A group of investors led by Brad Saville will convert a former eatery at 21st Street North and Maize Road into a two-tenant retail center.
AT&T will be the first to occupy the former Taco Bueno site. The company will put a retail store in 3,500 square feet of the building. Another 2,500 square feet will be available for lease.
AT&T declined to discuss the specifics of its plans. But, said spokesman Don Brown, "AT&T is always looking for ways to offer more convenience to our customers. We have a definite interest in pursuing a retail outlet at that location."
Taco Bueno’s presence was short-lived, opening in November 2006 and closing seven months later. Saville remained unruffled about its rapid failure — "No sales at this particular location," he joked.
But he says a group of investors that owns the property — called North Maize Place — plan to use the space for the second phase of its project there, which is equal parts redevelopment and new construction.
"Our goal all along is to make this one cohesive development," says Saville, president of Landmark Commercial Real Estate Inc.
Bowling Alley Blowout
Already, developers lured Office Max and Logan’s Roadhouse to the 10-acre site.
The Taco Bueno project will create about 6,000 square feet of retail space. Key Construction is doing the work, which was valued at $450,000.
And later this year, the former Countryside West bowling alley will be converted to retail following a major demolition and expansion job. The front half of the 35,000-square-foot structure will be torn down to create better visibility for Office Max, which sits on its north side.
The bowling alley then will be expanded to the south at a cost of $1.5 million. A brick plaza will be constructed nearby, and the end-cap space has been slotted for a restaurant. Saville says developers have been in talks with two retailers and three restaurants about the bowling alley project.
"We’re trying to see what needs to be done to make it happen," he says.
All the buildings will have some of the same architectural features, designed by Shelden Architecture Inc. Towers will be added to the former Taco Bueno building.
The project adds to the retail at 21st and Maize, where the monolithic NewMarket Square dominates the scene on the west side of the street.
"I think it’s going to bring more traffic to the area, which is a good thing. Will it change NewMarket Square? I don’t think so," says April Reed, of NewMarket owner Slawson Commercial Development Co.
She says NewMarket commands heavy traffic thanks to its Wal-Mart and Target stores. Lease rates range from $20 to $23 per square foot.
"We are what we are. We can command the type of rents we are asking," Reed says.
Saville says space in North Maize Place leases from $18 to $28 per square foot.
Meanwhile, AT&T’s presence will add to the already heavy saturation of cell phone dealers near 21st and Maize. Within view are Alltel, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile stores. AT&T wouldn’t comment about the fate of its current store a mile to the east at 21st and Tyler.
"It’s definitely an opportunity for customers to shop a little," says Holly Kalinowski, manager of the T-Mobile store at 2441 N. Maize. "They just drive through the strip."