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FRISCO, TX-In an 11th hour move, Sportsman’s Warehouse has pulled out of lease negotiations to anchor a 340,000-sf second phase to the Centre at Preston Ridge. But amid the fallout, the developer has sights set on a new furniture retailer that’s surfaced for Frisco’s retail boom.

The Sportsman’s Warehouse loss has set back the $35-million, second-phase development by six to eight months, according to Justin Allen with Oakridge Investments Inc. But, the emergence of a new name for Texas with a 150,000-sf store plan has eased the pain.

Jim Gandy, Frisco’s economic development director, confirms to GlobeSt.com that he’s been approached by an out-of-state furniture chain now in the midst of a market survey. “They will be visiting us very soon…to look at the area and look at some property,” he says, careful not to tip his hand so as not to lose a top-draw retailer to North Texas competitors offering heftier economic concessions. The Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Ikea, now building in Frisco Bridges, got a $6.5-million package spread out over 10 years, but competitors like Fort Worth is bundling deals in the double digits. The highest to date surpassed $40 million for Cabela’s Inc. of Sydney, NE.

Gandy says the furniture retailer’s interest, though, clearly is tied to the 310,000-sf Ikea now rising on land carved from Oakridge’s Frisco Bridges and just a quarter-mile north of its Centre at Preston Ridge. “Ikea certainly has kicked up the critical mass of home furnishing retailers looking in Frisco,” Gandy says. “Before all is said and done, there could be another 200,000 sf in additional retail that wants to neighbor Ikea.”

The $40-million Ikea store, which broke ground in May, will open in spring 2005. If today’s plan works out, its first neighbor out of the ground will be a 30,000-sf Rooms To Go, which has three acres under contract. Negotiations also are underway with Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. of Bassett, VA, and talks have begun with Thomasville Furniture Industries Inc. of Thomasville, NC. Meanwhile, the Great Wolf Lodge of Wisconsin Dells, WI is planning an August visit. “Every new retailer that comes into the metroplex comes to look at our site,” Oakridge’s Allen says.

The construction start on a 30.1-acre second phase for the 934,000-sf Centre at Preston Ridge hinges on an anchor signing. With the Midvale, UT-based Sportsman’s Warehouse out of the picture, the hope is the new shopper will pick up the reins. Negotiations began in April with Sportsman’s Warehouse and cratered six days ago hours shy of the closing. The sporting goods retailer still has plans to open 20 stores in Texas, but a second one north of Dallas isn’t in the cards, Allen says.

Gandy says the new retail name will be shown all available sites in Frisco, but he admits Oakridge’s land is better positioned than most to win the nod because it’s already zoned retail and it’s near Ikea. In the six years since Oakridge bought 172 acres to create Frisco Bridges, it’s developed 1.3 million sf of retail on 132 acres. Ikea bought 25 acres and Oakridge is holding 40 acres for a shopping center and takedowns like Rooms to Go Inc. of Seffner, FL.

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