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April 15 , 2014

Big & Bigger: Lifestyle specialty stores exist alongside central park, water features

Big & Bigger: Lifestyle specialty stores exist alongside central park, water features

Published on Sunday, 13 April 2014 22:32

Written by 
Casey Murphy,

Construction of the massive 80-acre The Village at Cumberland Park is churning along as developers work to get all of the spaces leased by businesses wanting to come to Tyler.

David Wilson, of Dallas-based The Retail Connection, said about 60 percent of the retail center, which sits between Gander Mountain and Academy Sports + Outdoors, has been leased or is in the process of being leased, and they are about one-third of the way done with the construction project.

The site looks a little “snaggle-toothed,” he said, adding that they are bouncing around the development and putting in sections of buildings.

The developer said he expects some of the first stores to open in late September, and a number of them, equaling about 250,000 square feet of the lease space, will follow through the fall season.

Wilson said it is turning out to be about a 695,000-square-foot shopping center and could end up being even larger when it is complete next year.

He expects construction and leasing to be 100 percent completed and a grand opening celebration will be held in fall 2015.

Signs are going up throughout the center while TJ Maxx and Studio Movie Grill already have filed building permits. Others will soon follow, taking over the shell buildings built by developers and completing the spaces for their stores.

“There are a lot of people that weren’t in Tyler that wanted to be there,” Wilson said of businesses coming to the center. There has been pent-up demand here, and the new center will provide more opportunities for shopping, he added.

Some of the stores that will open include DSW Shoes, Famous Footwear, Maurice’s, Dress Barn, Skechers, Compass Trading and Gordman’s.

Abuelo’s is the first restaurant to finalize the deal with The Retail Connection, while The Village at Cumberland Park is expected to have several more eateries.

Shenaniganz, one of the first businesses to announce it was coming to the center, is no longer happening, Wilson said.

“We’ve got another operator we’re going to make a deal with … that will be as big and as entertaining as they were,” he said.

It will be a bowling-based entertainment group, but Wilson would not divulge any other details because the deal had not been finalized.

Wilson said that although only 23 tenants have signed to lease spaces in the center, they are the largest of the tenants except for the entertainment space. He said they also have a “large number” of additional proposed tenants at various stages in the leasing process.

Wilson said there is another “twist” that they are working on for the project and details would be coming soon.

The Retail Connection recently sold a small parcel of the land included in the 80 acres to Amit Patel, who will build a four-story Hampton Inn & Suites.


Patel, 32, is chief executive officer of finance and development for the Houston-based Lodgic Hospitality, which started in the Longview/Tyler area. He said they own the Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Candlewood Suites in Tyler, Homewood Suites in Longview and several other properties in Houston and other areas of Texas, as well as a property they are developing in California.

When the franchise contract for the Hampton Inn & Suites on Troup Highway runs out at the end of 2016, they plan to change the brand of that hotel and construct the new Hampton Inn & Suites in The Village at Cumberland Park development, Patel said.

“I was really excited about what was going on over there,” he said of the new development. “It’s one of the larger developments I’ve seen since I’ve been around over there.”

Patel was impressed with The Retail Connection’s similar development in Arlington and believes the restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues it will bring to Tyler will offer great amenities to hotel guests. In turn, his hotel will offer more customers to the retail center, he said, adding that it’s a win-win situation.

The four-story hotel will offer 107 rooms and will have 25 to 30 employees, Patel said. They expect to break ground on the project in June or July and open the hotel in the summer of 2015.

“It will be a neat addition to the project,” Wilson said. “The whole mix of this thing is really shaping up to be special.”


The project will bring a combination of smaller box stores, restaurants, lifestyle specialty type stores and service users, Wilson said. The center will have 12 main buildings and will have a “lifestyle element” to it, with a central park and water features.

The movie theater could open as early as spring 2015 and will be followed shortly after by the bowling entertainment business. He said most of the businesses lining the center will be open by the spring, followed by some of the smaller, surrounding tenants.

Wilson said they are building a new road surrounding the property and are taking the north and east sides of the property and tying them into the existing Market Square Boulevard, which runs off South Broadway Avenue.

He said they already have paid the Texas Department of Transportation to put in stop lights and the “fairly significant project” of lowering northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 69 to be aligned at the intersection of Market Square and Broadway Avenue, which he said is now “hazardous.”

The road construction project is expected to be completed in early September.

Mark Whatley, broker for Burns Commercial Properties, said he is working with businesses to locate in several spots surrounding The Village at Cumberland Park that are not part of that development.

He is working with a large retailer, which would require at least a 50,000-square-foot space, to go into an 8-acre site between the center and Academy. He also is talking with several retailers and restaurants that could go into a 1.4-acre site for sale just south of Christian Brothers Automotive, and there are 2 acres available for development at the corner of South Broadway Avenue and Cumberland Road, he said.

Whatley declined to name any of the businesses he is working with because none have finalized anything.

Whatley said earlier that about 100 acres remain across the road, as well as 100 acres behind The Village at Cumberland property ready for infrastructure to be built and developed.



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