A Sears Appliance Store will be the first retailer introducing shoppers to the new 17-acre Mill Crossing center when it opens next week near the Gilbert-Chandler border.
The store, which sells major home appliances like clothes washers, dryers, refrigerators and ovens, will beat its neighbors to the finish line when it opens April 19.
"They were on the quickest path and most anxious to try to get open," said Jeff Roberts, vice president of real estate development for developer Opus West.
Although Mill Crossing is still under construction at the southwest corner of Gilbert and Germann roads, most of it is already leased, Roberts said. Upon completion, the center will host a Shoe Carnival, Ah-So Sushi & Steak restaurant, Native New Yorker restaurant and Chandler's first J.C. Penney, which Roberts said will open in October.The 104,000-square-foot J.C. Penney will anchor the center.
Other tenants include a Berrygood Frozen Yogurt, McDonald's, Comerica Bank and a dance studio.
"I know everybody wants to be open for Christmas," Roberts said.
Like J.C. Penney, the Sears store represents a first for shoppers in the area.
"This is the first (Sears) home appliance store in the East Valley," said Cesar Moran, the store's manager.
The 123-year-old company and retail icon operates only two other appliance stores, which are much smaller than the traditional Sears department store, in the Valley. They are in Goodyear and Phoenix.
Moran said he's still receiving merchandise and preparing the store. He's finished hiring his staff, and product vendors will arrive next week to begin training, he said.
The shopping mall will open on a corner within the Chandler Airpark area that includes the 1.3-million-square-foot Crossroads Towne Center, 1.2 million square feet of industrial and office space under construction, the Chandler 202 Auto Park and Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
Roberts said about 13,000 square feet of space remains unleased at Mill Crossing.
He said officials are negotiating with clothing stores, an optometrist and a couple of restaurants.
"It wouldn't surprise me that we might get one more soft goods retailer there," he said. "I think that the others would probably be just kind of a mixture of what you typically see in a retail center - maybe a real estate office, insurance (office) or eye care or chiropractor."