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Vista Ridge getting new name, strategy

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Maria Halkias, The Dallas Morning News

Owners to invite performers to Music City Mall to increase traffic

Lewisville's Vista Ridge Mall has a new owner from Texas that plans to spend money on the struggling mall and entice shoppers back with some local entertainment.

Odessa-based ICA Properties has a formula that worked in West Texas, and the company apparently believes it could work in suburban Dallas, too.

The mall is being renamed Music City Mall at Vista Ridge, and new signs are going up soon. The new owner hasn't responded to an interview request, but the company has talked with city of Lewisville staff about plans that include spending $3 million to $4 million on Vista Ridge.

ICA wants to invite local musicians and school groups to perform at the shopping center, said James Kunke, Lewisville's community relations and tourism director.

"They want to create reasons for people to come in and linger with performances from school groups and other local musicians while they actively pursue new retailers," Kunke said.

Vista Ridge still has all its anchors — Dillard's, J.C. Penney, Macy's and Sears, and a Cinemark Theater — but it is only 72 percent leased as stores have closed and traffic has declined.

The Music City Mall in Odessa, which was 60 percent leased before ICA bought it, is now around 90 percent leased, Kunke said.

Vista Ridge was turned over to its lender more than a year ago. ICA purchased the common area and the store space other than the anchors — a total of 376,023 square feet — at an auction for $17.3 million last month. That was below both the balance on the loan, $64.3 million, and the most recent appraised value of $34.5 million.

"We look forward to working with the new owners. We're happy to see someone willing to make an investment in the mall," Kunke said.

The new mall manager, Richard Morton, has city manager experience, Kunke said. Morton has met with Lewisville officials. When the new owner first met with the Vista Ridge staff, Lewisville director of economic development Nika Reinecke was invited to attend the meeting.

ICA owns other strip shopping centers in Odessa and an anchor site at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to its website.

FEATURED PHOTO: Lewisville's Vista Ridge Mall is being renamed Music City Mall at Vista Ridge, and local musicians and school groups will be invited to perform there. The Dallas Morning News/file photo