Texas mall re-do to include a performing arts center

Starwood Retail Partners’ $100 million renovation of The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas, will add genuine life to its re-imagined entertainment component.

North Texas Performing Arts and its Plano Children’s Theatre will make its new headquarters in a 23,000-sq.-ft. space at the mall, which is also getting eight chef-driven restaurants and a 30,000-sq.-ft. fitness center.

“By bringing the theatre to the center, we’re not only forging a closer connection with the community, but also a connection with education and the arts,” said Ed Coury, Starwood senior VP and director of leasing. “The Children’s Theatre has been a great influence on the lives of kids in the area for 25 years. We estimate that 200,000 people will come to the center to attend shows or wait for their kids while they’re rehearsing.”

Coury says the theatre group, which was extended a reduced rent, will re-brand itself as the Willow Bend Center for the Performing Arts.

The mall lost anchors Saks and Lord & Taylor when parent company Hudson’s Bay decided to exit the Texas market. Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware now reside in the former Lord & Taylor space

The former Saks location will be the site of the dining and entertainment center, which will benefit from new access off the George Bush Tollway. The restaurants, which have yet to be named, will flank a green space, and most will feature rooftop bars and dining areas.

“Up until now, California Pizza Kitchen was the most notable food and beverage component at Willow Bend,” Coury said.

Renovations began at the center earlier this year and additions will be introduced in phases beginning in mid-2017 and continuing through 2018. The center — which also includes anchors Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Dillards — will remain open during construction.