The developers of a new shopping center on N. U.S. Highway 97 were in Bend on Friday to show off the property as two tenants come close to opening their stores.

In terms of cost per square foot, Robal Road Village is probably one of the most expensive shopping centers ever built by First Western Development Services of Edmonds, Washington, executive Scott Shanks said.

While Shanks said the center is close to being fully leased, he acknowledged that competition from online retail presents a challenge to landlords.

“What we’re trying to do now in our projects — we want to get tenants who are, we call it ‘Amazon-proof,’” he said. They tend to be companies that offer an in-person shopping experience, he said. “Most of the tenants we’re putting in here, they’ve got it figured out,” he said.

The first two stores to open will be Ulta Beauty and T-Mobile, both in the first week of February, First Western executives said. Ulta has scheduled a grand opening event for Feb. 9, according to a company press release. Black Rock Coffee and Gentle Dental will be open in early March.

Other tenants that have their spaces under construction or are still obtaining permits are BedMart, MOD Pizza and Mud Bay.

Trails End Liquor, a new Oregon license holder, is also slated to occupy space in the shopping center, but its lease is contingent on approval from other tenants, First Western executives said.

The two largest tenants, Chick-fil-A and Cracker Barrel, are building their own buildings. Cracker Barrel expects to pull permits in April and open the restaurant in the fall, while Chick-fil-A has said it will be open by the end of the year, Shanks said.

Shanks is part of a development partnership, Robal Road LLC, whose other partners include Mack DuBose and Jeremy DuBose. Robal Road LLC bought the 6 1⁄2-acre property in 2016.

Shanks said the project has been in the works for a decade.

He originally planned a much larger shopping center spanning land east of Nels Anderson Road but scaled it back because that land is slated to become part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s re-routing of Highway 97.

Robal Road Village is the first new shopping center in Bend since the Market of Choice grocery store and a neighboring strip center opened between NW Colorado and NW Arizona avenues in 2016.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

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