And the picture above might have been the last word on the long Neiman Marcus Fort Worth romance, a relationship dating back to the mid 60s. Ridgemar Mall is a pretty sad place these days, almost a ghost town under one roof. And rumors have been rife for years that private equity owners Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ares Management have contemplated closing the Fort Worth location for some time.The Ridgemar store was an anomaly edifice in stark contradiction to the city’s current explosive growth and prosperity.
Well Ridgemar was then and the new location in The Shops at Clearfork is very now. Named for the bend in the Trinity River that embraces it, the 500,000-square-foot, open-air retail development is the latest chapter in the Edwards Ranch saga. It is a very Fort worth story. The in town Edwards Ranch was founded in 1848 by Lemuel J. Edwards. Its sprawling 7,000 acres once stretched from 7th Street southwest to the Clear Fork Valley, and nearly to Benbrook. The ranch has been prudently developed over the years and is essentially a real estate concern still managed by the fifth and sixth generation descendants of the Edwards family.
“Opening Neiman Marcus Fort Worth on the historic Edwards Ranch is an extraordinary opportunity to bring culture and fashion together in the heart of our city,” says Scott Mitchell, VP, general manager of Neiman Marcus Fort Worth. “It is an honor to continue to serve the Fort Worth community on the beautiful, historic Edwards Ranch. We are looking at this as the store of the future,” he adds.
The ultra-modern, tech-heavy store, the work of Alamo Architects, clocks in at approximately 95,000 square feet — smaller than the Ridgemar location, but with a more intimate, neoteric feel. The open concept cosmetics department will allow customers to freely test products. Magic mirrors are capable of recording make up sessions and emailing them for later review. Other tech features include digital store directories and charging stations.
“When you come to (cosmetic) brands on the floor, an associate can show you how to do your makeup and record it on this memory mirror and email it to you by piece,” said Neiman Marcus spokeswoman Mimi Sterling. “That means you can get a link for your eye portion and a separate link for your lip portion.”
Most of the art from the old location, including works by Frank Stella and Matisse, have migrated to the new venue. The NM Cafe replaces the Zodiac Room but retains signature favorites like popovers with strawberry butter and chicken consommé. The Men’s Store has been expanded and upgraded and there are private spa rooms, and an oval, glass walled fragrance room.
“This is a store of the future, offering a reimagined shopping experience,” says Karen Katz, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group. “Neiman Marcus Fort Worth promises to deliver the perfect balance of innovative technology with the service and incomparable fashion and luxury that has been the signature of Neiman Marcus for 110 years.”
At present, Neiman Marcus stands as the lonely anchor for The Shops at Clearfork, but a lease plan obtained by the Star-Telegram shows tentative commitments from stores such as Burberry, Tiffany, Tory Burch, and Louis Vuitton. Restaurants will include Houston based, Kobe beef steak house B&B Butchers & Restaurant, and Dallas soufflé eatery, Rise.