Geyer Morris Company, Phillips

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In sprawling Texas, retailers and shopping center developers still define convenience with stores near new rooftops.

Mansfield, a fast-growing city in southern Tarrant County with a population of 70,000, is the latest community to get a shopping district. The Shops at Broad is part of an 81-acre mixed-use development on the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 287 and Broad Street.

Belk, T.J. Maxx and Flix Brewhouse will open next year. Academy Sports + Outdoors and At Home are open now. They’ll eventually be joined by jeweler James Avery, Starbucks, MOD Pizza, 54th Street Grill and My Eye Lab. Negotiations continue with others, said CBRE, which is leasing the property.

The development spans 430,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 330 apartments. It’s next to StarCenter, an 80,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2017 with two ice rinks and event space. Mansfield High School’s hockey team practices there.

And it’s adjacent to a planned H-E-B supermarket, but no dates have been announced. For many years, the San Antonio-based grocer, which owns Dallas-based Central Market, has purchased and held real estate throughout North Texas.

Shopping districts continue to evolve.

Walmart is also rethinking some of its Supercenter parking lots as Walmart Town Centers. In October, the retailer said it planned to turn concrete into park-like areas where people can congregate around restaurants or food trucks.

Walmart has identified a few stores in Texas and other states where it wants to explore the potential with interested developers. It’s considering stores in Garland and Lewisville.

The Shops at Broad will also have a park area in the middle of the development and, with Belk, it will have a department store anchor.

Mansfield Mayor David Cook said the center has been in the works for years, and he expects it will be "a place for our residents to gather and enjoy."

CBRE is recruiting additional restaurants that haven’t yet expanded into southern Tarrant County. Going along with the shopping center aesthetic, some eateries will have patio seating. More tenants will be food- and entertainment-focused vs. apparel, CBRE said.

Tyler Morris, managing partner of developer Geyer Morris Co., said the walkable town center concept "will be unique to Mansfield."

Suburban shopping has built up around regional malls in Arlington, Mesquite, Lewisville, Plano and Frisco. They’ve been destinations for residents in smaller cities nearby. And as housing expanded further out, more big box stores moved into Allen, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Garland, Grand Prairie and Rockwall.

Southlake Town Square set off the local trend of walkable centers when it opened in 1999. Legacy West, which opened in 2017, put the mixed-used idea on steroids.

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