Springdale hires design/planning firm to study its retail district

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The city of Springdale has hired a regional architecture and planning firm to examine how to position its retail district around Tri-County Mall to compete with other area malls and lifestyle centers.

The council has approved to spend $175,000 and signed a contract with the firm for the nine-month study.

The Springdale retail center stretching from Chesterdale Road on the east to Northland Boulevard on the west is one of the largest retail districts in the area. It has more than 300 retail enterprises and 4.5 million square feet of space, which generates nearly $1 billion of annual sale.

Jeff Tulloch, Springdale economic development director,said, "We've done planning and land-use studies before but never looked at developing a business plan for our retail district."

Retailers in the area pay $146.4 million in wages.That represents about 19 percent of Springdale's earned income, city officials said.

While the Tri-County area's retail district is healthy, Tulloch said, "It will have ever more competition from other area shopping districts, both new and established."

"With retail you've got to stay on the leading edge of what customers want. The study will look at the market and types of retailers and develop plans and strategies. It will range from basics such as establishing streetscapes and a brand identity for the area as well as possibilities for redevelopment," he added.

City Administrator Cecil Osborn,said, "The intent of this project is not to merely fill up vacant retail storefronts. It is highly likely that the study may recommend the total redevelopment of certain portions of the district. It's possible that the plan might create higher-density, mixed-use developments, including residential uses, in some areas."

Tri-County Mall, built in 1963, anchors Springdale's retail district, and is currently undergoing a $15 million renovation.

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