Cows graze on the open pasture at the corner of White Chapel Boulevard and Texas 114 with a sea of rooftops visible on the horizon. A large monument sign at the near the intersections greets visitors, signaling that they’ve arrived at the Carillon development, a master-planned community in Southlake.
But 10 years after the project started, Carillon consists entirely of homes, more than 300 of varying sizes are currently occupied. Some 70 or so more units are planned. The promise of mixed-use retail within walking distance of the homes never materialized, a victim first of the Great Recession and then the changing retail landscape.
A new developer, HCCP Carillon Partners Llc., wants to revive the mixed-use project with a new name, Carillon Parc, with a focus on experiential entertainment, chef-driven restaurants and one-of-a-kind mom-and-pop shops. The proposal also includes 40 to 50 residential lofts on the floors above the retail.
The owner-occupied units are crucial for the project to be successful, said Laird Fairchild, principal with the development company. But they’ll no doubt be controversial in a city where sprawling estate lots are the rule, not the exception.
“It’s important to the project we’re creating, that European piazza with unique experiences, mom and pop retail and restaurants,” Fairchild said. “It creates a little more liveliness with the development whenever you have a mixed-use development.
"As Southlake continues to mature, we don’t really have any offerings for empty nesters who want to stay in Southlake and enjoy everything Southlake has to offer.”
Former Mayor John Terrell is also involved in the project as a principle with HCCP.
Fairchild said they turned in all the necessary documents to the city on May 1 and will be on the Planning and Zoning Commission agenda for Thursday, May 17. The project could then go to the City Council in June.
Carillon Parc would be about 2 miles from the well-established Southlake Town Square. But Fairchild, who has a residence in Town Square, said he’s not trying to compete with Southlake’s downtown.
“We don’t want Starbucks, we want the entrepreneur who has a coffee concept with a unique experience and atmosphere,” Fairchild said. “Somewhere you go in and get to know the owner.”
There are also plans for a 96,000-square-foot entertainment venue with different uses on each floor. The first floor could have what Fairchild describes as a "food hall," a high-end food court with 18-22 vendor stalls with their own kitchen.
“Everyone wants something different; you can go and get whatever you want and met in the middle for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Fairchild said.
Carillon Parc is also getting a lot of interest from dine-in movie theater concepts that could take over the second and third floor. It wouldn’t be a 20-screen megaplex but a smaller concept that fits the development, Fairchild said.
There could also be indoor golf, virtual reality or other experiential concepts in that building.
Other options they’re looking for include a high-end grocery store, bakery, butcher and chef-driven restaurants. Two hotels are planned, one boutique hotel in the middle of the development and a larger one along the frontage road.
Carillon Parc will have nearly 10 acres of parks and open spaces, fountains and water features.
New home for the library
Southlake leaders have been searching for a new home for the city’s library for years now, exploring space within Town Square, the former Senior Center and other sites. Now, the city is close to sealing a deal for a new 60,000-square-foot city-owned facility that would be built in Carillon Parc with a city library on the first floor and meeting space, classrooms and a theater for musical performances on the second floor, said Mayor Laura Hill.
“This is a great opportunity for us to build a new library and a performing arts center that has flexible space and get the land for free just like we did with Town Hall,” said Hill
Southlake’s current library in the basement of Town Hall can often be difficult for young parents with toddlers and strollers to access because of the parking situation and the stairs. The new library would be directly across from a parking garage with a pedestrian bridge linking them.
“We want to make sure that we prioritize the citizens’ access to get to the library,” Hill said. “It’s really a great synergy for the city and for the new development.”
The finer details of who builds the building haven’t been worked out. “My feeling at this point is that we would look at purchasing the building from the developer but that the building be be made to our specifications,” Hill said.