$30 million Champions Park set to open restaurants, retail in early 2017

Artist rendering of Champions Park development near I-30 and Collins Street in Arlington.
Artist rendering of Champions Park development near I-30 and Collins Street in Arlington. Greenway Investment

A restaurant-centered development is promising more variety to north Arlington’s culinary palate.

Champions Park, a 54,000-square-foot complex of four retail/restaurant buildings under construction at the northeast corner of Interstate 30 and North Collins Street, is expected to open the first of possibly eight restaurants early next year.

Greenway Investment Co. is working to create a mix of fast-casual and sit-down restaurants in the buildings and on four restaurant pad sites. The $30 million first phase will have a 70-30 mix of restaurants and retail.

“This is a destination restaurant development,” said Mayor Jeff Williams, who called the I-30/Collins intersection “the center of the Metroplex.” “As you can see, this is a very important part of us making our entertainment district an attraction seven days a week.”

Four restaurants have signed leases so far, said Greenway Vice President Christy Hammons. They are all fast-casuals — Torchy’s Tacos, Firehouse Subs, DFW’s first BurgerFi and possibly Tarrant County’s first Tokyo Joe’s. (The website of the Waterside mixed-use development in Fort Worth says a Tokyo Joe’s is “coming soon.”) Hammons said she also has been talking with two other restaurants.

Having a stable of strictly fast-casual eateries can be a good thing, says Steve Gray, senior vice president of the Weitzman Group, a retail real estate broker who is familiar with the Greenway development. He said clusters of fast-casual restaurants have proved to be successful alternatives to the traditional model of the shopping center that depends on a large grocery anchor to pull in enough traffic to support the adjoining retail.

“In all those restaurants, you have the equivalent of a grocery store in terms of bringing in people,” Gray said. Also, the fast-casual genre is more recession-resistant than its costlier, sit-down cousin. “You see less of the Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse, and more Torchy’s Tacos — the middle price point and no tip.”

Hammons hopes to tweak that model. “We’re still trying to secure a really high-end restaurant,” she said. “A high-end, chef-driven restaurant; a known chef.”

Hammons also is excited about another tenant, Tiff’s Treats, which delivers baked-to-order cookies. “I’ve got them in three of my centers,” she said, “and they’re absolutely fabulous.”

Castle Nails & Spa also is a done deal.

The development now has about 34,000 square feet available for lease.

The I-30/Collins crossing is the most visible site in the Arlington entertainment district, and Champions Park will have to share it.

Home builder D.R. Horton is relocating its headquarters from downtown Fort Worth to Arlington. Its new home will be a $20 million, 150,000-square-foot corporate complex now under construction just east of the Champions Park site, on the I-30 westbound service road.

Trammell Crow Co. has an agreement with the city to develop an 18-acre site in the northwest corner to accommodate up to 1 million square feet of premium office space.

Champions Park broke ground Dec. 15. Greenway expects to finish construction of the complex in October “and have tenants opening by the first quarter of 2017,” Hammons said.

Phase 2, which would share the 14-acre site, is in early planning stages, but Hammons said it could include a major centerpiece like a movie theater or hotel.

Jennifer Pruitt, city planning manager, said the entertainment district is a cornucopia of land-use choices for Champions Park, including bowling and billiards centers, breweries, farmers markets, nightclubs and open-air vending.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind project, for sure,” Pruitt said.

Robert Cadwallader: 817-390-7186, @Kaddmann_ST