It’s 1:30 p.m. and Legacy West master developer Fehmi Karahan hasn’t had time to eat lunch.
Karahan, president and CEO of The Karahan Cos. in Plano, has been too busy readying buildings along Windrose Avenue for business. Luckily, a newly completed restaurant has opened to customers.
“Is everything good?” said Karahan, asking a Shake Shack executive about the building. The sought-after burger restaurant opened its doors to the public on Wednesday.
Beyond anxiously waiting for Shake Shack’s neighbors to also open their doors, Karahan gets a pleasing response from the longtime restaurant executive.
In the next month or two, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, True North Restaurant, Tesla and much more, will also join Shake Shack and furniture retailer West Elm in the much-anticipated Legacy West mixed-use development in Plano.
Creating a city-like destination takes time, but for Karahan — it hasn’t taken too long — with the initial part of the $400 million retail district getting wrapped up this year after a relatively short, two-year construction timeline.
By opening date, Karahan expects to have much of the $400 million retail district — which is part of the $3.2 billion, 255-acre Legacy West — leased to retailers and restaurants by this fall.
And, if Karahan plays his cards right, he could also open the village with about 60 percent of the office space above the shops leased to companies, including his development firm.
The Karahan Cos. plans to open its new world headquarters on the top floor of the mixed-use building at the northwest corner of Legacy Drive and the Dallas North Tollway this summer. And he’s not alone.
The developer has brought in other corporate clientele into the Legacy West vision, including:
The construction on the initial phase of the district is 90 percent complete, with equipment, such as the fermentation tanks, being installed in the Legacy West food hall.
Some retailers, such as Coach and Johnny Was, have begun finishing out the interior of their shops to get ready to house high-end goods for shoppers.
“It’s a beautiful thing that it will finish that quickly,” said Karahan, who walks along Windrose Avenue in Legacy West touring the project.
He pulls aside the Rogers-O’Brien Construction project superintendent to talk to him about the progress on the development, while the details of the conversation are muted — Karahan emphatically says, “Today, today,” underlining his request.
“I work with a very good group of people that understand my expectations,” he told me. “That’s the key. Building something is one thing, but meeting my standards is another.
“There is a regular development and then there’s the ‘Fehmi standard’ development and they know it,” he said, laughing.
Each restaurant will have a patio or terrace for visitors to enjoy the carefully curated streetscape. Karahan paid particular attention to varying the details throughout the project to give Legacy West’s the feel of a streetscape that has authentically evolved.
“There’s an articulation of all the different buildings with different shapes and the terraces that come out,” Karahan said. “There’s nothing about this that will have a Disney-look to it. This development will have an authentic, evolved over time feeling.
“Every detail is different — from lights to building exteriors to materials,” he added.
Legacy West will also have some exterior art or features — such as three glass towers — with LED lights to glow during the evenings. The project also has fountains with lights and nozzles for shows.
The next phase of Legacy West’s retail district will include another luxury hotel by Sam Moon Group, 160 more apartments, more retail shops and restaurant spaces on another five acres of land.
When the Dallas Business Journal asked Karahan if the evolution of Legacy West upped the projected build-out costs from $3.2 billion— he said it’s the best estimated value of the development, so far.
“It depends on how the remaining land is developed, but $3.2 billion is still a good number,” said Karahan, who said he’s looking forward to moving to the front door of Legacy West. “Leasing wise, we are doing very well here.”
Karahan and his team plan to manage Legacy West — his dream project — as the project continues to evolve.
Want to check out the evolution? Check out the attached slideshow for photos of our walking tour.
BY: Candace Carlisle
This article originally appeared in Dallas Business Journal
Read the original article here.