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Jackie Day is editorial director of Real Estate Media’s Newsletter Division.

SPRING, TX-The under-construction, 85-acre Spring Town Center has cornered a Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurant for the lineup. The popular eatery inked a 10-year lease for a 62,895-sf pad site in the 247,000-sf suburban center.

Bob Conwell with NewQuest Properties Inc. of Houston tells GlobeSt.com that rents for Spring Town Center’s pads range from $65,000 to $110,000 annually for a 10-year lease. Chili’s was represented by Ed James with Moody Rambin Interests in Houston. Chili’s already operates more than 10 locations in the Greater Houston area. The restaurant chain, a unit of Dallas-based Brinker International Inc., joins Bank of America, Walgreens and Wendy’s on pads at the center, which has another 22,000 sf of available space adjacent to the 207,000-sf Wal-Mart anchor, says Conwell.

Chili’s, like others in the lineup, are staking claims in a rapidly growing suburban pocket about 25 miles north of the Houston CBD. The NewQuest development sits on the northeast corner of FM 2928 and Kuykendahl Road. Until fairly recently, the area was underserved by retailers, Conwell says. “Two years ago there was no retail at that intersection and now there is in excess of 400,000 sf there,” he says. “What has fueled the demand is all the home development in that immediate area.”

Kuykendahl Road is the back entrance into the Woodlands, a 27,000-acre maze of single-family houses and support retail. “That whole area is exploding,” Conwell says, noting a Kroger’s Signature store has opened right across the street from Spring Town Center.

Chili’s initially planned to open in summer 2005, but has instead started the tilt-wall construction. The last word is the restaurant “probably” will open in six months, according to Conwell. “They are moving faster than we thought,” he notes.

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