The Shoppes at Legacy Park, a new six anchor store shopping center, is taking shape near the intersection of 15th Street and McFarland Blvd. in Tuscaloosa.
The project's developer says the first anchor store to open will be The Fresh Market, with a projected opening date of August 5.
According to Keith Owens with Alumni Development & Construction, the anchor stores will open in phases, with a grand opening for the entire center set for October.
Following The Fresh Market, Owens says PetSmart will open by late August or early September, as well as Dick's Sporting Goods on September 8. Owens says the remaining anchor stores, Bed Bath & Beyond, World Market and DSW, should open by late September.
“School starts about that time, so it's a peak season in Tuscaloosa,” Owens said of the timing.
In addition to the anchor stores, The Shoppes at Legacy Park has 80,000 square feet of additional space for shops and restaurants. Owens says some commitments for those spaces include Nothing but Noodles, BurgerFi, Mountain High Outfitters, Village Nails and Chuy's .
Once it is complete, Owens says The Shoppes at Legacy Park will create more than 400 jobs. Owens says some retailers are already accepting applications online for the Tuscaloosa locations.
He also says to expect to see hiring trailers on site, as well as the individual businesses conducting interviews in their stores, as the center nears completion.
Road construction is also happening around the shopping center site, on McFarland Boulevard, 13th Street and Edward Hillard Drive.
Owens says the construction on McFarland Blvd. will continue beyond Legacy Park's opening, but it will not create a barrier for shoppers. He anticipates the 13th Street work to be finished in time for Legacy Park's opening.
Owens says the high traffic of the McFarland Blvd. and 15th Street intersection is what drew developers and retailers to this site. He says he feels confident the five access points from surrounding streets into the center will help ease traffic flow.
“Getting a rear access point back there, two on 13th Street, two on McFarland, and then with the future redevelopment of the other available property over there in our area, it's going to be a lot more traffic flow positive, than it is negative, once you figure it out," he said.
Owens says opening the center in phases will also help drivers to adjust to traffic flow in the area.
“It's going to be something where it's going to take experience getting down there to shop it, but it's going to have plenty of access points," he added.
Owens also said many of the retailers had been interested previously in Tuscaloosa, but could not find the right opportunity. Owens says his company's partnership with the City of Tuscaloosa, which involves tax incentives for the businesses, helped make Legacy Park the right opportunity for them.
“They tried to get in the market several times and were unable to make the numbers work, unable to get the right location. We were able to get the right location, and through our development agreement with the City of Tuscaloosa, we were able to get the numbers and everything to work," Owens said.
The site where The Shoppes at Legacy Park is under construction was previously occupied by part of the Cedar Crest neighborhood, before it was destroyed in the April 27, 2011 tornado.
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