Retail in Denton continues to expand as two major developments open new stores, offering more options to local and regional residents.
At Golden Triangle Mall, the first phase of a major renovation already shows plenty of new stores, eateries and a new look and feel in the longtime retail development.
On University Drive, Rayzor Ranch Marketplace continues to add more businesses to its shopping center.
With the growth of these two shopping attractions, more people are opting to stay closer to home for dinner, entertainment and shopping — making Denton the center for additional development, officials say.
In the first phase of an initial $9.5 million renovation, visual signs greet customers walking into the now-33-year-old Golden Triangle Mall on the northwest corner of Loop 288 and Interstate 35E.
From newly installed landscaping, trees and directional signs to the vivid colors of renovated entrances, passers-by can easily see change is afoot.
A walk inside reveals even more changes. A new food court now offers a sitting area, and several new restaurants add Asian, Italian and healthy flavors to the existing mix of dining options.
Open so far are Italia Express and Smoothies Paradise. Tobu Teriyaki is expected to open Tuesday.
And, according to mall manager Matt Ludemann, it is just the beginning.
“We expect to add more restaurants in the near future,” he said during a recent tour of the mall.
The food court also features large flat-screen televisions for diners to catch up on three networks.
Bernadette Clancy said she’s seen food vendors come and go during the 25 years she’s worked at J.C. Penney in the mall, but she thinks having a food court will give the new businesses more staying power.
“I think it’s going to be really good once it opens because it’s more convenient to have one location,” she said recently.
Having more seating options — including leather chairs throughout the mall where people can rest or even charge their phones — will help business, Clancy said.
Her co-worker Brandy Silva said the food court adds an incentive for shoppers to spend more time at the mall.
“It might bring more business because now people can sit down and eat and relax, then continue shopping,” Silva said.
The food court also has more appeal, said Betty Alexander, a Sears employee.
“I think it looks really nice compared to what we had before,” she said. “I’ll be eating inside the mall more now.”
Some shoppers say they hope the new food court will offer more variety in the future.
“It’s nice that I can sit down and eat now, but we still don’t have that many options,” said Richi Maksud, who was sitting in the food court Thursday.
She said there is “nowhere to get a sandwich,” and wished the mall could add a Subway or similar eatery.
The mall’s new leather chairs, some with ottomans, provide a place to sit and relax, while the center court, complete with an elevated center and surrounding seating areas, serves as a stage for everything from a grand piano to, soon, the holiday-themed spot for Santa’s annual visit.
Boldly colored geometric designs in the ceiling showcase a lighter, brighter interior for shoppers. A total of 12 charging stations offer opportunities for shoppers to recharge their mobile devices. Updated WiFi is also available.
Boards surround a soon-to-be-completed play area for children ages 5 and younger.
New shops — Buckle and Body Central — recently opened, with more expected by the end of the year and early 2014. Charlotte Russe, a national women’s and juniors clothing retailer, is expected to open in late November, Ludemann said.
Construction crews continue to work on a water feature to be installed at the mall’s main entrance next year, Ludemann said.
“They’ve really invested a lot into rejuvenating the mall, which is fantastic for us,” said Aimee Bissett, economic development director for the city of Denton.
“You can see the transformation — it’s a wow factor, and the parking lot is full. We’re seeing people officially giving the mall a new chance,” she said. “We need to see Dentonites say, ‘We see the investment you’ve made, and we’re willing to give it another chance.’”
Further north on the interstate, Rayzor Ranch Marketplace has continued its expansion this year, having added seven businesses with four more scheduled to open by the end of 2013, said Linda Hinton, general manager of the center for RED Development LLC.
“The development is just booming,” she said. “And we’ve still got quite a few additional stores that are going to make quite a big impact to the area that are coming to the marketplace.”
This year, Petco, Kohl’s, Sugar Queen Cupcakes, Jo-Ann Fabric, Panera Bread, Five Below and Famous Footwear have opened in the development. Rayzor Ranch Marketplace now has 34 businesses open, according to its online directory.
Coming up, DK Foot & Casual, Styles for Less, Colorful Hearing and Salons by JC are expected to open by the end of the year. A fifth store is also under construction right now — Boot Barn — and is expected to open in early 2014, Hinton said.
The marketplace is outperforming anticipated tax revenue this year, and is not taking away revenue from existing businesses, Bissett said.
“It’s a sign that we’re capturing shoppers who were otherwise going outside of Denton, and that’s what we want to do more and more of,” she said.
Consumers can expect the growth of the center to continue into 2014, Hinton said, as businesses are still signing new leases at a steady rate.
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879 and via Twitter at @DawnCobbDRC.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter@JennaFDuncan.