News Article | 5/6/2005

Firm: Mall is still on track

General Growth Properties has pushed back the opening date of a long-anticipated Westlake mall in a federal filing, but a spokeswoman for the developer said the project is still on target to open in fall 2007.

The later date for the opening of the Shops at Circle T Ranch was given to the Securities and Exchange Commission because it is more conservative and reflects when the company expects all parts of the mall to be completed, said Julie Jacoby, General Growth spokeswoman.

In partnership with Alliance developer Hillwood, General Growth has been planning the Shops at Circle T Ranch off Texas 114 since 1995. Foley’s, Dillard’s and an AMC theater have signed on as anchors for the 1.3 million-square-foot mall.

Construction will take 18 to 24 months, representatives of Hillwood and General Growth said.

Trent Petty, Westlake’s city manager, said mall developers have not yet submitted detailed plans for city approval so that crews can dredge nearby Lake Turner, design roads and build.

“There is the ability to fast-track portions of the project and build some of it simultaneously,” Petty said.

“But there are certain milestones that have to be completed first.”

Petty is used to the delays. He has drawn up two city budgets every year since 2000 — a conservative one without the mall revenue and one with more spending on town projects.

“We hope to be surprised one of these days when we have to put it in the budget,” Petty said.

He said recent developments in the mall and department-store businesses might be causing a slowdown, noting that planned anchors Foley’s and Neiman Marcus have recently been bought and that General Growth, the developer, also recently merged with the Rouse Co.