Little Towns With Big Appeal: Highland Village
Unlike many of its surrounding cities, Highland Village is landlocked at 5.5 square miles. The city of 17,500 people can only sustain about 1,000 more residents, but commercial development is a different story.
Highland Village’s commercial development is 100% based on retail opportunities, city manager Michael Leavitt said. “Our focus right now is on the redevelopment of older retail centers, and how to leverage the success of the Marketplace at Highland Village and the Shops at Highland Village for other retail.”
The city is working with projects like Brixmor’s 100k SF Highland Village Town Center, which lost its Kroger anchor in November, to address capital improvements and redevelopment.
But while Kroger exited Highland Village, Whole Foods and Walmart have continued to perform respectably. Leavitt says residents would like another grocer, but the town has proved to be a tough market. The hope is that revitalizing older shopping centers will bring renewed interest.
The 350k SF Shops at Highland Village is the city’s most noteworthy retail hub. Anchored by Whole Foods, AMC (pictured) and Barnes & Noble, the center at Justin Road and Village Parkway pulls retail dollars from several nearby towns. Across Village Parkway from the Shops, Marketplace at Highland Village is anchored by an LA Fitness and has several other national retailers and restaurants.
But there’s been considerable demand for professional office space in the last couple of years. Leavitt would like to see more planned developments with retail, restaurants and office together.
Some mixed-use developers are already trying to meet that demand. Landcore’s 15-acre District of Highland Village has townhomes, lofts, restaurants, retail and business storefronts that double as an apartment.
Only two sites of significant size remain for the city. With the completion of I-35 renovations in sight, Leavitt is getting more interest from developers for some 30 acres of transit-oriented developable land on I-35 just east of Doubletree Ranch Park.
The city is performing planning exercises and infrastructure studies on a 40-acre site near Lewisville Lake on FM 2499 to determine the best future for the site.
Both those tracts will take shape in the next five years or so, Leavitt said.