Long-quiet Briargate Crossing picks up new momentum

After a few quiet years, the earth is starting to move again at Briargate Crossing.

The shopping center north of the intersection of Briargate and Powers boulevards started strong in 2007 with a Super Target, Chili’s and other national brands. But as the economy slowed, the development went into hibernation. Chili’s closed and nothing new opened for a couple years.

But the Continental Properties development is growing again. Carlos Miguel’s, a local Mexican restaurant chain, moved into the former Chili’s. The Little Gym leased 4,500 square feet in a vacant storefront earlier this year, relocating from the corner of Tutt Boulevard and Barnes Road, and has dramatically increased membership, says Paul Rubley, an Olive Real Estate Group broker who represents the property.

Yogurt in Love, an independent frozen yogurt shop, also moved in. Rubley says he has a parcel under contract with a national fast-food chain, and Kum & Go is building a convenience store/gas station on Briargate Crossing’s northeast corner. Rubley’s working on pre-leasing other space, with building to start after getting commitments from other national brands.

So, what’s changed? For one, the overpass at Powers and Briargate is complete. The shopping center was graded to be most visible from the overpass, but when that was delayed, it remained largely hidden from the road.

“Now, the visibility is finally where it was meant to be,” said Tom Vaughn, who oversees the project for Continental Properties.

On top of that, the economy is moving again, he said. The developer initially had plans for high-end apartments on the northwest edge of the property, Vaughn said, but the market could become overdeveloped with several new apartment projects underway.

The shopping center is located next to a new luxury apartment complex.

“Every time I check in with them, they’re 100 percent full,” Vaughn said, “which gives me pause.”

But he said the complex’s owners haven’t broken ground on a planned second phase yet.

“And that gives me pause again,” he said.

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