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Plaza at Golden Valley draws crowd

Retail stores open in new shopping center in Canyon Country

Posted: March 13, 2009 1:21 a.m.
Updated: March 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Katherine Canado, 3, of Canyon Country, peeks out from under a shopping cart as she waits for her mother at the new Target in the Golden Valley Plaza, which is now open for business. The 620,000-square-foot retail center is located between Golden Valley Road and Via Princessa east of Highway 14.

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Heather Cunado strolled out of the new Canyon Country Target with merchandise in hand for the second time in a week Wednesday morning. The Plaza at Golden Valley, which now includes Target, is "long overdue," Cunado said.

"I've seen a lot of new homes come up (since 2000) and not as much shopping. I'm really happy (the plaza is) here and at full capacity," the Canyon Country resident said. "It's so much better than having to drive clear across town."

The 620,000-square-foot retail center, located between Golden Valley Road and Via Princessa east of Highway 14, started to draw larger crowds and bring in more sales-tax dollars as a wave of stores opened early this month, starting with Panera Bread and Target.

Last August, Lowe's was the first major retailer to open; others have trickled in since then.

"It was weird at first just having (a couple of stores open) and kind of desolate," said a Panera Bread customer who sat sipping coffee and working on his laptop Wednesday morning. "I noticed once Target opened, things kind of picked up."

Panera Bread General Manager Jesus Avalos said the restaurant has seen a lot of business since opening March 2.

"All the people that live down the street (in Fair Oaks Ranch) are the ones coming," Avalos said. "They wanted something closer to where they live, so they just walk or drive up here."

Mike Aguilera, senior project manager of the plaza's developer, Terramar Retail Centers, said it's great to see full parking lots outside Target and Chili's Grill & Bar.

"It's absolutely wonderful due to the way the economy is right now that Target is actually flourishing with customers from March 3 until present," Aguilera said.

The economy has taken a toll on the amount of revenue city officials expect to come from the plaza.

Back in August when it opened, the city projected sales-tax revenue for the 2009-10 fiscal at $900,000. Now the estimate is about $778,000, said Laura Biery, administrative analyst for the city's economic development department.

In the bigger picture of other communities being hit much harder, that revenue gain is still a blessing, Biery said.

"We're not talking about a 50 percent drop," she said.

The plaza has also created jobs for locals; a "Now hiring" sign hangs from office supply retail store Staples.

"I know the Target employed 200 individuals," Biery said. "So that's 200 new jobs for our community and then additional jobs at Chili's. ... Several of them went to the WorkSource Center and found out about the jobs."

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