Walmart Eyes Garland and Lewisville Stores for New Town Center Mixed-Use Concept
Walmart is taking cues from the recent shift in retail and turning some of its high-volume Supercenters into Walmart Town Centers—multi-story hubs with greenspaces, entertainment areas, other retail tenants, and more.
In addition to expanding the giant retailer’s brand to a hip breed of shoppers, these fashionable mixed-use redevelopments can also be urban destinations for residents in nearby neighborhoods.
New Walmart Town Centers
During an October meeting of the International Council of Shopping Centers in Atlanta, L.B. Johnson—Walmart’s vice president of U.S. Realty Operations—presented the Town Center idea. To launch the hunt for developer partners, the company recently unveiled its Walmart Reimagined website that lays out the Town Center vision in conceptional drawings.
In contrast to previous store models rolled out during Walmart’s 57-year history, each Town Center can have a look and feel all its own based on design, regional culture, local food, entertainment, and boutique retail components.
Town Centers Coming to DFW
Walmart stores around the country identified as possible Town Center sites include two in Dallas-Fort Worth, according to the Dallas-Morning News: Garland at 555 W. Interstate 30 and Lewisville at 190 E. Round Grove Road.
If all goes as planned, North Texans can experience a Walmart Town Center on two sides of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Though mixed-use developments are prevalent in parts of the region, few—if any—include a major big-box store in the mix.
The Benefits for Garland
From a “location, location, location” perspective, the store’s trade area runs from neighborhoods in North Mesquite, Sunnyvale, Rowlett, and Rockwall. Since thousands of vehicles commute to Downtown Dallas via I-30, the site is a hotspot for visitor traffic.
Located mostly in the northeastern quadrant of Dallas County, Garland is a large city with an estimated population of nearly 240,000 residents. Despite its size, Garland’s major retail concentration is centered in and around Firewheel Town Center on President George Bush Tollway. In the broader area of the city, retail is scattered throughout neighborhood strip centers.
Reimagining the large I-30 supercenter into a trendy Walmart Town Center would dramatically lessen the retail void in South Garland adding an urban vibe, a gathering space, and more walkability to the neighborhood.
The Benefits for Lewisville
Located less than an hour away in Denton County, the Lewisville Walmart Supercenterat E. Round Grove Road and State Highway 121 is close to Lake Lewisville and numerous neighborhoods ranging from retro areas to new home developments. Its visitor trade area stretches from Carrollton, Farmers Branch, and Lake Dallas to Denton.
Lewisville is likely a candidate for a Walmart Town Center for many of the same reasons as the Garland I-30 supercenter. Though Lewisville isn’t a large city, it’s a rapidly growing DFW suburb with more than 100,000 residents. Retail here runs the gamut from small specialty shops in the Old Town mixed-use district to major retailers in Music City Mall, a relatively new upgrade of the former Vista Ridge Mall.
A Walmart Town Center will not only fill the city’s need for more retail, it will add urban style to Lewisville’s persona.
What Reimagining Walmart Means
From major makeovers to new construction, mixed-use developments are the hottest retail trend sweeping the nation. By launching the new Walmart Town Center vision, which is a fusion of style and efficiency, the world’s largest retailer may be taking its boldest step yet toward the future.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Walmart executives believe the larger stores and parking lots have the potential to be much more than just a place to stock up.
The sprawling horizontal supercenters presently consume a huge chunk of real estate that can be used better. By redeveloping the stores upward on two or three stories rather than outward, the same land mass can accommodate a multi-functional complex with food, beverage, entertainment, and retail as well as with greenspace and pedestrian walkways.
While today’s Supercenters typically contain one major food establishment, Town Centers will include several local vendors via food trucks, food halls, in-store tenant space, or a blend of all three, depending on location and traffic volume.
Part of the reimagined concept includes Container Parks, sites using shipping containers to house local boutiques and other trendy retailers. Examples of franchises that Walmart is courting include Shake Shack, Chipotle, and Orangetheory Fitness.
"We are looking for developers who have a long-term vision and are excited to partner with us in reimagining how customers experience Walmart," Anne Hatfield, a Walmart spokesperson, told the News.