New center already boasts 75 percent occupancy rate

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FARMINGTON — A developer says offering a one-stop shopping experience on the city's west side was one reason he has opened a new shopping center near Walmart on West Main Street.

The 18,000-square-foot Farmington Crossing shopping center, 1245 W. Apache St., was completed in December and houses Anytime Fitness, Cricket Wireless, Durango Joes, Great Clips, MetroPCS and Verizon locations.

The Anytime Fitness location is the company's third local franchise. It opened in January.

Local franchise owner Sandy Schumacher said during the center's grand opening today her decision to open a location there was based on need and response from west-side residents to the Anytime Fitness locations on East Main Street and in Aztec.

"We felt that this was an excellent opportunity to hit this end of town because we're getting so many members from Shiprock, Kirtland and Fruitland," Schumacher said.

The new location has about 500 members, she said.

"So far, it is doing what we were hoping in allowing, especially people from Shiprock and even farther, the opportunity to have a place to get healthy," Schumacher said.

Offering that type of business to residents of the Navajo Nation and the surrounding communities is one reason Jason Puig decided to develop the shopping area. Puig said he saw an opportunity for the location to provide retail services, and with Walmart nearby, it provides a convenience factor.

"Some of those services weren't being met on the west side, so I'm glad retailers chose to go there, as well. They saw the need," he said, adding the center has a 75 percent occupancy rate, and negotiations continue to bring in more retailers.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., was among the dignitaries at the event.

Luján said it is "critically important" for communities to support investments and initiatives like the shopping center because it provides employment opportunities.

Steve Arias invested in the shopping center and said residents will enjoy the convenience.

"We had an opportunity, we thought, to do well on this side of town that I think is long overdue," Arias said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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