Plano celebrates the opening of Legacy West Urban Village

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Steve Brown

More than three years after the groundbreaking, developers formally opened Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West development on Friday.

The ribbon cutting at the project’s centerpiece urban village is a milestone for one of North Texas’ most ambitious real estate projects.

"This project took an army to develop," said Legacy West’s Fehmi Karahan. "A project like this one has consumed me – night and day, seven days a week for about three years."

Developed by Karahan, KDC and Columbus Realty Partners, Legacy West is located on the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121.

The project was built on 250 acres of surplus land surrounding retailer J.C. Penney’s headquarters.

This weekend’s celebration is to open the Legacy West Urban Village, which has more than 300,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, about 300,000 square feet of office space, more than 1,000 apartments and a high-rise hotel.

The retail and restaurant center and most of the office space is already rented.

Restaurants in Legacy West include Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Fogo de Chao, Mesero, Shake Shack, Taverna, True Food Kitchen and Toulouse.

Legacy West’s retailers include Bonobos, Coach, Fabletics, Filson, Johnny Was, Peter Millar, Pockets Menswear, Suitsupply, Tesla, Tommy Bahama, TUMI, and West Elm.

"You can make great projects, but if you don’t lease it doesn’t work," Karahan said. "On the office leasing, we’ve been attracting some of the best names in the country."

Aerospace giant Boeing recently announced plans to locate a new division headquarters in the Legacy West Urban Village.

And Toyota has just started moving the first of thousands of workers into its new North American headquarters located just up the street.

Liberty Mutual Insurance and JPMorgan Chase will start moving thousands more employees into Legacy West late this year.

More than 20,000 people will soon work in the development.

"Welcome to the center of the universe," said Plano’s mayor Harry LaRosiliere. "What makes this special is the sense of place created.

"Anybody can build strip shopping centers," LaRosiliere said. "Only Fehmi Karahan can building Legacy West."

Karahan developed Legacy West after having great success with the Shops at Legacy retail center he built on the east side of the tollway at Legacy Drive.

"I had this dream to someday build something across the street," Karahan said.

After petitioning Penney for years to develop its vacant land, the team of Karahan Cos., KDC and Columbus Realty were picked from a field of competing developers in early 2014.

Just three months later in April of 2014 Toyota stunned the market when it announced it would build its new headquarters in Legacy West – joining FedEx Office as the first major companies in the mixed-use project.

After Toyota’s announcement, Legacy West took off. What was supposed to be a 10-year project is almost out of land and is recognized as one of the most successful such projects in the country.

"I’m proud to be involved in the partnership building this project," said Roger Staubach, the former Dallas Cowboys’ star quarterback and a partner in Legacy West’s apartments. "Legacy West is going to be outstanding.

"People who live in the apartments are going to be able to walk to the finest retail experience in the Dallas area."

Designed by architect Gensler, the $400 million Legacy West Urban Village was financed by JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Invesco Real Estate is a financial partner in the development.

This weekend’s grand opening events for the Legacy West Urban Village include live entertainment and drink tastings. Some of the retailers will be offering store discounts.

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