What's in store for Fairfield's newest retail center on state Route 4?

Officials, marketers optimistic about potential

FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- The Spinning Fork and Starbucks soon will have some new neighbors on state Route 4.

Ground broke recently for a retail center being developed on Dixie Highway between the restaurant and coffee shop.

"I think it's in a good location," said Alex Kraemer, economic development manager for the city of Fairfield.

The 9,000-square-foot retail center is being built on 1.2 acres on state Route 4 and will be accessible from Stockton Station Drive. It's designed to accommodate up to five retailers. Guthrie's Chicken Fingers and Rapid Fired Pizza already have been announced as tenants.

"I keep hearing fast casual is where people want to go eat," Kraemer said.

While state Route 4 seems to have no shortage of strip malls as it is, city officials and marketers for the development are optimistic about the center's success. Even with the abundance of retail centers in the area, there is demand from potential tenants for spots to set up shop.

"There are tenants who are interested in being on that corridor," said Andrew Sellet, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate company responsible for marketing the retail center.

The quantity of other businesses in the area could even be beneficial for retailers in the new strip mall.

"The more competition, the better sometimes," said Greg Kathman, director of development services for the city of Fairfield.

High population and traffic volume in the area don't hurt, either. More than 148,000 people reside within 5 miles of the future retail center, and the area sees roughly 41,000 vehicles a day traveling along the state route.

Surrounded by residential property on one side of Dixie Highway and industrial and office buildings on the other, there are "a lot of potential customers," Kathman said.

Still, there are some strategies that might help boost the retail center's chances for success. There are no other nearby locations of the two restaurant chains slated to lease space in the building, so their uniqueness could help set the new strip mall apart.

As the property owners consider additional tenants, they'll also need to balance out the plaza's offerings.

"They've got to get good quality tenants in there that complement each other," Kathman said.

Additional restaurants are unlikely, but a cellphone or other chain retailer is plausible, Kraemer said.

"It's a matter of bringing other services to the area that the community is interested in having there," Sellet said.

Representatives for Cushman & Wakefield have done a void analysis to help identify businesses not yet operating in the area.

With construction just beginning, the property owners have a little time to find tenants to lease the remaining space.

"It's relatively early in the construction process," Kathman said.

The building is slated for completion in late 2017.

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