David Malin — who had attracted Portillo’s to Tempe Marketplace in 2013 back when he was a top executive at Vestar — is now bringing the Chicago-based eatery to Tucson.
The founder and president of Scottsdale Development Partners paid $1.6 million for a 1.7-acre parcel that previously housed Claim Jumper at El Con Center in Tucson.
The 15,000-square-foot Claim Jumper restaurant closed in October 2021, Malin said.
Portillo’s (Nasdaq: PTLO) will demolish that building and build its own 7,800-square-foot prototype building, complete with a double-lane drive thru, he said.
The restaurant at 3761 E. Broadway Blvd., is expected to open during the fourth quarter this year.
“Tucson, while it only has 1 million people versus the Phoenix population of almost 5 million people, is still a strong retail market,” Malin said. “Historically, sales volumes for national chains are healthy, mainly because they are not over-stored.”
What’s unique about this Portillo’s is that it’s in a business location that’s central to the density of Tucson as a whole, he said, but also is close to the University of Arizona campus.
“It’s sort of the best of both worlds for Portillo’s,” he said. “They’re able to serve the year-round resident that lives in Tucson and be able to play off the success of the El Con Center, but they’re also in close proximity to the university.”
Chicago-based Portillo’s, which now has 70 restaurants in nine states, recently opened in Avondale and also has plans for a store in Gilbert.
“I’m excited I was able to consummate this transaction at a very historical retail property in Tucson,” Malin said. “It basically replaces the old tired closed down Claim Jumper with an exciting expanding national brand like Portillo’s that has recently gone public. To me, that’s the excitement of being able to do this development.”
Malin bought the property from a group of limited partnerships, closing the deal on April 8. That group of sellers were the original owners of El Con Center, which the group sold for $81.7 million in 2013 to the Kroenke Group.
Kroenke Group is owned by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Los Angeles Rams, the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche teams, Malin said.
Carol and Cole Schillne, brokers with Orion Investment Real Estate, represented Scottsdale Development Partners in the transaction, while Charles Skaggs and David Uhles of Western Retail Advisors represented Portillo’s.
By Angela Gonzalez – Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal