National chains coming to $3.5M development

Busy Springfield corridor to see at least two new restaurants, developer says.

Two national restaurant chains will open locations in an expanding $3.5 million retail development in the Bechtle Avenue shopping corridor, including a fast-growing frozen yogurt chain.

Steven Speranza, Tolson Enterprises president of asset management, confirmed Friday that the Toledo-based company has two leases for space in the 12,000-square-foot development, which is under construction on Bechtle Avenue.

Speranza wouldn’t provide details on the restaurants, but said both are national chains.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, which has been labeled one of the fastest-growing limited-service restaurant franchises in the U.S., is opening a location at 1960 N. Bechtle Ave. in the development, according to its website.

Richard Mills, a spokesman for Orange Leaf, confirmed the location in an e-mail, but wasn’t available for comment.

Tolson Enterprises, which developed the buildings occupied by Chipotle and Panera Bread, purchased the Springfield Town Center, 1980 N. Bechtle St., in January for $2.5 million. The shopping center currently houses Buffalo Wild Wings, Sleep Outfitters and Sport Clips.

The construction for the expansion will cost $1 million, according to city building permits.

Speranza said several national retailers and restaurants are interested in the six new spaces. Construction is expected to be completed by Sept. 5 with spaces ready for development.

“We’re building and rolling along,” Speranza said. “We’re looking to turn the space as quickly as possible.”

The two anchors surrounding the shopping center – Walmart on one side, and Home Depot on the other – make it attractive for investments, as well as the income of residents in the area.

He said he believes the shopping center will be 80 to 90 percent full by the time the development is completed.

The company is also interested in purchasing undeveloped land north of Walmart to bring another major retail anchor to the area. Two of the six spaces could be combined into one location, Speranza said.

Bryan Heck, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, said the developer hasn’t submitted updated building plans for any of the retailers proposed for the expansion. The original plan for Springfield Town Center showed the building in its full capacity, but the developer broke the project into two phases.

“It’s always good to see investment in our main commercial corridors,” Heck said. “I think it’s a good sign of economic activity in Springfield and that the economy is turning and changing. We’re going to see continued investment and reinvestment in our commercial corridors.”

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is a self-serve location where customers fill a bowl with frozen yogurt and toppings, and pay by the ounce.

According to its website, the chain has 267 locations nationwide, as well as 124 opening soon. In Ohio, the chain has 27 restaurants either open or in development.

The company was listed by Technomic, a food industry consultant and research group, as the fastest-growing limited-service chain in the United States with less than $200 million in sales. The companies were ranked by increase in percentage sales change, and included second-place Menchie’s and third-place Smashburger.

Bechtle Avenue has seen several new businesses enter the market recently, including national chains such as Planet Fitness and Sport Clips, and regional chains such as Roosters and Sake Japanese Steakhouse.

The fact that national retailers are targeting Springfield is a good sign, Heck said.

“They do significant market studies to see how they’d perform in this area,” Heck said. “Springfield is obviously one of those areas that these national chains feel they’ll be competitive, but they’re going to be able to make money in those markets.”

There are currently two lots of undeveloped land located near the Walmart on Bechtle Avenue. A Ford dealership was proposed at one of those locations in 2011, but the development never came to be.

“It was an area planned for retail investment,” Heck said. “The way the market took a turn, it just hasn’t come to fruition yet.”

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