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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Wal-Mart Opening Set to Spark Surge in Retail Along 35th Avenue

When Wal-Mart opens its doors on Jan. 19 at the southwest corner of 35th and Southern avenues at the Laveen Village Center, it will mark another milestone in Laveen’s commercial growth, as well as the end of an extensive battle by the retail giant to set up shop in the South Mountain area. And, as with any Wal-Mart location, there is no lack of businesses planning openings of their own to capitalize on the expected surge in shoppers.


Michael Moreines, owner of Sierra Sun Properties and a partner with Terrazona, the developer for the remaining 18 acres surrounding Wal-Mart, said some tenants are already confirmed for a strip of retail space on the south end of the property along 35th Avenue. Leases have been signed for the following businesses: go! wireless, Supercuts, The Clothing Co., La Nails, Sally Beauty Supply, R&R Pizza, Church’s Fried Chicken, Antonio’s and Jack in the Box.


In addition, Terrazona is the developer for the project on the intersection’s northeast corner. Signed tenants for that development, which will have nearly 100,000 square feet of retail space, include Ace Hardware, Dollar Tree, Checker Auto Parts, Walgreens and Electra Communications, as well as a Chinese buffet, nails salon, barber and Mexican grill. According to Moreines, permits have already begun for construction and workers will begin moving dirt soon.


“We’re going to have a combination of national credit tenant and ‘mom-and-pops’ (for both developments),” added Moreines.


One of the major tenants confirmed for the Laveen Village Center is TCF Bank. The Wayzata, Minn.-based financial holding company has 455 banking locations in six states, including Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and Indiana, but only one currently in Arizona.


“Twin Cities Financial is a new bank coming to town in a huge way,” Moreines said.

“They’re making a big push in this area.”


The tentative opening date for tenants in both developments is third quarter 2007.


A familiar figure in Laveen commercial development, Terrazona is also currently involved in projects at 51st Avenue and Baseline Road as well as 51st Avenue and Dobbins Road.


On the northwest corner of 35th and Southern avenues, former Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith is working with Cypress Equities, an affiliate of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach’s real estate development company, to create a 25-acre retail center that will include a Mervyn’s department store. The southeast corner is set for a mixed-use retail and residential development.


Wal-Mart’s opening brings an additional grocery and retail option that people throughout the South Mountain and Laveen villages have requested for many years, said Delia Garcia, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart. In addition, the company’s investment in the community also results in tax dollars staying in South Phoenix, instead of cities such as Tempe and Chandler where major retailers are more common.


One of the most noticeable aspects of the Laveen Wal-Mart Supercenter is the exterior’s untraditional appearance. Whereas many Wal-Mart locations have a familiar big-box retailer look, the 200,000-square-foot Laveen location has a more rural appearance.


“The aesthetics are different,” Garcia said. “The community was very involved with what the store should look like – that it should blend in with the rustic look and the history of the community.”


As part of Wal-Mart’s grand opening, the company is making charitable contributions to numerous organizations in the South Mountain area, including the South Mountain/Laveen Chamber of Commerce.


“Every year our stores have opportunities to give back to the community,” said Garcia. “The more successful the store, the more they can give back. It’s a win-win for everybody.”


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