By Brook Stockberger
LAS CRUCES >> Open the gates, the flood is headed to the East Mesa.
Ever since Walmart opened at 3331 Rinconada Boulevard last June, rumors have flown as to what other businesses would soon call that area of town home.
Walgreens and Murphy’s Oil opened last year and now more names have come into the mix. Denny’s, Taco Bell, Super Cuts, GNC, The Game, Church’s Chicken and Jo-Ann Fabric are a few of the business you can expect to see near Rinconada or farther east.
Jake Redfearn with NAI 1st Valley Realty has worked on some of the deals. He said that Walmart was a magnet to the area, but it still took some time for the wheels to start turning.
“Even when you have an anchor like Walmart built, (company representatives) still want to get out and see it for themselves,” Redfearn said. “See the traffic and everything.”
Now, multiple projects are in motion. Across Rinconada from Walmart are a pair of commercial buildings.
“There’ll be Super Cuts, Sonoma Dental and GNC,” Redfearn said of the northern building.
In a lot just north of that building, between it and the Bank of the Rio Grande branch at 3500 Northrise Drive, a Taco Bell will soon take shape.
“Taco Bell is in permitting right now,” Redfearn said. “They’re shooting for a summer opening, maybe July 1.”
The GNC nutrition store already has signage up as work continues inside of the location.
The southern building will house a new location for The Bagel Shop. Redfearn said that once that building is 50 percent full, work will begin on two more commercial buildings next door.
“A lot of fast food (companies) are interested out here,” Redfearn said and pointed out that Arby’s and Carl’s Jr. are two that have expressed interest.
Also near Rinconada, Redfearn said that other companies, like Jo-Ann Fabric, are looking to locate a store.
A little farther east on U.S. 70, on the north side, near Highland Elementary School, a new Denny’s restaurant will be built.
“They just put the sign up (Thursday),” Redfearn said.
He said that the restaurant could be ready to open in six to eight months.
Also, a second The Game Sports Bar and Grill is set to take shape near Sonoma Ranch Boulevard.
Off the Mesa Grande Exit — near Oñate High School — a Church’s Chicken is scheduled to be built near the McDonald’s on the north side of U.S. 70.
On the Sun-News Facebook page, more than 100 people chimed in with requests for what they would like to see built on the East Mesa.
“Chick-Fil-A or something fun for the whole family like a roller rink or laser tag or go carts,” said Angie Cruz-Alvarado. “We need something to do in town. (I’m) tired of going to El Paso.”
Tiana Peña said she’d like to see some outdoor entertainment and even a certain family restaurant.
“It would be nice to have a Cracker Barrel on this side of town,” Peña said.
Redfearn said that Cracker Barrel has shown some interested in the East Mesa, but has never “pulled the trigger.”
While Isabel Hernandez said more fast-food locations are needed, Ashley Renae Ruiz had the opposite take.
“Anything but fast food establishments (they’re) the last thing needed in this town,” Ruiz said.
Dean Alexander is looking for a little more fun.
“How about more bars, strip clubs and other places for adults to unwind,” he said. “This supposed college town is more like a giant retirement home.”
As for Carol Horn Plumley, she’s just happy to see more businesses.
“The more being built up this way, the less I have to go to town,” she said.
Brook Stockberger my be reached at 575-541-5457