Retail/residential complex begins opening

Posted Friday, May. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Developer Kim McCaslin Schlieker was poised to build the city’s first residential and retail mixed-use development, a complex featuring luxury apartments above ground-level stores, restaurants and medical services in northeast Mansfield.

But the year was 2008, and before she could get her finances and bulldozers lined up, the stock markets crashed and took the economy down with them.

“It’s a $24 million project. To get that kind of financing, that kind of equity in 2008 was just not doable,” Schlieker said. “But the market has certainly changed. There’s a real demand for that type of product.”

Now, less than a year since breaking ground in July, construction on one of the six buildings is complete and the first residential tenant moved in May 1, she said. She said 64 of the planned 176 apartments were leased even before the first building was ready. The second building will open June 1 and the remaining four will be completed by late September, she said.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “It’s already outperformed what we thought it would do. I think it’s a beautiful project that will put Mansfield on the map in terms of doing something new and fresh and urban.”

Scott Welmaker, the city’s economic development director, said the project gives a taste of what city leaders have been working for years to bring to Mansfield.

“I think it’s going to draw a demographic of young professionals who aren’t quite ready to purchase a house but have a high income – a real desirable demographic to add to our mix,” Welmaker said. “We have very fine multifamily development, but adding the retail mix gives it a little more of an urban feel.”

Schlieker said that among those who have already signed apartment leases, the average age is 39 and average income is $63,000, which she considered a nice fit with Mansfield’s above-average household income of $99,000.

The development plans outline six buildings on eight acres at 1601 E. Debbie Lane with 176 apartments under the name Villas di Lucca, and 27,000 square feet of retail space, called Shoppes di Lucca.

The first floors of the two buildings facing East Debbie Lane contain all the retail space under three levels of apartments. A Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was expected to open Monday, a low-testosterone treatment clinic is expected to open this week and a dentist office is set to open in late summer, Schlieker said. Other retail tenants are in lease negotiations and will be announced soon, she said, adding that only 5,000 square feet remain available.

The remaining four buildings will consist solely of walk-up apartments, with an average rental of $1.28 per square foot for apartments ranging from 689 square feet up to 1,600 square feet for two-story townhome apartments.

Schlieker described the apartments as “luxury lifestyle,” with amenities including wood floors, granite countertops with stainless steel appliances, large balconies on most units, a dog park, an outdoor fitness area and indoor fitness center and poolside cabanas and home-style grilling facilities.

Schlieker, who joined her father Bobby McCaslin’s MR Development company in 1997 and now co-owns it with her brother, also has her own business, Montclair Properties, which is building the di Lucca project separately from the family business.

Her partner in the development is Carleton Residential, a multifamily housing developer.

“I think hindsight being 20/20," she said, “we entered the market at the right time, with the right product and at the right location.”

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641 Twitter: @Kaddmann

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