Sawmill Loses Restaurant, But Still On Track


Two prospective restaurant tenants have pulled out of the Sawmill Crossing development, but one of those tenants has already been replaced, said Gordon Whiting, vice president of property management for Kaibab Industries.

Kaibab also has letters of intent, he said, for all but 2,000 square feet of retail space in the new theater/shopping complex rising on Main Street near the Beeline Highway.

According to Whiting, the Mexican restaurant planned for the west side of the theaters has pulled out, as has the Italian restaurant slated for the northeast side next to the courtyard.

"But we have a letter of intent from another Italian restaurant for that spot," Whiting said, "and there has also been some interest expressed in the space where the Mexican restaurant was going, although not by a potential restaurant tenant."

The Sawmill Crossing project will occupy 14 acres south of Main Street and west of the Beeline Highway. During this first phase, three buildings, which will house the theaters and nearly 30,000 square feet of retail and office space, are being built on 7.5 acres of the northern portion of the parcel.

Additionally, three pad sites along the Beeline, and one on Main will be marketed with the first phase.

The 16,500-square-foot cineplex the town's first movie venue since the Payson Picture Show closed in 1998 will feature stadium seating and digital sound in the two largest auditoriums.

As the project moves steadily toward completion, the exterior facade is beginning to take shape. Kaibab is striving for a "Western territorial architectural theme," Whiting said.

It is an architectural style that features big wood beams, unpainted wood, and metal roofing. "The stonework that has been recently added is a big part of it," he said.

What Whiting doesn't want Sawmill Crossing to look like is Rawhide, the Old West entertainment complex outside Scottsdale.

"And we also want something a little different from Old Tucson. But the territorial look is still very Western. It's just a little more unique and upscale than those places," he said. "We really want to avoid the fake facade look so many of those places have."

Whiting also said he thought developer George Harrison's decision to drop the four-screen movie theater from the new mall planned for the old Wal-Mart building was a wise decision.

"It was the smart thing to do," he said. "We'd be open before him and we'd have two extra screens. Before it was over, one of us would have closed our doors."

Kaibab is still hoping to have its theater complex open for business by Nov. 3. "It will be close," Whiting said, "but it's still what we're aiming for."

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