Final plans for the Fry's SaddleBrooke Marketplace are still not solidly in place, but moving forward, according to the Pederson Group, developers of the site. For many years, the land development company has hoped to secure the food retailer as the anchor store in the strip center. "We should have a clear direction on the timing of this project by late December," according to Rob Bassett, Chief Operating Officer at Pederson in Phoenix.

The company is now requesting new bids for the project from construction companies. According to Bassett, "We are currently in the process of repricing the project. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a market where price escalations are very unpredictable" for the 120,000-acre site. "Once we receive final pricing, we plan to commence construction the first quarter of 2022."

I asked Bassett if the giant food vendor The Kroger Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio, has requested the store size to be increased to a "superstore." He told me, "Your information is not correct. Unfortunately, I can't comment further."

Pederson estimates that the current population in the proposed development market area is approximately 40,000 and will grow to 45,500 in 2026. According to the developer, the average household income is now $80,765, "in an area with limited retail competition." The site plan calls for the grocer, a bank, gas station, restaurants, and retail services.

The SaddleBrooke Marketplace proposed development is located at the main entrance to SaddleBrooke's planned master community, offering 1,000-feet of prime frontage on Oracle Road. The Pederson Group has struggled to develop the site for many years. It has already invested heavily into the property's infrastructure. "This has been a challenging project for us, but we are committed to seeing it through."

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