As you drive by the Forest and Preston intersection, you’ve probably noticed all of the activity at the southeast corner of the Preston Forest Shopping Center .


          MJDesigns, formerly one of the center’s largest tenants, is long gone. Tall-E-Ho, a men’s big and tall shop, closed last month. But new tenants are taking their place, and new construction, something that has hardly been seen anywhere in Dallas lately, is underway near the old Tall-E-Ho location.


          What’s the deal?


According to George Mixon Jr., president of Mixon Investments: “It’s really sort of coincidental that these changes are happening at the same time.”


With more than 40 years of real estate experience, Mixon, who owns the four-decade-old center with his father, George Mixon Sr., says change is just part owning a large shopping center, something that’s always occurring at this location and others.


Still, he adds that most of the dust should settle, at least temporarily, some time this fall. That’s when the present construction should be complete, the center should be close to full occupancy, and shoppers will have three new stores to patronize. Here’s how it should all pan out.


The new construction in the outer corner of the property, where an Exxon station once stood, will house a World Savings branch. Mixon says he expects the branch to open some time in September.


Jo Ann’s, a fabrics and crafts store, has moved into the former location of MJDesigns and is scheduled to hold its grand opening next month. Mixon says shoppers can expect Jo Ann’s to call the center home for at least a few years


“They bought MJDesign’s lease, which has two more years on it right now, with a five-year option.”


Loyal customers of MJDesigns should recognize at least some of that store’s former employees; Mixon says Jo Ann’s hired many who found themselves out of work.


But the biggest news is what’s moving into the former Tall-E-Ho store, which closed a couple of months ago. Scheduled to takes its place is a Pei Wei Asian Diner, a fast-casual Asian fusion restaurant, sister to P.F. Chang’s and wildly popular in the nearby ’burbs.


Mixon says he has no other changes planned for the center, especially since extensive renovations were just completed last year. A few spaces are still available, but Mixon hopes they will fill up soon after the new tenants move in.


What type of tenants does Mixon hope to fill those spaces with?


“We don’t have any hard and fast rules on who our tenants are,” he says, “but we try to protect the people already in business here by not bringing in similar stores. And the more variety we can get, the more interest we will draw in.”


It all comes down to what shoppers want, he says. And knowing that comes from knowing the neighborhood.


“The demographics are changing out here,” he says. “We’re getting a younger group of people in this area. We have to think of what they want, not about what we want.”


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