In the interest of full disclosure, I should go ahead and say that my husband works for Half Price Books. But honestly, I’d be a fan of the company regardless. I’ve always been interested in how Pat Anderson grew a company from a 1,000-square-foot laundromat into a national brand, all without relinquishing the used bookstore feel that makes the brand so familiar and cool. And while the company knows how to run a successful chain of paperback-filled, nostalgia-laden stores, is it ready for the world of real estate?
As you may know, Half Price Books is developing the lot opposite of its flagship store at Shadybrook and Northwest Highway. Outdoor retailer REI has already committed to anchoring the development with a 34,000-square-foot store set to open March 3, and there is an additional 13,000 square feet for other retail. Designed by Cunningham Architects, the center will definitely stand out with a cool modern facade.
It’s all in a very unique part of Dallas, Vickery Meadow, which is mostly dense apartment communities roughly bounded by Greenville Avenue on the west, Northwest Highway on the south, Park Lane to the north, and Skillman on the east. It’s a very ethnically diverse area that is sorely lacking quality retail, and is yet over-populated with bodegas, check-cashing stores, and sketchy corner stores.
“Half Price Books has always had a great relationship with Vickery Meadow residents, and we’re excited to help bring more retail options to the area,” said Half Price Books Executive Vice President Kathy Doyle Thomas. “Every Sunday this fall, we hosted the Vickery Meadow Local Market in the parking lot of our Half Price Books Flagship store. Our neighbors, businesses in the area, and the city of Dallas are very excited about our new development.”
As they should be. Honestly, the location is fantastic considering how accessible it is. In fact, this whole area is poised for rebirth, with a broad range of demographics, proximity to both transit and highways, and it’s just across Northwest Highway from a dense apartment community most people know as the Village. In fact, I’m pretty sure that almost all people who transplant to Dallas in their early 20s are drawn to the Village, a Lincoln Property Company development. I know I was.
It stands to reason that, with this development being so close to the Half Price Books flagship store, and in an area that is a retail desert, that the company would try its hand at commercial development at this particular spot.
“This is our first commercial development and we have learned a great deal from it,” Thomas said. ” As a retailer we are very sensitive to what a retailer is looking for from a landlord.”
True, in fact, as Thomas notes, the land has been occupied by Half Price Books for some time.
“The land we bought was the home of one of our old locations, a warehouse and Starbucks. We own the current Half Price Books Flagship location. Not only is it our flagship store, our corporate offices are upstairs. We do not plan on moving, so we wanted to protect our investment,” Thomas explained. “By developing the property ourselves, we get to decide who our retail neighbors will be. We are talking to different retail and restaurant owners whose customers complement ours. It is our hope that an REI customer will make a stop at Half Price Books for a cup of coffee and a book while they are in the neighborhood.”
Thomas says that Half Price Books hasn’t decided if the company will purchase any new properties to develop, and the only existing properties that the company owns are warehouse facilities.
Of course, Lincoln Properties has been tapped to lease the remaining retail components of the development, but Half Price’s corporate leadership hasn’t finalized the property management company. “It will be announced in the next week or so,” Thomas said.
“At this time, we do not have a signed lease for the two pad sites,” Thomas added. “If anyone is interested in leasing the 5,000 or the 7,000 square foot pad sites, please call David Lewis at Lincoln Properties.”
What other businesses would you like to see move in?