Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Lower Rents = More Yarn

Posted by    |    September 17th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

One of the best things about being in the retail real estate business is watching the ever-changing face of the retail landscape.  The past few years have been difficult at best as retailers pull back on expansion plans and shopping centers experience growing vacancy.  Nobody likes to see empty windows in shopping centers.

Growing vacancies typically mean lower lease rates as landlords strive to fill their spaces.

There is an upside to this trend, however.  Now that rates are more affordable, more mom-and-pops can take advantage of retail space they might not have been able to afford in the past.  More independent retailers means more cosumer choice and more unique merchandise.

One of my favorite examples of a new independent retailer opening in Dallas is Holley’s Yarn Shoppe.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a prolific knitter.  Like I tell my friends, “If I’m sittin’, I’m knittin’.”  Sadly, I am addicted to all things yarn.

Dallas knitters and crocheters don’t have very many yarn shops from which to choose.  Typical road trips include The Woolie Ewe in Plano or The Shabby Sheep in downtown Dallas.  But, hallelujah, now we have a yarn shop located right in the middle at which to feed our addiction.

Holley’s is a bright, friendly haven for yarn lovers located at the northeast corner of Inwood Road and Forest Lane.  The shop faces the Tollway – you can’t miss the bright yellow sign.

During my inaugural trip to the store, the ladies on the staff were enthusiastic and encouraged us to just c’mon in and pet the yarn. (more…)

Happy shoppers both north and south

Posted by    |    September 14th, 2010 at 10:18 am

Due to a couple of recent retail developments, I predict some smiling shoppers both north and south of the LBJ loop.

First, Old Navy has just signed a lease for its first new store in the entire United States in over two years.  The site is also Old Navy’s first location ever inside the loop.  The company will open a two-level, 23,326 square foot flagship space at the Shops at Park Lane located at the southeast corner of Park Lane and U.S. 75.

Shops at Park Lane

Second, Urban Outfitters just signed a lease for its first store north of the loop.  The 9,550 square foot lease at The Shops at Legacy is the company’s third store in Dallas/Fort Worth.  The store is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010.

Good news for Dallas, good news for these retailers, and great news for shoppers north and south who have been awaiting these concepts.

Shops at Legacy

Dallas Truly is the “Shopping Center”

Posted by    |    August 9th, 2010 at 11:33 am

If you were ever in doubt that the city of Dallas gave birth to retail in the United States, doubt no more!  Did you know that Dallas is the home of the very first planned shopping center in the country?  Moving on from the concentration of retail department stores located in downtown buildings, area developers were coming up with new ways to bring retail to the masses.

Highland Park Village (HPV), which received its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2008, was conceived by Edgar Flippen and Hugh Prather in 1928 and opened in 1931.  According to the designation record:

“…Highland Park Shopping Village represents a pivotal point in the evolution of the shopping center as a distinctive building type in 20th century American architecture.”

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The Shopper’s Architect

Posted by    |    August 6th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

The great retail department stores of downtown Dallas had much more in common than their Jewish founders and luxurious merchandise.  Some of the most iconic and innovative buildings in downtown Dallas were all designed by the same architect.

George Leighton Dahl is known as the brains behind the design of the Neiman-Marcus Building (1927, 1618 Main St.); the Titche-Goettinger Building (1929, 1900 Elm St.); the Volk Brothers Buildings (1930); the Mayfair Department Store (1947, 141 Elm St.); and Philipson’s Fashions (1949, Elm at St. Paul).  He even designed 32 stores for Sears Roebuck.

Dahl was an adaptive architect.  According to the Handbook of Texas Online, “In contrast to contemporaries O’Neil Ford and Howard R. Meyer, who developed their own unique styles, Dahl, as critic David Dillon noted, remained a stylistic chameleon who produced works to suit the needs and tastes of his clients.”

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Merchants Yes, But Leaders Too

Posted by    |    August 3rd, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I ran across a great article from D Magazine called “The Jews Who Built Dallas.”  The article details the Jewish professionals who came to Dallas and became a major influence on its economy and culture.  And many of our aforementioned merchants are discussed in the article as great leaders and businessmen of the time.

For example, The article calls Alex Sanger (of Sanger Brothers/Sanger Harris) “the most powerful merchant in Dallas in 1899 and an important player in the Jewish Community.”

Alex Sanger

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But where did it all begin?

Posted by    |    July 31st, 2010 at 11:40 am

Jewish immigrants at the port of Galveston

If we focus only on the history of Dallas retail from a Dallas perspective, we are blasting right past the fascinating roots of retail in Texas and, more broadly, the United States.

Many of the iconic pioneers of  Dallas retailing, after all, were not natives of Texas or even America. They were born in Europe to immigrant parents and only became part of the fabric of Dallas retail after years of living and working in different parts of the state and country.

It is interesting to note that some of the most well-known and influential Dallas retailing families were of Jewish descent.  The Marcus, Sanger, Hrris, Linz, Kahn and Volk families belonged to a group of Jewish merchants active in the cultural, economic, and political development of Dallas.

According to materials gathered and published in the Handbook of Texas Online (Handbook), “Jews have been part of the warp and woof of the Lone Star State since the period of Spanish Texas.”

Prior to 1821, Texas was a Spanish colony “where only Catholics could take up residence.”  If you were an openly practicing Jew, you could not legally live in the state.  But the earliest Jewish immigrants to Texas soon planted roots in places like the Brazos River (Samual Isaacks) and East Texas (N. Adolphus Sterne), and by 1838, outposts including Velasco, Bolivar, San Antonio, Galveston, Goliad and Nacogdoches were home to many early Texas Jews.

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When Downtown Was the Place to Be

Posted by    |    July 28th, 2010 at 9:20 am

Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, retail establishments in Dallas were located mainly in the downtown central business district, along Main, Elm, St. Paul, Austin, and Lamar Streets.  The real estate mostly encompassed large, multi-story buildings with street front parking.

Early examples in Dallas include Sanger Brothers Dry Goods, Titche-Goettinger, A. Harris & Company, Volk Brothers and others. 

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Dallas…Born to Shop!

Posted by    |    July 23rd, 2010 at 9:27 am

Having worked in retail real estate in Dallas for over, ummm, well, lots of years, I am amazed at the rich history of the area’s retail and shopping communities.  Dallas, after all, was settled in 1841 by John Neely Bryan as a trading post, and if that’s not a sign that Dallas was born to be a shopping mecca, I don’t know what is.

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