A plaza offering services, shopping and food will open in Surprise Friday with four eateries, but filling the three-building complex with businesses may take months.
Bell Mar Plaza, sporting the bright colors of a crayon box and featuring a fountain with water and laser-light shows, sits on Bell Road along the eastern gateway into Surprise. The 72,000-square-foot neighborhood plaza is slightly bigger than a football field.
Surprise Economic Development Director John Hagen said the distinctive-looking, mixed-used plaza is in a strong location to capture foot traffic from the more than 75,000 motorists who drive by daily.
Hagen also called the opening good news given the current economic downturn.
“It shows that Surprise has economic staying power and continues to experience new growth and attract new business during this difficult economic period,” he said.
Hurricane Grill & Wings, 5 & Diner Delux, Bite Me Breads & Cookies, and Picazzo’s Gourmet Pizza are the plaza’s first tenants.
“We are looking to expand outside of Florida, and we picked this location in Surprise basically because of the amount of cars that drive by in the course of a day,” said Andy LiButti, general manager of Hurricane Grill & Wings. “There are 75,000 vehicles that drive by this location, and we really feel (Bell Road) is a main artery.”
The plaza also is looking to add music to its venue with a jazz group performing Sundays for the first five weeks, according to leasing agent Jacee Carosella.
Esterra Development, a commercial real-estate company, has been working with Surprise on the project since 2006. The company built the plaza in 18 months. Kabab declined to provide the cost of the project.