The commercial real estate market has been going through some transition over the past few years, but experts at Zell Commercial Real Estate have a positive outlook for the future of Ahwatukee Foothills as more companies are moving in, creating more opportunity for local businesses.

"Ahwatukee is a great place," said Bryan Ledbetter, director of leasing for Zell Commercial Real Estate. "It's one of the few places where you have great income and it's been established for 20 years now. Businesses that are looking for a place to open find it's hard to find well established areas with great income. There are not a lot of new developments happening in Ahwatukee because there's not a lot of land left. I think what you have established is going to continue to get better."

Ledbetter said because the area is established it may see more local shops, like Wedge and Bottle, Pomegranate Cafe and Hillside Spot Café opening in the future. Those kinds of businesses may have previously only been found in downtown Phoenix or Arcadia, but Ahwatukee is becoming popular enough to support those local small businesses, Ledbetter said.

Ahwatukee Foothills has seen a lot of transition in the past year, especially at the intersection of Desert Foothills Parkway and Chandler Boulevard and Ray Road and 48th Street.

WD Coffee Company, which was located at 1241 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 127, closed recently after opening this past summer, but across the street the former Le Ragazze location is being filled with My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, at 1334 E. Chandler Blvd.

The area near Ray Road and 48th Street has been vacant for some time, but now Ledbetter says Broyhill and The RoomStore are taking over the old Stein Mart location and that Sprouts Farmers Market will be moving into half of the current The RoomStore location. Spencer's TV and Appliance is moving into the old ULTA location at the same corner.

"This shows you, you lose some, but they are being filled very quickly," Ledbetter said. "In a market where there are anchor spaces all over the Valley sitting vacant, Ahwatukee has been one that really hasn't had a lot of big-box opportunities, and now you've had a couple come up in the past few years and they are being filled quickly."

Besides large anchor spaces, there are also smaller spaces being filled. In Foothills Park Place near Sports Authority, Javelina Bike Store just signed a lease; Edufit, a personal trainer with multiple locations in the Valley, will be moving in; and My Fit Foods, a healthy meal company out of Houston, Texas, will be opening up, Ledbetter said. The Macaroni Grill that recently closed at 50th Street and Ray Road will be demolished to build a new Chick-fil-A.

Zell recently took over leasing for Mountainside Crossing at 42nd Street and Chandler Boulevard. They're hoping to fill the few empty spaces next to Arrivederci and Thai Basil.

"There's really been a lot of activity," Ledbetter said. "I think you're seeing a lot of existing tenants in the market doing well and repositioning themselves and moving to better locations. You're starting to see things pick up, but there is less vacancy in Ahwatukee than I am seeing in some other markets."

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