United Commercial Realty
Williams-Sonoma concept eyes Dallas sites
West Elm modern furniture store checks out urban locales3.31.2006- Sandra Zaragoza, Dallas Business Journal
West Elm, the newest, edgiest furniture concept from San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma Inc., is looking for an urban retail pad.
Williams-Sonoma, which also owns Pottery Barn and Design Studio, has been looking in the Dallas market for months and may be close to making a decision, according to sources familiar with the deal.
The furniture retailer is said to be looking at popular shopping destinations along North Central Expressway, including Mockingbird Station at Mockingbird Lane and West Village at Lemmon and McKinney Avenue.
West Elm sells furniture, bedding, rugs, accessories and lighting, and is often compared to furniture and accessories store Z Gallerie, which has two stores in Dallas and one in Frisco.
The only West Elm store in Texas is in Houston in a neighborhood akin to Highland Park. There are 14 West Elms in a handful of states, including New York and California.
Williams-Sonoma is represented locally by Scott Muller of Dallas-based Falcon Realty Advisors and Larry Leon of Dallas-based Venture Commercial.
West Elm's trendy, modern furniture offerings would make it a good fit for Dallas' urban-oriented retail developments, brokers say.
"I think West Elm will be a nice addition," said Herb Weitzman, chairman and CEO of The Weitzman Group. "It's a high-end store serving the inner-city lifestyle. From the standpoint of traffic, it will bring people because it will be the only one in the marketplace."
Urban Partners Inc., which handles leasing for West Village, could not be reached. West Village is undergoing an expansion north and east of the center that will bring about 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail to the district.
Meanwhile at Mockingbird Station, owners are considering moving forward with a second phase that would expand the center to the parking lot north of Virgin Megastore, adding between 14,000 and 17,000 square feet of retail space, according to tenants and brokers.
Lawrence Attaway and Brandon Harris, brokers with Dallas-based United Commercial Realty, handle leasing for Mockingbird Station.
West Elm is Williams-Sonoma's way of bringing lower-priced design to the masses.
Its prices are a bit lower than its sister store, Pottery Barn. At West Elm, sofas cost from $399 to $899 and cube sectionals cost $299 to $499. Home accessories such as candle holders start at around $14.
Lately, furniture and home accessory retailers from Pier 1 Imports to Bombay Co. have added more contemporary styles to their product mix to keep up with changing tastes in design.
But West Elm competes more closely against modern, trendy furniture and home accessories retailers like Ikea and Target on the budget end and Design Within Reach on the upscale end.
Lloyd Scott, of Scott + Cooner, a high-end contemporary furniture and design store on HiLine Drive in Dallas, said the contemporary furniture market in Dallas is crowded with players in the low-to-moderate price category.
There are already a number of dealers that sell modern looks, including Urban Home and Design Within Reach in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood, she said.
At the same time, Scott said that a greater number of shoppers are looking for furniture with a contemporary feel.
"I think we are going to see more and more (demand) as people finally move into this century," Scott said.