News Article | 6/24/2009

Alliance Town Center Lassoes the ‘Moon,’ Shoppers Swoon

The Alliance corridor’s retail appetite appears insatiable, with Sam Moon Center just the latest outpost beckoning shoppers.

“The biggest thing has been the tremendous residential growth in this area since 2000,” said David Pelletier, a spokesman with Hillwood Development, which oversees Alliance Town Center at 9120 North Freeway.

Since opening in late 2006, the 500-acre retail hub has drawn not only nearby homeowners, but also shoppers from afar.

“It’s pulling in lots of people west of here — Wise County and those areas,” Pelletier said. “Instead of going to some of the malls that are closer to the city, it seems to be a popular alternative.”

Decidedly popular is Tarrant County’s first taste of the retail phenomenon that’s made Sam Moon a fixture in Dallas. Women flock to showrooms in Dallas, Frisco and Houston, where imported handbags, scarves, belts and other items outfit shoppers while taking less from their wallets.

In fact, snapping up trendy designs at wholesale prices has built a following some believe borders on cult status.

“It’s amazing,” said Pelletier, recalling the recent grand opening of Sam Moon Center, anchored by the Sam Moon Trading Co. and featuring a Sam Moon Luggage & Gifts store.

“Someone referred to it as it was like Christmas at a shopping center on Saturday, it was so busy.”

Earnings and employment impact are hard to measure, said Terry Montesi, founding partner of Trademark Property Co., which has helped develop Alliance Town Center.

“It’s hard for us to track since Sam Moon has opened whether our traffic has changed materially,” Montesi said.

Sam Moon officials were not available for comment.

“There’s clearly a pent-up demand for retail services in the area, and that’s a big part,” Montesi said.

How many of the estimated 28,000 jobs in the Alliance corridor are tied to growing interest in the retail center is unknown, but it now boasts about 700 restaurant and retail jobs, Pelletier estimated.

Its success appears, at least in part, attributed to the real-estate axiom “location, location, location.”

“The fact that it’s a material entertainment corridor, with Texas Motor Speedway, Cabela’s, etc., and the fact that it draws people from many places has helped,” said Montesi.

Montesi said his company’s leasing agent receives at least 20 calls a week from prospective lessees.

“We’ve signed leases and LOIs [letters of intent] lately and have lots of prospects working right now.”

Word of mouth has helped feed the momentum.

“When there are other retailers doing well, they hear about it. The word’s out.”

With about 3,000 homes built nearby since 2001, Pelletier said, not to mention new facilities springing up at the shopping center, a development slowdown appears unlikely.

A McDonald’s restaurant and Rooms To Go showroom are just two projects in the pipeline.

Negotiations are under way for more restaurants.

“There’s been an interest from restaurants because restaurants that are there are doing very well,” said Pelletier.

Those include Jason’s Deli, Kincaid’s Hamburgers, Which Wich and others.

Asked to pick the site’s top franchisers, and Pelletier didn’t miss a beat. “All of them,” he said.