By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Brentwood Developments plans to build a 124KSF Fry’s Marketplace store and gas station on 16.3 vacant acres at the northeast corner of Houghton Road and 22nd Street in Tucson. The site will also feature two additional buildings of 4,500SF and 12.9KSF, which could be used by other retail tenants, such as restaurants, hair salons, dry cleaners or other stores.
The existing Fry’s Food and Drug store location as 22nd Street and Harrison will be closed and sold. The new operation is being touted as the first of its kind in the Tucson area and will offer amenities such as a sushi bar, an expanded selection of meats and organic produce, an Asian bistro, Starbuck’s and a wine bar. When fully operational, the new location will employ approximately 160 people, roughly 40 more than at a typical Fry’s Food and Drug.
The building design calls for a height of 26-feet with a four-foot parapet. The developer has requested an amendment to the Houghton East Neighborhood Plan, which sets a maximum 20-foot height for non-residential development in the area.
The request cited a 1990 amendment to the plan that allowed heights of 28-35 feet for a development at Broadway Boulevard and Houghton. According to the proposal, standards for non-residential development have changed significantly since the Houghton East Neighborhood Plan was adopted in 1985.
Planning commission staff recommended setting a public hearing for January and will continue to review the proposal.
To date, there have been two neighborhood meetings regarding the project. Commission staff has received three letters of protest and one in support of the project so far. Concerns in the protest letters include the larger than usual size of the development for a neighborhood grocery center, existing vacant retail developments in the area, potential traffic impacts, wildlife and view protection, and potential impact on night sky viewing.
Traffic improvements are currently underway or slated for both Houghton Road and 22nd Street. Houghton will be widened to six lanes, and 22nd will go from two lanes to four, with new bike lanes and sidewalks as part of the improvements. Under the traffic impact study completed as part of the submittal’s preparations, the Fry’s site will have five access points, two on Houghton and three on 22nd.
Brentwood is the project developer and is being represented by The Planning Center. Brentwood expects the re-zoning process to take approximately six months. Company officials said construction schedules are planned to be determined in Q2. Requests for information on architectural and general contracting were not returned by press time.