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SAN ANTONIO-Dirt is moving on a 50,000-sf first phase for what eventually will be a 500,000-sf retail development at Culebra Road and Loop 1604 in San Antonio’s fast-growing northwest submarket. It’s the first of three phases of the Westwood Vista shopping center.

A 200,000-sf Wal-Mart Superstore, San Antonio’s first, is already open on the 300-acre tract that runs along 1604 west of the intersection. A Payless shoe store and McDonald’s have signed on to anchor the 56,000-sf strip center now under construction, Tom Rohde of the center’s leasing agent Rohde Realty, tells GlobeSt.com. Other potential tenants include CC’s Pizza, Postal Exchange and more small retail and service firms.

The center and other development at the intersection, including an H-E-B grocery getting ready to open, are well positioned to serve the booming area. The locale includes the 1,270-acre Westover Hills master-planned, mixed-use development and the Sea World of Texas park. “There are all kinds of large office buildings under construction in there and there’s a college,” Rohde says. “It’s becoming almost a city by itself out on the west side of town.”

The Texas Department of Transportation has begun a project to improve traffic flow through the congested intersection and widen Culebra. “The whole intersection is going to be phenomenal in about a year,” Rohde says.

The other Westwood phases will be 100,000 sf and 200,000 sf. “It’ll probably phased over the next three or four years,” he notes. It took about three years to get zoning changes and permits for the development.

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