Local Retail Projects Spark Traffic Worries

Modern, luxury apartment building. | Image by Grand Warszawski/Shutterstock

West Plano residents have concerns about whether the existing infrastructure can handle two development projects currently in the pipeline.

The redevelopment of The Shops at Willow Bend and the construction of a mixed-use complex at Haggard Farms are expected to revitalize an area of West Plano near the Dallas North Tollway, but residents wonder at what cost.

“I don’t think anybody has addressed the fact that these are two villages that are going to pop up at the same time,” explained one resident named Bill France, who lives near The Shops at Willow Bend, according to The Dallas Morning News. “… How will the infrastructure support this growth?”

Meanwhile, another local resident named Gary Williams told the DMN that he was most concerned about The Shops at Willow Bend redevelopment.

“There’s a lot of cars that are going to exit onto Plano Parkway and Park Boulevard and … that’s a busy intersection right there,” Williams explained. “At 5 o’clock when rush hour starts, you have cars sitting in the intersection waiting to get through there. And if you add all of those people to that area, there needs to be multiple ways for people to get out. Otherwise, that’s going to be a real bottleneck.”

The Shops at Willow Bend is a mall located at 6121 W Park Blvd. that stretches across 107 acres near the northwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway.

In early 2025, the Dallas-based developer Centennial aims to demolish the existing structure to start work on erecting an 18-story hotel, a seven-story office building, and three apartment buildings, each having five stories with 960 apartments.

Construction will happen in multiple phases spanning approximately 10 years.

As for the Haggard Farms project, plans to convert the 142-acre field into a mix of commercial and residential spaces are underway. Spearheaded by the Haggard family and the Dallas-based developer Stillwater Capital, the development will feature over 700,000 square feet of office space, 700 multifamily units, a 98-room hotel, and a retail village.

The project is expected to open its first phase by the end of 2024, which entails “a multifamily [residential] building, two office buildings, retail buildings and a hotel,” as Peter Braster, Plano’s director of special projects, related at a City Council meeting earlier this year, according to Community Impact.

This first phase encompasses 189,000 square feet of new space and will cost approximately $20 million, according to the DMN.

Given the tremendous transformations these projects will bring to the area, the City of Plano has required the developers to conduct traffic impact studies and coordinate with traffic authorities.

As Brian Shewski, Plano’s transportation engineering manager, explained, the city has already received and commented on the studies submitted by each project’s consultants.

While the consultants for the Haggard Farms project have filed a response to the city, those for The Shops at Willow Bend have not.

For Shewski, projects like those planned in West Plano will inevitably generate traffic but there will also be a considerable amount of new internal traffic.

“You go through a process to basically do a trip generation of how many trips were generated by the site. Say if it’s just only office building, then all the traffic that’s coming to the office building is coming from the outside,” said Shewski, according to the DMN. “It’s coming from somewhere else, but when you put in apartment complexes and retail and restaurant-type facilities, there’s a lot of internal capture. It could be up to 30%.”

One issue complicating traffic management is the planned new traffic signal at the intersection of Pinecrest Drive, Pinehaven Drive, and Spring Creek Parkway. The current uncertainty lies with Oncor, the electricity provider, who has yet to approve the new signal due to its location under high-power transmission lines.

Yet another project underway in Plano is seeking to transform a 98-acre plot just east of the Dallas North Tollway with over 1.6 million square feet of existing office space into a mixed-use development, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.

As envisioned by the developer NexPoint Development Co., the $3.6 billion undertaking will erect a luxury hotel, 775 midrise apartments, a 9.5-acre park, and more.

While Plano and other cities around the metroplex have become quite the hotbed of development in recent years, Dallas has earned a reputation for being hard to build in due to its delay-prone development process. As extensively covered by The Dallas Express, the City has taken steps to improve the process. However, problems and delays persist as City Manager T.C. Broadnax struggles to turn Dallas into a destination for developers.

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