BENBROOK -- Fort Worth-based Buxton Co., which has made a name for itself helping retailers find great locations, is under contract to buy 193 acres at the southeast corner of Interstate 20 and Winscott Road, where it plans to build its own 1.5-million-square-foot regional shopping center called The Trails Town Center.
Chairman Tom Buxton said Wednesday that construction of the open-air center could begin in about a year, with some stores opening in 2013. The Western-themed shopping center will stretch at least 1.5 miles along the south side of Interstate 20 and will be visible from the Chisholm Trail Parkway, formerly known as Southwest Parkway, under construction to the east, he said.
No tenants have been signed, but negotiations are under way with "a considerable number" of destination and nationally recognized retailers that are not yet in the area, Buxton said. He said he is looking at restaurants and retailers in home improvement, electronics, sporting goods, groceries and entertainment.
This will be Buxton's first foray into real estate development. The company established a real estate branch about four years ago but had not found the right project until now, Buxton said.
The company primarily advises developers, cities and retailers on site selection. The company said it works with about 2,000 retailers and more than 500 cities.
The Benbrook project grew out of a study that the city hired Buxton to do more than a year ago. Benbrook has had designs on a 20-acre town center-style shopping center at I-20 and Winscott Road.
Knowing what retailers are looking for and that the west side of the Metroplex is in high demand, Buxton decided this would be its first development project.
"We thought this was the most spectacular site," Buxton said. "It got my attention. The demand, we think, is tremendous and allows us to be very selective in the kind of retail we bring. This is the best opportunity we've seen. This is very big."
The center will be completed in phases, but when fully developed it could employ about 6,250 workers and have potential annual sales tax revenue of $3.75 million and property tax revenue of more than $4.4 million, the company said.
The Trails Town Center is expected to draw shoppers from as far away as Abilene, Waco and Midland-Odessa, Buxton said.
The land is part of the Edwards Ranch. The deal with Cassco Land Co., the development arm of the Edwards family, is expected to close in the next year.
Benbrook Mayor Jerry Dittrich said the city has entered into a public-private partnership to help facilitate the mall's development but did not offer details.
"We feel confident that this partnership lays the groundwork for an exceptional shopping destination," Dittrich said. "A development of this magnitude will serve as a gateway to West Texas. It is the only open-air regional development of this size projected for the Southwest. The city stands ready to work closely with Buxton to expedite this venture."
Ron Rainey, executive director of the Benbrook Economic Development Corp., said any tax incentives or abatements for the project will likely be considered on an individual retailer basis.
"There is a list of suggestions Buxton has provided," Rainey said. "Many of those will come from individual retailers when they decide to come here. They will have their own individual needs and their own requests. The city has been alerted to what will be coming."
The shopping center's name is a nod to the historic cattle trails that ran through and near the site, including the Chisholm, Shawnee, Western and Goodnight-Loving trails, Buxton said.
The phase of the project closest to Winscott Road will also retain the town-center-style design once planned by Benbrook, the company said. Hodges & Associates in Dallas is the architecture firm.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727