Old Sinclair property to be filled soon


By Aurelia Acquati

In less than six months, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A, Jimmy John’s and The Vitamin Shoppe are expected to flourish on the corner of Milton and Riordan. The corner where the Sinclair gas station once stood will soon be alive again with new options for Flagstaff.

Miriam Hayenga, a developer from Phoenix who purchased the land from its previous owners, said the construction is ahead of schedule. Besides buying the property, Hayenga and her investors, Michael Manson, Mary Slaughter and Jill Estep, worked smoothly with the city and tenants during the project.

“We’re ahead of schedule,” Hayenga said. “We just bought the property; we had a year anniversary in September. So, you buy the property, then you have to get through planning and zoning; you have to work with the city and figure out who your tenant line ups are going to be. So, the project has gone expeditiously.”

Hayenga said Dunkin’ Donuts will be the first to open in November, followed by Jimmy John’s, Chick-fil-A and The Vitamin Shoppe, in that order.

“Chick-fil-A will be open the first of next year, January 2013,” Hayenga said. ”Dunkin’ will be open November of this year, The Vitamin Shoppe will be open first quarter of next year and Jimmy John’s will be open December of this year.”

Hayenga explained there is always a risk in buying real estate, but she had two partners to help her through it. One of her partners, Bert Hayenga — who is also her brother — is the Dunkin’ Donut franchisee of Phoenix.

“There’s always risk with real estate,” Hayenga said. “You never know what the market’s going to do and what the bank’s going to do. I’ve got two partners, my brother Bert and another guy named Aaron [Klusman], but I’m kind of the managing partner on this particular project. [Bert has] 48 Dunkin’s and he and I are going to partner with [investors] on the one up here.”

Michael Manson, one of the investors, said the economy often guides how the project goes. It is important to find a mix of tenants that have both low and high traffic going in and out, as well as tenants that can afford the rent.

“The market really dictates a lot of what goes on,” Manson said. “A lower velocity, lower volume tenant, can’t afford rents like that because this is a very expensive property. You want a mix of tenants . . . So you don’t want to overbuild a site with all high-capacity tenants, because you don’t have enough parking and too much confrontation. So, they did a really wise job selecting the tenants.”

Hayenga explained the difference in their tenants and when they will get the highest flow of traffic coming in through the day.

“Chick-fil-A will have a double drive through just to handle the volume of cars during their high peak,” Hayenga said. “So Dunkin’ Donuts is an a.m. concept; you get a lot of traffic in the morning. Jimmy John’s is a lunch concept, as is Chick-fil-A, and Chick-fil-A’s dinner [too].”

The corner of Milton and Riordan is a desireable place to build, according to Hayenga. It takes a lot of planning to decide which tenants to put there.

“It’s a very influential corner in Flagstaff, arguably one of the best corners, so what do you put there?” Hayenga said. “Riordan is the gateway to the campus and you’re right along Route 66. They did a traffic count out there and 1,600 cars an hour go past the site. So, the real estate dictates what you put there.”

Manson said it takes a lot of trust and risk to invest your money in a new project. Some projects may not work out, but it is important to work with people who put forth their effort to ensure it does.

“You place money where you trust somebody . . . Trust is very important,” Manson said. “Some work out; some don’t work out. But the person who works their hardest and tells you the truth, that’s what you look for.”

Overall, Hayenga hopes the new establishments will be a place for people in Flagstaff to visit often and enjoy having in town.

“We just want it to be a huge amenity to the town of Flagstaff, [so] the people that live here want to frequent this corner because of what we put there,” Hayenga said.


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