Heavy machinery is kicking up dirt behind Waco’s new In-N-Out Burger at South Fifth Street and Interstate 35, where Dallas-based DuWest Realty will place two retail centers and already has signed leases with several restaurants new to Waco, a spokesman for the development confirmed Thursday.

To be called Bear Grounds Plaza, the retail-and-restaurant center will consist of a pair of 8,000-square-foot strips that crews should complete and have ready for occupancy by June, said Robert Hale, project manager for Bredow Constructors, which is serving as general contractor for the $2 million venture.

“For the past two weeks we’ve been securing the permits we need to proceed,” Hale said.

The development will take shape between South Fourth and South Fifth streets and complement the In-N-Out Burger and CVS Pharmacy built where DuWest demolished the Clarion Hotel.

DuWest’s Scott Rodgers confirmed Thursday that he has commitments from Chipotle Mexican Grill, which will be opening its second Waco-area location, the other operating at 1115 N. Valley Mills Drive; a build-your-own pizza place called Pie Five Pizza; and a gourmet popsicle establishment called Steel City Pops.

Others that have confirmed their intention to lease space in either of the two buildings are Smoothie King, which sells blended drinks and nutritional snacks; Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen, which Rodgers compared to Pei Wei; and a nail salon called Le Nails.

Rodgers said he also has struck a deal with Jersey Mike’s to place a second Waco-area sandwich shop in the center, the first having recently opened on Hewitt Drive.

Hale, with Bredow Constructors, said it is his understanding that some of the restaurants have planned their opening to coincide with the center’s completion.

“We’re working to finalize a couple of other would-be occupants,” said Rodgers, who declined to identify the prospects.

He said that he and representatives of the tenants are collaborating on which spaces they will fill in Bear Grounds Plaza.

The plaza is located right across Fifth Street from another popular eatery in South Waco, Torchy’s Tacos at 801 S. Fifth St.

Nearby, at Eighth Street and Interstate 35, next to Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, Raising Cane’s is about to acquire land for its third location in Greater Waco, local real estate agent Bland Cromwell said. Raising Cane’s also operates on Franklin Avenue and on Hewitt Drive.

“A broker friend of mine is working that deal, and he said it is going to happen,” Cromwell said.

Meanwhile, Panera Bread reportedly will place a second area location on a lot next to the Chick-fil-A at South Seventh Street and Interstate 35.

Austin-based SCC Development, which lured a Whataburger restaurant and a Sprint store to Lake Air and Valley Mills drives, reportedly wants to place an interstate-fronting retail center between 10th and 11th streets that would have space for two fast-food restaurants.

Behind the center, Cromwell said, SCC wants to place two sit-down restaurants that would back up to two hotels still in the planning stage.

“That whole quadrant, from Interstate 35 to Franklin Avenue, has seen a tremendously successful redevelopment,” said Cromwell, referring to the demolition of older homes and buildings to make room for townhomes, retail establishments and restaurants. “If you look at it from the air, the change is amazing.”

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