Erin Schmidt, ESchmidt@ExplorerNews.com
Editors note: La Encantada announced after the EXPLORER'S deadline that Tiffany & CO. will be coming to the 258,000 square foot shopping center in the fall of 2006.
"Westcor built La Encantada to fill the demand for upscale shopping in Tucson. Tiffany & CO. certainly fits that bill. The jeweler has been one of the most requested brands from our shoppers, including Tucson residents, Mexican Nationals and tourists from around the world," Kai Hsiao said in a press release. Hsiao is the senior marketing manager for La Encantada.
Nov. 9, 2005 - For anyone spending time in the Catalina Foothills recently, a rumor is bound to pass through your ears. Could it be a Cheesecake Factory coming to the popular intersection of North Campbell Avenue and East Skyline Drive?
No, the developers say.
Many of the rumors are detailed; some even say a sign for the popular chain restaurant has been placed in front of Plaza Colonial, which is still under construction at the southwest corner of Campbell Avenue and Skyline Drive.
"If they're going in there, they haven't told us," said Eric Entringer, project manager for Plaza Colonial.
Construction on the 80,000 square-foot plaza is to be completed by the end of June, Entringer said.
Plaza Colonial will be a multi-use facility, with stores such as Medicine Man Gallery, Fashion Day Spa and Hai Yoon Clothing Boutique. Offices also will occupy much of the space. Coldwell Banker, Success Realty and Morgan Stanley are all opening offices.
Medicine Man Gallery and Coldwell Banker will move into the plaza in November, with Dress Rehearsal and My Closet following in December, Entringer said.
Sixty-three percent of the space has been leased, but a few other tenants are in the works and are confidential at this time, he said.
Plaza Colonial was constructed having a restaurant tenant in mind. Entringer would not say which restaurant was moving into the plaza.
He, too, had heard the Cheesecake Factory rumors and finds them comical, he said.
NCH Corporation, the owners of Plaza Colonial, did contact the chain, but were told the Cheesecake Factory had no interest in coming to Tucson, Entringer said.
Across the busy roadway of North Campbell Avenue sits another recently constructed plaza, Paloma Village Shopping Center.
The 64,000 square-foot multi-use strip-village has been open for a year and many of its tenants are increasing business to the area, said Peter Aronoff, managing member and part owner of NC Sky, owners of the center.
Starbucks Coffee and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar are two of the largest draws to the plaza, as well as CVS Pharmacy.
Paloma Village was designed with the Foothills resident in mind, Aronoff said. It is a shopping center where a resident can enjoy a meal, a cup of coffee, walk through an art gallery and pick-up a prescription.
The whole complex should be occupied within the coming months, Aronoff said.
Perhaps the biggest tenant at the shopping center hasn't even begun construction.
A 122-room Embassy Suites Hotel will be built on the grounds of the Paloma Village Shopping Center, said Dawn Ray, senior branch manager of brand communication for the all-suite hotel chain.
Construction will begin in January 2006 and should be completed in about 14 months.
Two other Embassy Suites Hotels exist in Tucson, 7051 S. Tucson Blvd, by the Tucson International Airport, and 5335 E. Broadway Blvd, in central Tucson.
There is a demand for another Embassy Suites Hotels in the Foothills, Ray said.
Embassy Suites has 175 locations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the hotel's Web site.
"We don't just put one anywhere," she said.
La Encantada Shopping Center has no hotels, but the stores within the 258,000 square-foot retail center are unique to Tucson shoppers, said Kai Hsiao, senior marketing director for La Encantada.
The first phase of businesses opened on the 37-acre lot in November 2003 and new businesses are opening monthly, Hsiao said.
Coldwater Creek and Yankee Candle Company are opening their doors in November. Followed in December by Muttropolis, which specializes in fashion and accessories for the pampered pooch.
La Encantada is 85 percent occupied, Hsiao said.
The center, located at the Northwest corner of Campbell Avenue and Skyline Drive, offers shoppers a gourmet grocery store, AJ's Purveyors of Fine Foods, restaurants and shopping, such as the Apple Store and St. John Sport.
There are three St. John Sports in the United States, Hsiao said. The company wanted to be in Tucson and leased a location at La Encantada. So far, it has done very well, Hsiao said.
Crate and Barrel is seeing a large success at La Encantada, he said.
The chain store redesigned its floor plan, taking away the standard two-floor outlet and opting for a sprawled one-level floor plan.
Owned by Westcor, La Encantada serves the community by offering entertainment and sponsoring many charity and fundraising events, Hsiao said.
There was, "a void that needed to be filled," he said.
Newly opened Maria Martin, a make-up artist and cosmetic store in La Encantada, by the same name, felt that "void." Martin had been successful in Los Angeles and opened a store selling unique, hard to find cosmetics in Scottsdale.
Large portions of her clientele were Tucson residents making the drive to her store in search for products that couldn't be found in the malls and shops of Tucson.
Martin decided after a year of success to open a store in Tucson. Her regular customers told her about the shopping center and she had to check it out herself. She did, enjoyed the location and chose to open up shop.
"It's beautiful," she said. "We're so happy here."
The outdoor lifestyle of shopping under canopies and spots of Tucson sunshine inspired her to expand her business.
A third store in Phoenix is set to open in November.
Steve Harvey, manager at Lucky Brand Jeans knows all too well about the demands of working in a newly opened store.
Lucky Brand Jeans opened at La Encantada in August and has seen a large crowd of customers since then, Harvey said.
Whether it is University of Arizona students, teens, mothers or sons, Lucky Brand Jeans has been busy fitting the customer with the right piece of denim, he said.
The reason La Encantada is a success is because Tucson shoppers enjoy the location and the items they can't find anywhere else in Tucson, Hsiao said.
"We're an upscale center in Tucson," he said. "A town center."