Site manager: Tenants flocking to Fountain Square

The construction manager for the Fountain Square project is working to dispel rumors that the massive development is in financial trouble.

Daniel Witkins, Sr., of DFW Building Company said that lease agreements are in place for some 70 percent of what will be the available space at the 19.1-acre site at the corner of Bridgeport Avenue and Parrott Drive — the former UI property.

“The financing is taking normal routes ... There are no problems with that at all,” said Witkins.

The original 2018 approval allowed for three restaurants, a pharmacy, bank, coffee shop, other retail, a small office building and a 123-room Marriott hotel. Since then, Witkins said, there have been changes in the tenants, but the financing remains in place.

Despite rumors that potential tenants are backing out and the project’s financing has dried up, Witkins said the list of tenants is led by Chick-fil-A, which is expected to open by the end of September.

“Most of the businesses, if not all, will be in by the time Chick-fil-A opens,” said Witkins.

Along with Chick-fil-A, Witkins said, other tenants include Panera Bread, which will have a drive through; Jersey Mike’s Subs; Mission BBQ; and Pokemoto, along with a jewelry store, a hair salon, a Korean BBQ restaurant, a fitness operation and an Italian wood-fired tapas restaurant. Witkins said other national franchises have expressed interest but nothing can be announced.

Witkins said three buildings are up, with the pad for Chick fil A’s construction base expected up as soon as February. The hotel, which will also be built by Marriott on a pad, will be completed afater the rest of the complex is in place. Witkins said the office building will be started soon.

“Watch the site over the next few months,” said Witkins. “People will be seeing everything come together.”

Project managers are still awaiting state permit approvals to widen Parrott Drive and put in a traffic light. Witkins said that United Illuminating must complete the electrical installation to the property, which has also been delayed longer than expected.

“Once we have the state approval and the UI work done,” said Witkins, “people will see work happen very quickly.”