COPPERAS COVE — The most current site plans for the Five Hills shopping center include the placement of Chick-fil-A, Chili’s and Panda Express restaurants.
At a summit meeting Wednesday in Copperas Cove, Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Polo Enriquez introduced the map, showing Chick-fil-A and Panda Express on the west side of the future Robert Griffin III Boulevard and Chili’s located near the Whataburger restaurant, currently under construction.
City Manager Andrea Gardner said the city hasn’t received any requests for building permits from the businesses. Daniel Campbell, development associate with Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate, the company in charge of developing the Five Hills property, said there are no signed agreements yet, but Copperas Cove is getting a lot of attention from retailers that haven’t been in its market before.
“With new infrastructure going in because of the north and south bypasses, it’s allowed tenants to get through the city much easier,” Campbell said. “We believe home sales and new home growth will rapidly increase in the city, which will increase all forms of development, especially retail.”
Monica Hull, director of business development at Copperas Cove EDC, attributes the attention of chain restaurants to the success seen by Walgreen’s and Starbucks in Copperas Cove because of the influence of Fort Hood.
“We know we have a lot of military here, but it’s hard to capture those data points because they don’t live in Copperas Cove,” Hull said. “One of the things we had to overcome was proving we have a market area to meet their qualifications.”
The new Chick-fil-A, Chili’s and Panda Express locations will be standalone buildings, like the Whataburger, but the shopping center also will have 35,000 square feet that can be leased to between 10 and 20 more occupants in the strip connected to H-E-B, Campbell said.
“We’ve got a few dedicated,” he said. “The biggest ones are out for lease right now. We think we’ll have a good announcement to make come the beginning of next year.”
New businesses in the city will not only give residents more choices, Enriquez said, but also will generate more property and sales tax revenue.