August 30, 2006 - Four new grocery stores in the next two years will open in Marana, from a bustling crossroads in the south to a commercially-starved residential development in the north.

The grocery stores will anchor four commercial developments: Marana Marketplace, Gladden Farms Commercial Center, The Shoppes at Tangerine Crossing and Village Center at Cortaro Ranch.

Developers recently filed with the town plans for Marana Marketplace and the shopping centers in Gladden Farms and Cortaro Ranch.

Marana Marketplace

Developer Larsen Baker will welcome an as-yet unnamed specialty grocer at the southeast corner of Orange Grove and Thornydale roads, the former site of an auto dealership. The intersection already has its share of home improvement stores.

Larsen Baker Director of Leasing Andy Seleznov continues to work on deals with tenants for Marana Marketplace. He has all but inked deals with the grocer, regional furniture store and a specialty clothing store that would make its first appearance in the Tucson region. Marana Marketplace has one tenant locked in - the Bank of the West.

"I'm also very, very close on a breakfast-oriented restaurant," Seleznov said.

Larsen Baker plans to break ground on the 79,000 square feet of retail buildings by the end of the year. The firm will make some changes to its development plan and resubmit it to the town's planning department in a few weeks, Seleznov said.

Gladden Farms Commercial Center

Northern Maranans anxiously await a large Fry's store in Gladden Farms, where residents remain isolated from restaurants and shops. The store will not open until the town constructs its Tangerine Farms Road, which will border the project.

The town hopes to have the road completed by late 2007, which means the Fry's could open in early 2008, real estate developer David Newquist said.

In addition to the 109,000-square-foot grocery store, the center will include 40,000 square feet of retail shops, including a haircutter and restaurants, both fast-food and sit-down.

"People are very excited," Newquist said. "Right now, they have to drive a ways to do their shopping."

The Shoppes at Tangerine Crossing

Another 100,000-plus-square-foot Fry's Marketplace will open next July at Thornydale and Tangerine roads in a project dubbed The Shoppes at Tangerine Crossing. The development also will include fast-food chains and two sit-down restaurants.

"We'll break ground in about six weeks," said Phoenix-based real estate developer Ron Ault.

Village Center at Cortaro Ranch

Marana's planning staff continues to review plans for Village Center at Cortaro Ranch, which also will include a grocer.

The 22-acre project will straddle the residential development, just east of Interstate 10 and north of Cortaro Farms Road. The 26,000-square-foot grocery store will surround an existing IHOP restaurant to the north and west.

The project includes 117,000 square feet for retailers and 29,000 for office space.

"We're talking to high-profile, national tenants," said Josh Westling of Tucson-based NCH Corporation/Transwest Properties. "Gourmet grocers to electronics to smaller retailers. There'll probably be a Subway and Starbucks presence."

Transwest Properties hopes to put a sit-down restaurant on the ground floor of one of the project's four buildings. An elevator will take people to the second floor, which will include offices.

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