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[IMGCAP(1)]ALLEN, TX-With the International Council of Shopping Centers’ retail showcase just weeks away, MGHerring Group is ready to reveal its national retail lineup for the one-million-sf Village at Allen, part of a $1-billion mixed-use development north of Dallas. The stack of signed deals will fill 70% of the 400-acre, two-phase project.

The Allen-Fairview corridor is pushing out more retail than possibly any other submarket in Dallas/Fort Worth. As a result, speculation and competition is rampant about MG Herring’s side-by-side mixed-use projects at the corner of Stacy Road and US Hwy. 75. “It’s been all speculation until now. Some are true; some aren’t true,” Gar Herring, president of the Dallas-based development group, tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re very fortunate to have such a strong national group of tenants. We’re mixing the best of each of their types of merchandise.” Still under wraps is the tenant roster for the 1.4-million-sf Village at Fairview.

Confirmed anchors for the first phase are Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us. Another dozen nationals are part of the 300,000-sf phase one, with seven others in line for the 400,000-sf phase two–all listed at the end of this article. The remaining 300,000 sf are incorporated into the two phases, but will be added as needed as the project moves along, according to Herring.

“The walls are going up, concrete is being poured and people are asking and wondering who’s coming,” Herring says. The first shops will start to come on line in mid-October and continue through March 2009 when the second phase opens. The Village at Fairview will open in August 2009.

Herring says the delay in disclosing the roster was because “we wanted it to be accurate and true and hit with a bang of all the names or as many as we could get at one time.” Although there are deals pending, he says the strategy includes keeping some space available until the Village at Allen opens so there is room to fill in the merchandise mix. The goal is always to hit 100% occupancy by the opening, but the industry knows it doesn’t always happen.

[IMGCAP(2)]The momentum with MGHerring’s two projects and its neighbors is “validating Stacy Road and 75 as the commercial hub,” Herring stresses. “People will associate both projects together as one of the largest commercial hubs in the metroplex.” A 220-room Courtyard by Marriott and adjoining 35,000-sf conference center will open with the Village of Allen’s second phase of retail. In October 2009, the 6,275-seat Allen Event Center is slated to open. The two projects also include 500,000 sf of office space.

Despite the oft-reported disconnect in the industry right now, Herring says the dynamics of the sister developments overcame all obstacles. “We’ve always had confidence in this project. We’re very fortunate that Dallas is still the strongest economy in the country and the Allen-Fairview trade area is one of the strongest in the metroplex,” Herring says. “It’s under-retailed and the retailers realize that and know they need a store here to fill that void.”

Herring says there are still several years to burn on the construction loan from Bank of America for the two projects. When they are stabilized, which he puts at 95% occupancy, he says the plan is to refinance and not sell although institutional investors have made some inquiries.

“Our intent for a fortress-like project like this is to hold it forever,” Herring says. “This type of project is, even what my father calls, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Additional Phase One Tenants: Chase Bank, Cheddars, Cold Stone Creamery, Mattress Giant, Men’s Wearhouse, Nate’s Seafood, Olive Garden, Sleep Experts, Starbucks, Uncle Julio’s, Vitamin Shoppe and Which Wich.

Phase Two Tenants: PetsMart, Hemispheres, Anderson’s Furniture, Chair King, Famous Footwear, GameStop and Ritz Camera.

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