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December 15 , 2006

Work to start on new Weatherford shops

December 15th, 2006 - Cameron Stewart Senior Writer Dallas developer The Retail Connection plans to break ground Dec. 15 on a 300,000-square-foot, $40 million shopping center in Weatherford. Weatherford Ridge Shopping Center has plans for a 93,000-square-foot JCPenney and a 74,000-square-foot Belk department store as its anchor retailers. They aim to open in October 2007. "We'll have about four junior anchors which will be in the vicinity of 15,000 to 25,000 square feet," said Steve Lieberman, chief executive of The Retail Connection. "Then we should have 25 to 30 small-shop retailers with anywhere from 1,000- to 7,000-square-foot shops." Of the 35 to 40 retailers planned for the site, the developer says it has about 60% of its space fully signed with the other 40% of retailers in negotiations. Weatherford, population 24,000, is growing at a rate of more than 6% per year, according to Dennis Clayton, director of the Weatherford Economic Development Authority. "It's not only the rate of growth that's attracting retailers to Weatherford, but the quality of growth too," said Terry Syler, executive vice president of The Retail Connection. "The average household income is around $64,000 a year, and the median income is $50,000 a year." Retail hub The location of the shopping center project, at the southeast corner of Interstate 20 and State Highway 51, is rapidly becoming a retail hub for the area. Recent development there includes a 500,000-square-foot Weatherford Market Place anchored by Lowe's, Target and Kohl's. Over the next few years, Weatherford will spend about $52 million for highway expansion in that area, Clayton said. "It's directly related to the first retail development and the new one as well." In addition to retail, the shopping center also will have five to six casual dining restaurants, said Jim Ziegler, senior vice president of Connected Development Services, the development arm of The Retail Connection. "We'll have the hamburger place, Italian food, Mexican food and the steak guy," Ziegler said.
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