Whataburger coming to Five Hills site in Cove

COPPERAS COVE- As construction continues on the new H-E-B Plus, other chains are showing interest in settling nearby.

“We think we ’11 have a good portion of the shopping center full by the time it opens,” said Daniel Campbell, development associate with Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate, the company in charge of developing the Five Hills property. “We’re excited to be in the area and hope to bring some tenants and restaurants Copperas Cove hasn’t seen yet.”

On Endeavor’s Web page for the Five Hills property, a Whataburger logo now accompanies the development banner, already showing H-E-B as the site’s first anchor store.

A spokesperson with Whataburger’s public relations agency said they hope to begin construction on the branch later this year and have it open for business in early 2013. Once open, the branch could employ about 40 people.

“We have had several requests to bring Whataburger to the Copperas Cove community, and we’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity,” said James Turcotte, Whataburger’s vice president of properties and facilities. “While we are still in the preliminary stages of permitting, Whataburger is excited about the opportunity and potential of bringing a new restaurant to this neighborhood.”

Campbell could not name other specific chains that inquired about the four remaining pad sites available in the first phase of the development, but he did say a lot of interest had been shown, mostly by traditional “grocery anchor-type tenants,” including restaurants and retail stores.

“We’re selling on it being the only H-E-B in the market,” said Campbell. “Obviously, we have a great location off (U.S. Highway) 190 and the south bypass, which will soon be one ofthe main thoroughfares through the city.”

The layout of the shopping center also would be conducive to retail, said Campbell, because the main entrance will have a signal to regulate traffic.

“People will be able to get out as easily as they can get in,” he said.

Overall, the businesses showing interest in the location are “comparable to other similar H-E-B­type developments that have sprouted up in the trade area recently,” said Campbell, citing Killeen and Waco as examples.

The aesthetics of the shopping center, from the brick facing to landscaping, were chosen in an attempt to create a “better overall development than what’s currently there,” said Campbell.

Construction is on schedule for the H-E-B, which is set to open in early 2013.