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***The massive Buffett-backed, retail-anchored development under construction in The Colony, Texas, called Grandscape, doesn’t offer a whole lot of places to shop yet.
Developers say that’s by design.
Instead of focusing on traditional retail anchors like department stores, two of Grandscape’s first large tenants to open will be geared toward entertainment that does not include shopping.
The $1.5 billion, 433-acre development will feature apartments, entertainment and retail. It’s being developed by Berkshire Hathaway-owned Nebraska Furniture Mart, which opened a store at Grandscape in 2015.
A flurry of construction is underway at the 90-acre lifestyle center as two major tenants are slated to open next year, said Jeff Lind, chief strategy and development officer at Nebraska Furniture Mart, who is heading up the project.
Galaxy Theatres, a deluxe 16-screen movie theater featuring a restaurant and bar, will open next May , Lind said. Joining it will be Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, which offers go-karting, bowling and arcade games.
Lind said retail shops aren’t meant to be the sole driver of traffic to Grandscape.
“Instead, we’re coming up with a formula where there’s hundreds of reasons to come to the development,” he said.
Already open are several restaurants, a Hampton Inn and a handful of park-like areas. Cigars International, an upscale cigar store, is slated to open later this year. Scheels sporting goods also has plans for a 331,000-square-foot store to open in April 2020, Lind said.
Now, he said, the center is focusing on securing ancillary retail shops, services and a residential component that will fill in between anchors. Developers are looking at unique retail tenants that may not have any stores in Texas or even in the United States, he said.
Many tenants are expected to open in 2020 and beyond. The center already has turned down more than 100 retailers who want to be part of the project, Lind said last year.
“We are in a very fortunate position to have the opportunity to look at building long-term value instead of short-term decisions that might not be best in the long term,” Lind said.
That attitude is driven by Warren Buffett, who is the key financial backer of Grandscape and has said he’s committed “unlimited financial resources” to the project.
The model to diversify the center is right in line with retail trends. Experts say consumers are spending less money on shopping and more on experiences, like dining out, traveling and entertainment.
Some traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers, on the other hand, have struggled. Department store chain Bon-Ton Stores, which operated as Younkers in the Omaha area, recently declared bankruptcy, along with a laundry list of other retail chains.
North Dallas, where The Colony is located, also is one of the fastest-growing areas of the country, retail experts have said.
Developers expect phase one’s completion in the coming years will ramp up even more interest from retailers and other tenants, Lind said.
“That will only add in the excitement and our ability to really get some very unique tenants and stay true to the vision,” he said.
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The red brick-paved neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places is located between South 10th and 13th Streets and between Farnam and Jackson Streets in downtown Omaha. It has a bounty of restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. Other common sights in this area: street performers, artists and horse-drawn carriages.
Between the CenturyLink Center and the Old Market is a 10-acre park with a pond, slide, waterfalls, gardens and sculptures. Conceived in the 1970s, the mall was named for former Omaha Mayor Eugene A. Leahy and is the central park of downtown Omaha.
Travel south on 13th Street to the renowned home of more than 15,000 animals and the world's largest indoor desert. Exhibits include African Grasslands, Alaskan Adventure, Bay Family Children's Adventure Trails, Expedition Madagascar, Hubbard Gorilla Valley, Kingdoms of the Night, butterfly pavilion and Lied Jungle. The zoo is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with buildings open until 6 p.m. Admission is $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.
This 100-acre property includes a conservatory, bird sanctuary, waterfalls, spring flowering walk and a rose garden. The Garden's current exhibit, Metamorphosis, features birds and other creations made from recycled plastic. Daily garden hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults and $5 children.
This pink-marble masterpiece is filled with more than 11,000 works of art from Greek, Renaissance and impressionist artists. Highlights include works by Titian, El Greco, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Thomas Moran, Grant Wood and George Segal. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. The museum is closed Mondays. Admission is free.
The 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion, completed in 1903, is the former home of George and Sarah Joslyn, business and community leaders and once the state's wealthiest couple. The castle is on the National Register of Historic Places and features carved wood, chiseled stone and mosaic tiles. Joslyn Castle is open for public tours on Monday at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tour admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students, seniors and military.
Known for its art deco architecture, the Durham Museum is housed in Omaha's former Union Station. It offers a look at the history of the region with traveling exhibits covering subjects such as history, culture, science and industry. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children.
Walk to Lewis & Clark Landing, 515 N. Riverfront Drive, and stroll across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. On the 3,000-foot bridge over the Missouri River, stand in two states at the same time with one foot in Nebraska and one foot in Iowa. Catch the 320-foot water jet and light show at Heartland of America Park and Fountain, 800 Douglas St., with its Lewis & Clark exhibits, World War II memorial sculptures and the second-largest labor monument in the United States.
The park in the Dundee neighborhood near the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus has monuments honoring men and women of the armed forces who were killed or missing during service in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
West Dodge Road and Sheehan Drive
The Village of Boys Town, a National Historic Landmark District, has helped at-risk children for more than 100 years by providing education and housing. The campus, located 20 minutes west of the CenturyLink Center, includes Father Flanagan House, Hall of History museum, Dowd Memorial Chapel and the world's largest ball of stamps. Free guided tours are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday at the visitor center, 13628 Flanagan Blvd. For more information, visit boystown.org.
1111 Bellevue Blvd. North in Bellevue
Fontenelle Forest is a 1,400-acre forest in Bellevue, 15 minutes south of the CenturyLink Center. It includes hiking trails, a nature center and picnic facilities. The forest is listed as a National Natural Landmark and a National Historic District. The nature center and trails are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors and $7.50 for children.