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Exclusive: Inside the $2B Legacy West's retail-centric vision taking shape in West Plano

In less than year, Fehmi Karahan's retail-centric vision for the $2 billion, 255-acre Legacy West mixed-use development has begun taking shape, with a number of retailers lined up to set up shop.

At one point, Karahan, president of Plano-based The Karahan Cos., had up to eight construction cranes working on the initial $400 million phase of Legacy West, which will bring about 300,000 square feet of retail space, 800,000 square feet of office space, about 600 apartment homes and four parking decks.

/.cropped hover-fade Fehmi Karahan's 300,000 square-feet of mixed use retail at Legacy West rises behind him.

So far, big restaurant and retail names, such as Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, True Food, Tommy Bahama Island Store, Blue Planet, Suit Supply, North Italia and Bistro 31, are coming to Legacy West.

Fidelity also plans to put a big bank branch at the northwest corner of Legacy Drive and the Dallas North Tollway in West Plano.

"Looking at it, we are at least 30 percent or so through the project," Karahan told the Dallas Business Journal, after an exclusive hard-hat tour of construction at Legacy West.

"This will be three times bigger than the Shops at Legacy North," he added. "We will have some upper end retail brands at Legacy West — much like the retail found at NorthPark — but I think the ultra luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Christian Doir will be a second generation retailer for us.

"I think after trying these brands at (The Shops at) Willow Bend and they failed; the luxury retailers still have that bitter taste in their mouth," he added. "It will take them awhile and they will have to discover us."

Gensler is the project architect. Rogers-O'Brien Construction is the general contractor on this portion of Legacy West and oversee the logistics of the other construction projects in full swing at the development (i.e. Toyota North America, Liberty Mutual, and the Renaissance hotel).

Construction is underway on a six-story, 1,285-parking space garage adjacent to 250,000 square feet of office and retail space on the west side of the project (west of Windrose Avenue), with apartments and parking underway on the east side of the roadway.

Even though there's been a labor shortage for construction workers in North Texas, especially subcontractors, Rogers-O'Brien Senior Superintendent Steve Pesnell said the firm hasn't had a problem hiring wood framers, concrete mixers and electricians to work on this project.

"We have a loyal sub-base and we have a lot of relationships over the decades," said Pesnell, who has worked on big corporate jobs such as the EDS campus, Cisco offices and many others in North Texas.

For Rogers-O'Brien, the hot Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market has turned into an "all-you-can-eat buffet" for construction companies and the company has had to be selective in accepting new jobs, he said.

So far, construction is going well on Legacy West, Pesnell said. The garage fronting Legacy Drive is expected to top out by the first week of February, with additional buildings and garages topping out leading into spring.

Want to see the progress at Legacy West? Check out the attached slideshow for pictures of the construction.

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Candace covers commercial and residential real estate and sports business.

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