On the site where North Hills Mall once stood, Centurion American Development Group broke ground this week for a 52-acre mixed-use development in North Richland Hills. The new development called City Point is expected to include 366 single-family homes, 400 to 600 new apartment units, and 60,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.
For nearly 40 years, North Hills Mall was a major player in the mall game when it opened in 1979 with anchor stores such as Foley’s and Sanger-Harris, a children’s museum, a patio-style indoor food court, and a theater. It was originally part of a 2,100-acre farm owned by Marsh and Catherine Calloway.
But the resurgence of nearby North East Mall, located just across the freeway in Hurst, along with the troubled Citywalk at Calloway Creek development led to the mall’s closure in 2004, and eventually, its razing in 2007.
“When the mall closed in ’04, of course, there was the tremendous disappointment of losing a mall, and it had some financial impact on the city’s budget,” North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino said at the groundbreaking. “But looking at what malls are going through today, in hindsight, maybe we were ready for the pandemic, financially.”
The mall area has always been in a part of North Richland Hills that seemed ripe with potential. It was near the mixmaster that brought Northeast Loop 820 and Texas 121/183 together near Texas 26. Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is about 15 minutes to the east on Texas 183. Downtown Fort Worth is minutes away south on the other.
“We’re excited to celebrate the next chapter in the life of this property,” North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino said at the development’s groundbreaking this week.
Gunter-based New Synergy Homes will build the development’s bungalows and urban homes. Plano-based CB Jeni will build the townhomes, and Cleveland-based NRP Group will build the multifamily residences.
In addition to single- and multi-family homes, City Point will include an amenity center, a trail system, and open green space. The commercial space will focus on restaurants and retail shops.
City leaders have had their eyes on developing the project for years. In 2012, a citizen bond committee recommended moving the North Richland Hills City Hall to a portion of the old mall site to spur development. Voters approved the plan and the new city hall opened in 2016. The property around city hall was rezoned into a Planned Development Zoning District, and Centurion bought the site with the intention of redeveloping the land into a master-plan, mixed-use community.
The groundbreaking at city hall, which adhered to COVID-19 safety protocol, included Trevino, North Richland Hills city council members, and Centurion CEO Mehrdad Moayedi.
Moayedi has close friends in that part of Tarrant County and grew up in nearby Bedford.
“For me, this is somewhat of a homecoming. I grew up down the street,” he said at the groundbreaking.
Craig Hulse, North Richland Hills economic development director says the $200 million project will attract new residents and businesses. North Richland Hills is Tarrant County’s third-largest city with 70,000-plus residents and 1,200 businesses.
“It brings a good tax base to their city,” says Sean Terry, Centurion’s chief operating officer. “I think (city leaders) feel good about having a place where city employees can walk over to eat in a restaurant and live on site.”
City leaders chose Centurion because it brought a quality portfolio to the project. Centurion has developed 120 master-planned communities, including Collin Creek in Plano, The Riverwalk at Central Park in Flower Mound, Entrade in Westlake, Mercer Crossing in Farmer’s Branch, and Founders Parc in Euless.
Every development is unique, Terry says. But the City Point development will look a lot like The Riverwalk at Central Park in Flower Mound, he says.
Already City Point’s infrastructure — streets, sidewalks, street lighting, water lines, sewer lines, and drainage improvement — have begun. The project is expected to take seven years to fully complete.
Centurion has experience in mall redevelopment. The company is reshaping the former Collin Creek Mall in Plano. Also, The Riverwalk has a nearby medical center and City Point will have Medical City North Hills, a 176-bed hospital surrounded by three additional professional office buildings.
“What we’re doing is kind of the staple on mixed-used developments and how to redefine malls,” Terry says. As the pandemic reshapes how people live and shop, “we may look at doing this more,” he says.