Retail center takes shape on US 183



More than 40,000 square feet of new retail space is only months from opening as The Shops at San Gabriel Ridge takes shape.

Just south of Liberty Hill at the intersection of Whitewing Drive and US Hwy 183, the center is a labor of love for developer Dwain Schuh.

“I’m the architect, the builder and the general contractor for the whole project,” he said. “I am in it from start to finish. I enjoy it, and that’s why I do it.”

Schuh, who is the owner and founder of Furniture Market on IH-35 in north Austin, will be opening his second location in the new development, anchoring the site with as many as a dozen retail and restaurant spaces.

“I am both a furniture guy and a small-time real estate developer,” he said. “I thought it was a good location and this is just a booming area out here, and will continue to be.”

The first Furniture Market opened in 1999 and the new location will be just under 20,000 square feet.

“This should be a good location for a Furniture Market store, plus we will be able to service all the small towns that come in on 183. It’s kind of like a funnel.”

Originally a furniture wholesaler, Schuh decided to try his hand at furniture retail nearly two decades ago and never looked back.

“That’s how Furniture Market was born,” he said.

Summing up the store is not something he finds easy.

“It’s difficult to put it into a few sentences,” Schuh said with a grin. “We have probably one of the best leather galleries in Central Texas, and we also are known across the state for our rustic furniture. We get rustic furniture from many different places, but a bunch of it comes from Mexico and we’ve had the same factories we’ve worked directly with for 15 years. It’s a full-line furniture store, so you’ll have all the bedroom furniture, dining, fabric sofas and everything else.”

The rest of the new retail center offers flexible options and Schuh is still working to fill every space.

“We’re pretty flexible with from about 1,500 square feet to probably 5,000,” he said. “They can come by the site and see me or call. We want to fill it up and make it a really nice neighborhood center.”

In addition to the Furniture Market, he said there is a dentist and pizza restaurant already on board. He is also in conversations with a couple of options on a possible coffee shop.

“We’re going through the process with Starbucks, but they do everything at their speed,” he said. “There’s another coffee shop we’re talking to possibly as well, called Summer Moon.”

The shopping center has been built with two drive thru locations and has necessities for restaurants such as built-in grease traps so he is ready for anyone looking for a place to land.

“We’re looking for a regional restaurant, some kind of comfort food or Mexican food, maybe a brew pub kind of place.”

The potential customer base continues to grow daily, with new homes in every direction and traffic counts on Hwy 183 increasing all the time and that has Schuh excited for the future.

“There will be 4,000 homes dumping out on that street within a couple of years,” he said. “That is a phenomenal number.”

Being directly involved with every aspect of the project, Schuh is not shy about how much it means to him to create a product everyone will be excited to see in the area.

“I build a higher quality project,” he said. “The entire building is masonry with less than 10 percent stucco. We didn’t take any shortcuts. We have real columns throughout the center, we have a big crown or cornice on top of the buildings. All the sidewalks will be paved stone, it will be tastefully landscaped.”

He can hardly wait to see the finished product himself.

“We can all stand back and look at it in a couple of months,” he said, smiling. “What I want is to stand back and look at it and not say, ‘Gosh, I wish I would have done this or that.’ I really want to put something on the ground that is my signature. We’re going to be a diamond for Liberty Hill.”