THE COLONY, Texas — Top 100 retailer Nebraska Furniture Mart is making its location just north of Dallas something of a destination for more than furniture and décor.
The retailer, part of the Berkshire Hathaway furniture division, is developing more than 400 acres around its 1.9-million-square-foot store. Called the Grandscape Development, it consists of specially selected restaurants and retailers to go with mixed use spaces, offices and places for outdoor recreation and entertainment.
“What we’re trying to create is a very vital neighborhood that complements the retailers and entertainment venues that we brought in already and we’re bringing in,” said Jeff Lind, chief strategy and development officer for Nebraska Furniture Mart and president of Grandscape.
Grandscape is anchored by Nebraska Furniture Mart at one end of the development and Scheels All Sports, a sporting goods store, on the other.
“It’s a very unique retailer. They’re probably one of the best kept secrets in retail in the country,” Lind said. “Its draw is majority women, so it fits really well with NFM and our customer base. It has a one-of-a-kind store. You’d be hard-pressed to find two anchors like that in any development.”
Other curated tenants include Electric Gamebox, an immersive group gaming center, and a host of restaurants, specifically chosen from an extensive list.
“We’ve turned down more than 130 restaurants that wanted to be at Grandscape,” Lind said. “It wasn’t because they weren’t good; we wanted to make sure we carefully curated our selection of restaurants so we didn’t overlap unnecessarily on other things.”
The selectiveness of the tenant mix (either first in the U.S., first in Texas or first in the market) is one of three key pillars that Lind says makes Grandscape what it is. Another is making sure that the development looks nothing like any other in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and the third is generous use of technology. Lind noted that digital signage and art abound in Grandscape, and the WiFi is plentiful.
The outdoor amenities are also plentiful, Lind said. He noted that there are lots of mature trees that were incorporated into the design of Grandscape, and there are places for concerts, activities and events. “It’s one more reason to come to Grandscape. We’re trying to build hundreds of reasons to come, and once you come, hundreds of reasons to come back,” he said.
While developments of this scale take time, Lind said Grandscape isn’t on a strict timeline. He said it’s more important to make sure things are done correctly. With that said, he noted Phase I took around six years, and the current Phase II should have a significant portion open by late 2023 or early 2024.
“Being the developer, we’ve been focused on doing things right. It puts in the position to be selective,” he said.
Lind said NFM learned lessons from the development around its store in Kansas City. Since it didn’t own the surrounding land, it didn’t have much say in what developed around the destination store, although it worked with the surrounding property owners.
“It highlighted that if we had more control over creating a special neighborhood, we could probably pull that off,” Lind said. “Nebraska Furniture Mart is a huge draw and generates a huge amount of sales. The desire to control the neighborhood brought this up. It’s about making sure everything around us is an excellent visitor experience.
“In Kansas City, we did an excellent job of working with people who developed around us, but we felt like we could have a little more say and make sure it’s world class.”