By Natalie Simms
If construction continues on schedule on the East Bend shopping center, local diners will get their first tastes of Rome’s new Chipotle and Panda Express restaurants by early October.
“Construction had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are continuing to move forward,” says Wright Ledbetter, COO of project developer Ledbetter Properties. “We had hoped to have retailers open this October had it not been for COVID, but it will be later next year.”
Exterior construction is nearly complete on Chipotle and Panda Express which face Turner McCall Boulevard. Ledbetter says both have a target opening date of October 1st. Meanwhile, construction started last month on the Texas Roadhouse on the corner of Hicks Drive and Turner McCall with the framing nearly complete. The restaurant has a target opening date of December 2020.
“Construction also continues on McAlister’s Deli in the far right corner. They also hope to open by the end of the year,” he says. “Fazoli’s is scheduled to start construction on September 1st with a tentative opening this December as well.”
Aside from the five new restaurants, a number of new retailers are also on the way. Ledbetter confirms the three anchors will be Kohl’s, Old Navy and Five Below. All had hoped to be open for this holiday season, but COVID pushed construction plans back.
“It looks like Old Navy and Five Below are targeting an opening of March 2021, but Kohl’s has delayed construction into 2021 with a projected opening next October,” says Ledbetter.
Discount Tire will be building next to the Texas Roadhouse with construction planned to begin this fall.
As for the smaller retailers, Ledbetter says construction on the 30,000 square foot retail strip should be complete by November with the first tenants opening in February 2021, ahead of the anchor stores.
“Right now we have it divided into 13 spaces and have about 85% leased. There are 4 spaces open that we are currently in lease negotiations with businesses. We have about 7,000 square feet remaining to lease,” he says. “There are some great opportunities for some good businesses to fill this space.”