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FAIRVIEW, TX-JC Penney will be the first anchor store to open at the one-million-square-foot Village of Fairview, north of Dallas. In addition to being the first retailer to open at the retail center north of Dallas, following the ribbon cutting ceremony on July 31, the 115,000-square-foot Penney store will be the first in the nation designed to LEED-certified standards.

Gar Herring, president of Village of Fairview developer MGHerring Group says the decision to go green was made by the Plano, TX-based JC Penney. “They wanted to make the jump into the LEED-certification world and felt that the location of Village of Fairview near its headquarters and the prominence of the project would provide a good opportunity,” Herring tells GlobeSt.com. Village of Fairview is at Stacey Road and U.S. Highway 75, approximately 10 minutes away from JC Penney’s headquarters.

He acknowledges there were a few challenges on the development side when it came to building a LEED-certified store. The main issue, he says, were the points JC Penney needed for certification. But most of it was fairly easy to coordinate.

Meanwhile, Village of Fairview’s second anchor Macy’s will open a few days later on August 5. Though the 120,000-square-foot Macy’s isn’t green, Herring says it’s a new prototype consisting of a one-level floor and an open format. The third planned anchor for Village of Fairview’s first phase is Dillard’s, which will open in 2010.

Further south, another MGHerring project, the 615,000-square-foot Uptown Village at Cedar Hill in Cedar Hill, TX recently signed leases for James Avery, a hand-crafted jewelry store; Papaya, which carries apparel and accessories for young women and Elnora’s Place, a restaurant specializing in home cooking. Herring says there are two reasons why the projects continue to have strong leasing activity. The first is Texas itself, a state that has been more or less immune from the recessionary problems gripping the rest of the country.

Second, Herring goes on to say, is where, in Dallas, the projects are located. Uptown Village at Cedar Hill and Village of Fairview (and sister development Village of Allen across the street) are in underserved areas that have households with high disposable income.

As a result, “tenants may not be doing as many deals nationally, but they’re stating they like parts of the D-FW market,” Herring remarks. “They’re saying they need stores in those areas of the market, and that’s what’s been helping us get the projects leased.”

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