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Color Me Fun at Willow Bend

The ongoing $125 million redevelopment of The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas, took another huge step forward with the highly anticipated grand opening of Crayola Experience, one of just four in the U.S., in late March. Hundreds of families have since explored their inner artists at the 60,000-square-foot adventure, which brings the magic of Crayola to life, with 22 attractions that allow guests of all ages to explore their inner artists. Activities and innovative technology allow guests to name their own crayons, learn how crayons are made and take “Silly Selfies,” and find other ways to let their imaginations run free. In addition, a 5,000-square-foot retail store offers the world’s largest assortment of Crayola products.

“Great experiences need great partners, and we’ve been fortunate to work with one of the best,” said Crayola General Manager Scott Poling at the attraction’s grand opening.

“This is a part of the rebranding and reimaging at The Shops at Willow Bend. It is a continuing effort on the part of Starwood,” said Starwood Retail Partners COO Jeff Zeigler at the event.

“Plano is known as a destination point and this is another reason to add to this destination,” said Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere. “This store will provide hours and hours of memories for families – and then they’ll shop and spend some dollars as well!”

The District, featuring new restaurants

The opening is just the latest stage in the reinvention of the center. A restaurant district will open in September on the site of a former department store anchor, featuring up to seven chef-driven restaurants (some with second story-terraces), an outdoor plaza and a grand entrance as well as a valet drop-off near the new mall entrance. Already signed are Knife, a steakhouse by celebrity chef John Tesar, Mexican Bar Company, Terra Mediterranean and Whistle Britches. 

Also planned is a luxury cinema experience to be announced. Also coming in spring 2019 will be a 35,000-square-foot Equinox fitness club, offering a full array of fitness classes (including cardio, strength training and innovative programs exclusive to the club), personal training and spa services. The luxury location also will offer apparel, food and juice bars, and an outdoor roof deck for programming and special events. Also just completed is a full interior refresh of the center. A 200,000-square-foot, seven story Class A office tower is expected in 2019.