Poplar Avenue / US 72 and West Avenue
Germantown, Tennessee

By the late 1980s, the ever-evolving American retail scene was poised for substantial change. The fully-enclosed shopping mall format had reached market maturity. Mall building binges of the 1970s and '80s slowed considerably following the 1987 mini-market crash and savings & loan crisis credit crunch.

Studies revealed that many consumers no longer had the time to wile away the hours at the typical, mega-sized mall, fighting crowds and hiking from store to store. They wanted to park close to where they were going to shop and not spend a lot of time doing so.

In Memphis, Tennessee, the Poag & Thomason Development Company, formed in May 1981, was building supermarket-anchored strip centers. Eventually, Kroger, their primary tenant, opted out of any further participation in their endeavors.

G. Dan Poag, Junior and Sandy Thomason, the company's founders, devised an entirely new plan for shopping center development and gave it a Madison Avenue spin. The new retail format would eschew traditional department stores and supermarket anchors and be tenanted only by upscale mall-type tenants and restaurants.

This new age shopping venue would be open-air in configuration. It would feature grand architecture, fountains and high-quality landscaping. Moreover, it would be small, only in the neighborhood of 100,000 to 200,000 square feet, and completely dispense with the perceived "inconvenience of mammoth malls".

Terry McEwen, well-known in the retail leasing field, was brought into the company in 1984. Plans for the first new-style "specialty center" were soon underway. A 9.9 acre tract was acquired. It was situated 13.1 miles southeast of center city Memphis in the affluent Germantown suburb.

THE SHOPS OF SADDLE CREEK opened for business in the spring of 1987. The single-level, U-shaped complex encompassed 74,800 leasable square feet and housed stores such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley and G.H. Bass.

A second phase, dubbed SADDLE CREEK SOUTH, was built on a non-adjacent, 4.1 acre plot, situated southwest of the original complex. It enveloped 39,900 leasable square feet, with toney tenants such as Eddie Bauer, Gap Kids, Talbots, Harold's, James Davis Clothing and Hemming's Restaurant. Stores opened during 1989. The first phase structure then became SADDLE CREEK NORTH.

By this time, the company was developing a second shopping center...ONE PACIFIC PLACE, in Omaha, Nebraska. A new corporate name was also instituted, which reflected the marketing focus on "today's busy lifestyle"...Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers. By the mid-1990s, "lifestyle center", a term devised by G. Dan Poag in 1989, was the buzzword in the retail industry.

SADDLE CREEK WEST, a third -and final- installment of THE SHOPS OF SADDLE CREEK, opened between August 4th and 15th, 1995. The 22,800 square foot structure was situated on 2.5 acres, northwest of, and adjacent to, SADDLE CREEK SOUTH. It housed four stores; Talbots Petits, Britches Great Outdoors, Structure Men's Wear and Eddie Bauer Home.

Third and fourth Poag & McEwen lifestyle-type developments followed. TOWN CENTER PLAZA {in Leawood, Kansas} debuted in 1996 and DEER PARK TOWN CENTER {in the Village of Deer Park, Illinois} was dedicated in the year 2000. By 2008, Poag & McEwen had developed twelve such centers.

Today, the three segments of THE SHOPS OF SADDLE CREEK encompass 137,500 leasable square feet and forty stores and services. The center is owned by Chicago-based Heitman Capital Management, who purchased it in December 2003. In late 2008, Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle assumed management of the complex.

Sources: (Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers)
Shelby County, Tennessee property tax assessor website