Stores and jobs coming to north Prescott

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>
Heavy equipment from Fann Contracting works the ground at the future site of the Lakeview Plaza shopping center near the intersection of Willow Creek and Willow Lake roads in Prescott Monday morning.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> Heavy equipment from Fann Contracting works the ground at the future site of the Lakeview Plaza shopping center near the intersection of Willow Creek and Willow Lake roads in Prescott Monday morning.

PRESCOTT - Massive Caterpillar D10 tractors and other heavy equipment are changing the landscape at the corner of Willow Creek and Willow Lake roads. What was once 15 acres of rocky, shrubby hillside soon will be the sprawling Lakeview Plaza.

The north Prescott shopping center will have as many as 15 businesses.

"For the City of Prescott, I can't think of any other project of that size in recent years," said David Maurer, CEO of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce.

Lakeview Plaza is not only the biggest commercial project of the year, it is also expanding business in north Prescott. "It provides more shopping opportunities for those at north end of town that often have to drive to the center of town to do their shopping," Maurer said, adding that a Fry's grocery store in the neighborhood has been doing well.

CVS and McDonald's will be Lakeview's anchor tenants, with as many as a dozen others to follow.

"CVS would like to be open prior to the end of the year," said Ken Mabarak, developer of the shopping center. There is currently a CVS on Miller Valley Road in Prescott; Mabarak said the new CVS will be bigger, at 14,000 square feet.

CVS representatives did not immediately return a phone call requesting a comment. McDonald's had also not responded to a query by press time.

The developer said initial clearing construction is going fine and on schedule, and he expected foundations ("pads") for CVS and McDonald's to be ready by the end of summer.

Though he was not prepared to release the companies, Mabarak said he had "two or three other" firm commitments in place.

If Mabarak's vision comes to fruition, Lakeview will eventually have a restaurant, grocer, bank and retail, as well as medical providers and office space.

The center should be an employment boost. Mabarak said McDonald's and CVS will employ around 80 employees between them. As for total employment at Lakeview Shopping Center, he expects "over 200, ultimately.

"Jobs are everything," Mabarak said. "It's not just about shopping."

"Any time you get more jobs for Prescott, it's a good thing," said Maurer.

The shopping center is just around the bend from the booming Prescott Lakes area, where nearly 1,000 homes have been built in the last decade.

"Retail has always followed rooftops, as the saying goes," said Mabarak. "What I want to do for the community is provide a place for the neighborhood shopping."

Shelly Holland, community manager of Prescott Lakes HOA, said she is hearing good and bad about Lakeview Plaza. "I think it's good for the community, because whenever we can bring in businesses it's always a plus," Holland said. "But construction activity never makes anyone happy, and they have moved enormous amounts of dirt.

"Some homeowners have been concerned about loss of privacy because of hills being moved... We do have some people that aren't happy."

Others are looking forward to the shopping center, she added.

"I've heard some positive," Holland said. "It'll be nice to have some more selections. We become creatures of habit and like to stay closer to home."

The shopping center's construction was delayed, as were many similar projects around the country, by the recession.

"We were in escrow when all of a sudden we had trouble on Wall Street," said Mabarak. "So we held onto it for a number of years.

"But we knew it was a great corner - probably the last big commercial corner in Prescott."

Follow Tom Scanlon on Twitter @tomscanlonpress.