LaCenterra Ranked as 6th Best Retail Experience in US

KATY, Texas – (Realty News Report) – LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch, a 400,000-SF mixed-use center on the west side of Houston has been ranked No. 6  in Chain Store Age’s Top 10 Retail Experiences of 2021 in the United States.

Chain Store Age, a major trade publication focused on retailing, is evaluating and ranking “physical retail’s most engaging centers.”

LaCenterra, which was acquired by Poag Shopping Centers in 2017, is “anoutdoor center with incredible space, a wide variety of stores and restaurants, a public park, and a clock tower,” Chain Store Age said.

The center, located along the Grand Parkway at Cinco Ranch Boulevard, has a Trader Joe’s, Torchy’s Tacos and other restaurants and stores. Lilly Golden of Evergreen Commercial Realty leads leasing efforts with Poag.

LaCenterra was one of the first retail developments to leverage the Grand Parkway loop around the suburban edges of the Houston area.

How did the LaCenterra project begin? How did the original developer overcome adversity?

Here is an excerpt from “Houston 2020 – America’s Boom Town – an Extreme Close Up” – Author: Ralph Bivins. Publisher: Fifth Estate Media. Copyright 2018.

Winning on the Outer Loop – Dreaming Bigger than The Grande

Looking Back: Woody Mann Beats Simon to the Punch in the Grand Parkway Mall Race

By Ralph Bivins — Real estate entrepreneur Woody Mann of Houston-based Vista Companies was one of the first to recognize the potential of the Grand Parkway, the outer loop that has been constructed around Houston. As the first homes were occupied on the West Houston prairie, residents of the area were driving twenty miles just to shop for groceries. Mann decided to do something about it.

The suburban population west of Houston was growing and the large-scale Cinco Ranch master planned community was being planned.

“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the far West Houston/Katy area was going to be area of substantial growth for a number of reasons — mainly the number of master planned communities on the horizon,” Mann said. “When we really began to study the demographics of that particular submarket, it was very obvious that there was a substantial amount of untapped purchasing power in the area, based on above-average annual household income, and a real void in specialty retail shopping options — in other words, the area was severely “under-stored.”

So, in the late 1980s Mann began planning for LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch, which eventually became a 34-acre Main Street centered development of shops, restaurants, office space, and mid-rise multifamily that became the de facto downtown of Cinco Ranch. “When we bought the original 18-acre tract in 2003, our initial plan was to do a grocery-anchored shopping center at that location,” said Mann. “However, Ted Nelson (President of Newland, the company that developed Cinco Ranch) convinced us to ‘think outside the box’ and create something that could be a magnet, not only for the entire Cinco Ranch community, but the other surrounding master-planned communities such as Grand Lakes and Seven Meadows as well.

“Our biggest concern at the time was that (national shopping mall developer) Simon owned a 130-acre tract at the northeast corner of I-10 and the Grand Parkway, which they intended to develop into a large outdoor center called The Grande. We knew we couldn’t compete with Simon, and a number of the prospective tenants we were talking to at the time were also talking to Simon about their project as well. Several of those prospects – who later became our first tenants at LaCenterra – advised us that we needed to build a larger project to create more critical mass in order to have more of a market impact, so we bought an additional 16 acres from Newland which allowed us to substantially increase the LaCenterra footprint to over 400,000 square feet of retail and office space.”

With the greater mass, Mann won the market and Simon scrapped their plans for The Grande. Construction of LaCenterra started in 2006 with the first phase completed the following year and the final phases added over the next decade. LaCenterra was an 18-hour a day activity center with a public park.

Late in 2017, Mann’s exit strategy arrived in the form of an institutional investor. Mann’s Vista Companies, along with partner Denver-based Amstar Group, decided to sell LaCenterra to PGIM Real Estate, an arm of Prudential Financial.

Mann racked up major profits on the sale. After years of market-leading home building, the 8,092-acre Cinco Ranch has 15,000 single-family homes and mature commercial development.

And the 184-mile Grand Parkway – the distant outer loop around Houston – has enabled suburban acreage all around the Houston metroplex.

The above is an excerpt from Houston 2020 – America’s Boom Town – an Extreme Close Up. Author: Ralph Bivins. Copyright 2018 Ralph Bivins through Fifth Estate Media.

Aug. 18, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

 File:  LaCenterra Ranked as 6th Best Retail Experience in US

Image: Courtesy Poag

For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon   

 Houston 2020 Ebook version  


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