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On their way: New restaurants, retail coming to Queen Creek, San Tan Valley
No date has been scheduled to begin construction on an In-N-Out Burger planned in the Queen Creek Marketplace, on the corner of Rittenhouse and Ellsworth roads in Queen Creek. A representative from Vestar, the company that owns the marketplace, believed In-N-Out Burger would begin construction of its Queen Creek restaurant within 30 days, as reported in the Nov. 20, 2013, issue of the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent. However, according to information from the In-N-Out Burger corporate office, no start date has been set. The update was received after the paper went to press. (Courtesy of the town of Queen Creek)

New businesses and restaurants are on their way to Queen Creek and San Tan Valley.

The most recent eatery is Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, which opened Nov. 12 in the Skyline Marketplace, 1746 W. Hunt Highway in San Tan Valley, according to its corporate website.

The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating for 120 people as well as drive-thru service, restaurant manager Dan Riedmatter said during a phone interview Nov. 14. It is the first Freddy’s in Pinal County, the 12th in Arizona and the 102nd store in the United States, according to the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent’s news media partner www.santanvalley.com.

The store’s menu includes steakburgers and frozen custard as indicated by its name as well as Vienna beef hot dogs, sandwiches and desserts, according to the corporate website.

Skyline Marketplace at Gary Road and Hunt Highway also will be the home of a new Dunkin’ Donuts store and Ace Mulligan Homes, according to Stacey Gramazio, president of the Greater San Tan Chamber of Commerce.
Ace Mulligan Homes is scheduled to open Dec. 15 in the Skyline Marketplace as long as the building is ready, founding broker and managing partner Bob Russo said during a phone interview Nov. 14.

The company is a rebranding of Impulse Realty, Inc., a 12-year-old real estate company based in Florence, Mr. Russo said. Ace Mulligan will provide retail leasing and land brokerage as well as single- and multi-family rental property oversight, according to the press release.

“The market is much different than it was five, six years ago. We’re here to help people understand it,” Mr. Russo said in a press release.

Mr. Russo said he plans to hire a minimum of 10 real estate agents as well as property managers and a receptionist for the real estate sales and rentals office. For more information, call 520-426-1961 or 520-424-2244.

San Tan Valley also is home to a new Firehouse Subs. The store at 1735 W. Hunt Highway celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting event Oct. 21, according to a press release. The store offers hot and cold sandwiches, salads and other specialty items, according to its corporate website.

The store’s decor pays homage to fire service. Franchise owner Robert Hundley worked with Rural/Metro Fire Department to create a fire service-inspired wall mural for the store, according to a press release. In addition, Rural/Metro donated some items to display at the store, including helmets, coats and fire gear, the release said.

Future growth in the area could be driven by the entertainment complex planned by Maya Cinemas, according to Jon D. Willis of Willis Property Co. LLC.

Maya Cinemas plans to break ground in early 2014 at Hunt Highway and Gary Road, just east of Wal-mart, on a 59,000-square-foot, 14-screen movie theater and several restaurants, Mr. Willis, who represents Los Angeles-based Maya Cinemas, said during a phone interview Nov. 12. He said he expected the $24 million complex to hire 250 people; another 250 people will be employed during its construction.

Mr. Willis said he is in discussions with both local and national chain restaurants for the complex but added he could not reveal their identities. Future phases will include more restaurant and retail space.

The project was first presented to the Queen Creek Town Council earlier this year; however, the council decided instead to accept an application by Arizona-based Harkins Theatres to build a 14-screen theater in the Queen Creek Marketplace, which is on the corner of Rittenhouse and Ellsworth roads in Queen Creek.

Like the Maya Cinemas complex in San Tan Valley, the Harkins Theatres project in Queen Creek could drive new business to downtown Queen Creek, said Doreen Cott, economic development director for the town of Queen Creek.

“We’ve had quite a bit of interest ranging from retailers and restaurants,” Ms. Cott said during a phone interview earlier this month. Some of the interest can be attributed to major developments such as the theater complex and development of a 20-acre parcel of commercial property owned by the town of Queen Creek east of Ellsworth Road and north of Maya Road, she said, but much is due to an upswing in the economy and the number of homes being built in Queen Creek.

“Rooftops help drive retail,” she said. “There is definitely a lot interest.”

Harkins plans to break ground in January on its site in the Queen Creek Marketplace, Ms. Cott said.

The marketplace is seeing a lot of new openings, according to Denise Hart, vice president of marketing for Vestar, the company that owns and operates the shopping center.

Smashburger opened its 2,200-square-foot store Aug. 21, creating 30 new jobs in Queen Creek, Ms. Hart said in an e-mailed response to questions. It offers hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, salads and shakes, according to its corporate website.

Geno’s Giant Slice pizza shop is expected to open its 1,773-square-foot store Monday, Nov. 18, in the marketplace Ms. Hart said. Its menu will include pizza, sandwiches, wings and salads, according to its corporate website.

It is projected to create 20 new jobs, Ms. Hart said.

There is no update for a Macayo’s Mexican restaurant planned for the shopping center, Ms. Hart said.

Ms. Hart believed In-N-Out Burger would begin construction in the marketplace within 30 days, according to an e-mail Nov. 14. However, the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent received updated information about the start of construction after the paper went to press Nov. 15. A start date has not been planned, Carl Van Fleet, vice president of planning and development for In-N-Out Burger, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“We are enthusiastic about our location in Queen Creek but, at this time, it is still a little early in the process to try to pinpoint a construction start date,” Mr. Van Fleet said.

He said once construction begins, it normally takes the company about five months to open for business. A hiring date will not be set until the restaurant has been under construction for a few months, he added.

The Queen Creek Town Council approved the site plan for the 3,350-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru April 1, 2009, according to Queen Creek Planning Administrator Wayne Balmer.

The facade of the Queen Creek restaurant will be unique within the company, Mr. Balmer said during a phone interview Nov. 14. The company’s traditional colors are bright white, red and yellow. The Queen Creek location’s tan stucco exterior is designed to be consistent with the Queen Creek Marketplace design guidelines and the town’s cultural appearance while acknowledging some of In-N-Out Burger’s basic signature colors, according to an information packet presented to the council for the April 1, 2009 meeting. It was provided to the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent by Mr. Balmer.

The restaurant’s move to break ground after two years is a good sign for the community, Mr. Balmer said.
“It shows companies are taking notice of the market growth,” he said.

In addition, representatives from Aaron’s Rent to Own, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro and a drive-through car wash have expressed interest in sites in the downtown area, but no plans have been formalized, Ms. Cott said.

For more information, visit the town of Queen Creek's website.

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