Stores in Willow Bend have had bad luck in the past, but with new owners and a new plan, that could all change. The hotel and apartments are likely to occupy the existing space while retaining retail stores.
Local Profile It was previously reported that there were high hopes for the mall when it first opened twenty years ago. But just over a month after Willow Bend opened, the 9/11 attacks occurred, and the opening came, DeadMalls.com notes, “just in time for the economy to take a turn.” When the economy recovered, close proximity to the Stonebriar Center did little to improve Willow Bend’s chances of success.
According to Dallas Morning News, New owners, Centennial, a Dallas-based real estate investment firm, purchased the mall in May 2022, along with investors from Cawley Partners and Waterfall Asset Management.
The company plans to reduce the retail space of the mall, add residential buildings and build a hotel. The mall has struggled to keep business inside, and by shrinking retail space, demand will be higher.
“We are still looking for a dominant mixed-use destination and we are pleased with the feedback from local residents who want the mall to survive,” said Whitney Livingston, president of Centennial. “But everyone also understands that we need to add other ways to use what we have now.”
Dallas Morning News reported that the property has a lot of undeveloped land that can be used for profit. The hotel has 4,200 parking spaces, including three existing garages that are expensive to build.
But the shopping experience isn’t going anywhere. Livingston said Dillard’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, The Crayola Experience and the North Texas Performing Arts Center will continue to be included in the redevelopment plans.
On top of a planned renovation, Centennial is also in “active negotiations” with more than one theater operator offering a bite to eat at the abandoned Willow Bend cinema.
When the company plans to start construction of the redevelopment, it is not reported.