Initially, Prescott Realty Group had “grand visions” of attracting a lot of national retailers to the Lake Highlands Town Center, says Mark Henderson, a neighborhood resident and Prescott’s retail managing director.

But in 2007, those retailers were telling Henderson to check back in a year, and by October 2008, when the market hit bottom, they had only three words for him: “No new deals.” And they mean it, he says. Not even the typical incentives can change their minds. In fact, Henderson says, national retailers told him they would be closing stores with mediocre sales performances.

This left Prescott Realty in a lurch, and caused the development group to switch gears: Instead of going after national retailers, Prescott is now modeling its retail strategy after “neighborhood service-oriented centers” with mom-and-pop retailers, Henderson says, like Snider Plaza, Inwood Village or Preston Royal Shopping Center.

A couple of things this means for the Town Center:

• Prescott still plans to have a grocery store anchor the Town Center, and Sprouts Farmers Market is expected to sign a lease within a few days of this magazine’s delivery. The grocer has already given Prescott its permission to use its name in promotional material.

• Because of its new strategy, Prescott plans to come up with an incentive program for neighborhood retailers to open up a second shop or move to the Town Center. Henderson believes any interested retailers south of Mockingbird, west of Abrams or north of LBJ would open a second location because it would serve a different geographic market; those closer might just move.