kewise, the Memorial Road Starbucks was one of hundreds closed nationwide in December.
Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale were also part of a nationwide shutdown by their corporate parent, while Casablanca and Northfork were locally owned businesses.
Add to such closings the loss of big box retailers such as Circuit City at Memorial and Pennsylvania, and Almaraz sees a slowdown ahead for the strip’s rapid development, including large lifestyle centers announced the past two years for Western and Memorial and just north of Quail Springs Mall.
"So many of these rely on national and regional tenants,” Almaraz said. "Money is tight. They’ve slowed down expansion. Without those additional dollars that are so vital to retail fiber, there will be a slowdown.”
Still a strong forecast
He also cautions against betting against Memorial Road.
Hogan is continuing to lure office tenants along Memorial just east of Meridian (a AAA call center is under construction) and Almaraz notes the area is continuing to see hotel and residential development nearby.
"We see growth all around,” Almaraz said. "It’s certainly a destination corridor.
"Some of these places would have closed no matter what. I don’t think they are as reflective of the area as much as they are the economy.”