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Experiential Retail: 6 Places Getting It Right

There's no way around it: retail is changing. Long gone are the days of driving to a dry goods store, buying your toothpaste and going home. No one knows that better than Centennial Real Estate CEO Steven Levin and VCC Construction SVP Derek Alley. Before they speak at our retail forum on June 15, the gents broke down how retail is becoming more experiential, and which projects are excelling at it.


"When development can touch multiple aspects of someone's life, that's exciting," Derek (above with his daughter at the Colonial Country Club) tells us. "Dallas is taking experiential retail to the next level, and creativity is a premium more than it ever has been before."

Steven agrees that retailers are reinventing themselves to create better experiences. But with America offering more than 23 SF of retail space per person (which, as you'd expect, is more than any other country), he's quick to warn that more retail will dilute Dallas/Fort Worth’s robust market.

"DFW has a strong and dynamic retail market, but I hope it is cautious to simply add more retail," Steven tells us.

The Dallas market claims some of the best experiential retail anywhere. And if centers are looking to step up their retail game, they should take notes from these six shopping destinations


The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano

In addition to your usual suspects of home, fashion, tech and accessory stores, this shopping center delivers high on experience with family events like a musical petting zoo featuring Darth Vader and Disney princesses (we can’t make this stuff up), a kids’ Ladybug Express train and nearly a dozen restaurants and service stores. VCC’s client Starwood Retail Partners will soon transform the space with a 20-year history to become a new creative destination with an “outward facing energy that will be transformative,” Derek tells us. 

Highland Park Village in Highland Park

Come for the inventive French and Italian cuisine at Bistro 31 and stay for the luxury shopping. Highland Park Village’s 80-year history will be just the beginning if it continues to innovate with new stores, tasty eats, bold architecture and community events.

The Shops at Legacy in Plano

There’s no need to leave the ‘burbs—or the block—now that Legacy has come to Plano. Get a haircut, root canal, loan, new wardrobe, craft cocktail and killer steak before catching a movie or a spin class—preferably in that order.


NorthPark Center in Dallas

NorthPark celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and shows no signs of slowing down. 12 restaurants (plus a food court), Dallas’ most popular branch of the public library and hundreds of high-end stores are all overshadowed by NorthPark’s Christmas festivities with theand we mean theSanta Claus. Not to mention, the diverse visual art displayed at the center makes it one of the best galleries in the city.

West Village in Dallas

West Village in Uptown is a whirlwind of craft cocktails, fun boutiques, beauty services, quintessentially Big D eats and arguably the best movie theater in Dallas. While this center boasts all your Dallas essentials, it’s just as common to see out-of-towners and tourists spending a whole day here. 

The Plaza at Preston Center in Dallas 

If you live near Preston Center, you may never need to go elsewhere for your takeout, clothes, date night and even retirement accounts. Trunk shows, estate sales and launch parties keep frequent patrons coming back for more. Plus, Sprinkles has a cupcake ATM, so yeah.

Get your tickets for Bisnow's retail forum now and we'll see you June 15!