The gross leasable area will increase to 1.9 million square feet, from 1.4 million, making the mall the largest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There’s also a former Lord & Taylor unit that sits dark and may be carved up into retail spaces, though it’s not in development at this point.

The 40-year-old center last year sold a 50 percent stake to The Macerich Co., a large real estate investment trust, providing additional financial clout and property management expertise, though the original owners of NorthPark say Macerich has purely an investment interest and that the mall continues to be run independently.

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