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TUCSON-The Barclay Group has marked its calendar for first quarter 2003 to start construction on a big box retail project that took a year of fighting to win municipal approvals.

The 210,992-sf Old Spanish Trail Crossing retail center will be rising on the northeast corner of Harrison Road and 22nd Street. The project will include a Target Greatland and Walgreens. The 29-acre development will open in fourth quarter 2003.

Last week, the Scottsdale-based developer got an OK for a special “big box” exception. Still, the final clearance was anything but an overwhelming victory, with Tucson City Council casting a 4-3 tally for the variance.

Barclay’s project was rejected in January because the plan was to close the part of the Old Spanish Trail jogging, biking and hiking trail that runs through the property. Residents also claimed the project would create public nuisances, such as parking problems, for the community, according to published reports.

For nearly two years, the Barclay Group has been meeting met with several neighborhood associations and city officials to formulate a development plan that met with everyone’s approval. “We listened carefully to what the neighbors and the city officials wanted to see in this project and feel that the development plan that was approved…reflects our willingness to go the extra mile to provide an amenity that integrates aesthetics, safety and much-needed retail services to the community,” Scott T. Archer, director of the western region of the Barclay Group, said in a prepared statement.

In the end, the hiking and biking trail will remain intact, but gained improvements with the negotiations. The plan calls for a multi-use path with an underpass that parallels the Old Spanish Trail. A covered rest station with a water fountain and air pump amenities station will be built. The adjoining roads also will receive $9 million in improvements to handle the added parking and traffic flow.

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