Blog Post

Unique Retail Development Surging on College Campuses

Back in the day, retail choices on college campuses included the college bookstore and a snack bar or two. If you were lucky, you might also have found a single fast food restaurant. Today, however, faculty, students and staff can enjoy broad and diverse choices for spending not only on supplies and food, but also on fashion apparel, accessories, groceries, beauty products, movie theaters and more.

One example of a unique on-campus development is called Northside, a mixed-use project currently under construction at the University of Texas at Dallas. The project, being co-developed by Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions LLC and Wynne/Jackson Inc., will total 370,000 square feet. SRS Real Estate Partners has been hired to lease the 20,000 square feet of retail space at Northside. The project will also include apartments and townhomes.


Northside at the University of Texas at Dallas is the first phase of what has been envisioned as a transit-oriented development.

“Our focus is to provide an atmosphere that the university students can call their own. We want to create a place where students can study, grab a quick bite, get their daily needs and, just maybe, let off a little steam,” said Tyler Isbell, vice president in the SRS Dallas/Fort Worth office.

According to the UT Dallas web site, “A parking garage, surface parking lot and residential amenities, such as a pool and dog park, are also expected. The central ‘spine’ of the development is planned to provide a park-like pedestrian mall that can be closed off to accommodate events.”

Northside is only the first phase of a planned transit-oriented development. UT Dallas, the city of Richardson and Dallas Area Rapid Transit worked together to create a master plan that will eventually include a Cotton Belt Rail Line station and additional retail, office and park space, as well as housing.

Completion of Northside is expected to be late fall of 2016.

Additional examples of recent retail development taking place on college campuses include:

The increase in retail development on college campuses has prompted some retailers to develop prototypes for these projects. Walmart, for example, has developed a “Walmart on Campus” concept. The first store opened at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in January 2011. Additional stores are located at Arizona State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Georgia Tech University and the University of Missouri.

Starbucks continues to open locations on college campuses and recently began testing mobile coffee trucks at various universities.

Even is getting into the game. They recently opened their first on-campus pick-up and drop-off location on the campus of Purdue University. As colleges and universities find ways to differentiate themselves, the “retail on campus” trend should continue.