Colonies Crossroads Shopping Center

Restaurant development across the Inland Empire is on the rise as the economy improves. Panera Bread, Pick Up Stix, Chipotle and The Habit are among the new offerings at The Colonies Shopping Center in Upland. (Neil Nisperos — Staff)

By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 07/09/14, 9:43 PM PDT |

Newer large shopping centers in the region have opened with a slate of new eateries in the past year and more may arrive in the coming months.

The trend indicates a return to normalcy for the regional economy, as restaurant construction and openings had stagnated during the recession and business slowdown.

“We are seeing food concepts being really aggressive in the marketplace right now, whether it’s yogurt, or pizza, or coffee, there’s a number of new pizza and sandwich concepts, all aggressively looking for sites,” said Brad Umanksy, a real estate broker who owns the Rancho Cucamonga-based firm Progressive Real Estate Partners.

“I think as the market recovers people are spending more money on the newer food concepts and people are excited to try them,” Umansky said. “Quick service concepts do really well, people enjoy them.”

Two examples of recent growth are at the Costco shopping center in San Dimas, and the Colonies shopping center in Upland, where new restaurant pad sites have opened up in the past year next to larger anchor stores. Among the new restaurants opening in the region are Jersey Mike’s, Panera Bread, and The Habit.

A new Buffalo Wild Wings opened recently on San Bernardino’s popular Hospitality Lane.

“We brought 60 jobs to Upland,” said Neil Hunter, regional manager for Panera Bread, which also has locations in La Verne and Rancho Cucamonga. “We’ve been working to get that (Colonies) site for a couple of years, and we were very fortunate to find a phenomenal site and a phenomenal patio there.”

Paul Galmarini, senior retail specialist at Progressive Real Estate Partners, brokered the leases on the spaces at the centers in San Dimas and Upland.

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