Mixed-use project and local shopping center attracts business, traffic to Lake Highlands

Ongoing development in the Lake Highlands Village Shopping Center is attracting new businesses to the area while developers seek partners for residential and commercial projects.

The 20-acre shopping center, located off Skillman Street near Audelia Road, will be a mix of retail, office space and townhomes upon completion, which is expected to be sometime in 2024. With the recent demolition of a historical building on the development site , the project remains on schedule, said William Rosatti, vice president of leasing for JAH Realty, the retail management firm overseeing the project.

“I think really [the shopping center] is going to be restaurants, boutique fitness clubs—like yoga studios, Pilates studios, boxing gyms—anything that would serve the Lake Highlands community,” Rosatti said.

A building has been demolished, and ground preparation is being done to make way for future townhomes. The residential community is expected to include a detailed landscape and a walking trail surrounding it, Rosatti said, and it will feed into the shopping center.

The shopping center already includes a Tom Thumb, Starbucks, PNC Bank, Zato Sushi and an Anytime Fitness, among other businesses ranging from medical offices to retail stores and service-oriented industries, such as a nail spa and a laundromat. Rosatti said the shopping center continues to attract new tenants. Out of the 43 retail spaces, 18 are available to new tenants.

Recent openings and commitments include Mija Taqueria, which opened in May, and Strouderossa BBQ, which is set to open by early 2023.

Matthew Stroud, Strouderossa BBQ owner, said he believes the townhomes, which will be within walking distance, will drive additional traffic to his restaurant.

“Making a good barbecue is 50% of the battle, but having a venue that everybody wants to come to, that’s another battle,” Stroud said.

Rosatti said there has been “a lot of activity” in the real estate market.

“We have some pretty high-profile restaurants that have expressed great interest, and then there are also offices and medical [facilities] as well,” he said.

Rosatti said the realty firm is interested in partnering with a business suite management firm to bring shareable, flexible working spaces to Lake Highlands residents by potentially turning the upper floor of one of the two-story buildings into a potential business center.

Construction of the Skillman Street bridge off I-635, which is expected to also be completed in 2024, adds the possibility of bringing more traffic to the shopping center from commuters.

“This new Skillman bridge is really going to create a grand entrance to Lake Highlands and our shopping center, and our development will be really right there at the gateway of it,” Rosatti said.

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