Neiman Marcus is moving its Fort Worth, Texas, store to a mixed-use, open-air center that is taking root on 270 acres of prairie on the historic Edwards Ranch, a few miles southwest of downtown.
Set to open in February 2017, the Shops at ClearFork is a joint development by Simon, which hasn’t built a mall since The Domain debuted in Austin in 2007, and Cassco Development Co., the business arm of the Edwards family that has owned the property for 156 years.
“This sits in the middle of the affluent population of Fort Worth — where they live, where they work, where their kids go to school,” said Karen Katz, chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus Group. “So, this is an opportunity to build a Neiman Marcus store not too far from the old [one] in a market that has been very loyal to us for over 50 years.”
The project is expected to generate over $350 million in retail sales, noted David Contis, president of Simon’s mall division.
“This is one of the only new ground-up developments we want to do because it’s a terrific piece of real estate,” Contis said.
ClearFork, which is within sight of Texas Christian University, will house 510,000 square feet of upscale retail, 130,000 feet of office space and 390 apartments.
A compact hospital, the high-design interior of which resembles a boutique hotel, opened last month only steps away from the ClearFork apartments, which are under construction and set to be ready next year. Nearby on the ranch is a recently built community of mansions, and hundreds of building lots are on offer.
Neiman’s 90,000-square-foot store will be about 20 percent smaller than the unit it is set to replace at the nearby Ridgmar Mall, a midtier shopping center that has faced challenges, including a fatal stabbing last month. Due to efficiencies in the new layout, the space for merchandise will be about the same, a spokeswoman said.
Neiman’s first Fort Worth store opened on Camp Bowie Boulevard, then moved in 1977 to the Ridgmar.
“We are the largest landlord of Neiman Marcus. They generate almost $1 billion in our portfolio,” Contis pointed out.
Crawford Edwards, president of Cassco, said ClearFork is the first of three 270-acre parcels that he intends to develop. The ranch has almost two miles of river frontage that he envisions as a park.
“Our vision and goal is to be the number-one destination whenever you want to hike or bike or exercise — and the same with high-end shopping and restaurants,” Edwards said.
The Shops at ClearFork will resemble The Domain, with pedestrian sidewalks, seating areas and fountains, Contis noted.