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Candid manner a boon for mall

It’s not every day that you hear the president of a large development company speak so candidly about a project under renovation.

Recently, we heard just that from Gar Herring, president of The MGHerring Group, who with Cencor Realty Services co-owns Golden Triangle Mall in Denton.

The mall originally opened in 1980 and sits at what has been called the apex of retail at the intersection of Interstate 35E and Loop 288. But as any property — home, office building or retail mall — the edges fray a bit as décor fashions change, retailers come and go, and buyers’ preferences evolve.

In a meeting with fellow business leaders at an economic development partnership gathering, Herring stood before a group of 50 and talked about the mall.

“Frankly, it’s gotten old, tired and needed a bit of upgrading,” he said, referring to the 765,000-square-foot, one-story structure that has featured both well-known, top-flight anchors and chain stores as well as some locally owned, temporary businesses.

“Right now, your people are putting their retail dollars into other cities’ pockets,” he said, adding the mall’s renovation needed to include a look at the tenants and what they had to offer to attract shoppers to want to stop by and stay awhile.

“You need to go from need-based shopping to want-based shopping,” Herring said.

The new owners, who purchased the mall in November 2011, have been doing just that. Not only have they reviewed tenants, but they’ve also begun a multi-million dollar renovation to enliven the look and feel of the mall.

Plans call for tall, attractive glass-paneled entrances along with outdoor dining and water features as well as an interior food court with a diverse offering of menus. The design is being updated by simplifying it to let the stores serve as the main art of the mall, similar to what North Park Center has in Dallas with its storefronts setting the tone. The new design also has centralized places to sit and chat and more natural light shining throughout the mall.

The Golden Triangle Mall has long served as a cornerstone of our retail footprint and we’re attached. But we’ve long waited for someone to follow through on promises of an upgrade and attracting more name-brand tenants that will keep us in town shopping longer and more frequently.  And we’ve known that if something didn’t happen in the near future, we could have faced significant issues at the mall if the planned Rayzor Ranch Town Center just down the interstate ever actually started.

We’re especially glad to hear that the mall’s renovation has already begun with the first phase expected to be finished by early next year.

And we like Herring’s forthright manner. It’s like a breath of fresh air.