Business

Guess what's opening at Okatie Crossing?

By JIM FABER

The Island Packet

Although the first anchors of the 300-acre Okatie Crossing shopping center won't open until next fall, some of the businesses rising on the perimeter will open soon.

The first of the bunch will be a Wendy's restaurant just north of the intersection of U.S. 278 and Palmer Grace Drive West.

The Wendy's should open July 2, said Bryan Saba, director of operations for Manna Incorporated, the franchisee. Manna also has two Wendy's on Hilton Head Island, two in Hardeeville and one in Bluffton.

When completed, Okatie Crossing, at the northwest corner of U.S. 278 and S.C. 170, will have more than 800,000 square feet of retail space. As a size comparison, The Mall at Shelter Cove is roughly 255,000 square feet.

Joining Wendy's in the Okatie Crossing outlots will be a Zaxby's chicken restaurant on Baylor Brook Drive, north of The Marketplace at Okatie and facing S.C. 170.

Franchisees Susan and Bill McKinney are moving to Hilton Head from Athens, Ga., and plan to open the 89-seat restaurant in August.

An auto and tire store also is nearing completion next door to Wendy's.

Two other businesses have been identified as being among the strip of stores that will be built parallel to U.S. 278.

An 18,000-square-foot Ethan Allen design center and store should open in spring 2008, said Peg Lupton, spokeswoman for the furniture and design company.

A 4,700-square-foot, full-service branch of First Citizens Bank will be built, but there is no timeline for construction yet, said John Freeman, corporate real estate manager for the Columbia-based bank.

The bank has branches in Bluffton and on Hilton Head.

As for the bulk of the 800,000-square-foot shopping center, the first anchor tenant should open in March 2008. It will be a department store currently not represented in the Lowcountry, said Claudia Jones, asset manager for Tennessee-based Horne Properties, which is developing the center.

Horne, however, might not see the center through development. Jones said the company has a pending transaction with another national developer to either partner on development or sell the center.

She declined to name the national developer or the department store.'

The development will have a 300,000-square-foot power center and a 500,000-square-foot lifestyle center.

Power centers generally have fewer tenants and are dominated by anchors. The lifestyle side will be more upscale and combines shopping with other leisure features aimed at more affluent consumers.

Horne has said a Dillard's will anchor the lifestyle part of the center, which won't open until spring 2009.

The Little Rock, Ark.-based upscale department store hasn't confirmed they will join the shopping center.

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