More than a year after announcing plans to be the first tenant of Marana’s Main Street project, McDonald’s has finally begun construction on West Sandario Road near Interstate 10.

Tucson franchise owners Vic and Nicole Topper broke ground on the 4,300-square-foot restaurant last week. Vic Topper said he hopes to open Oct. 20.

“We’re excited to be the first in that development,” said Topper, who owns and operates two other Tucson area McDonald’s — 4960 W. Ajo Highway on the far west side and 2130 W. River Road, at North La Cholla Boulevard.

“The schools that are in that neighborhood, the government offices there, the medical center ... they are all looking for a new place to eat. We will be the first ones in there and hopefully create some good roots with them to last a long time.”

Marana Mayor Ed Honea called McDonald’s the catalyst of the 28-acre Main Street project at I-10 and Marana Road. Town officials anticipate the restaurant will attract other businesses, including hotels, restaurants and retail.

“Marana is just loaded with businesses, but most of them are at Orange Grove and Thornydale or Cortaro and the freeway,” Honea said. “There’s not a whole lot on the north end. I expect (McDonald’s) to do really, really well.”

Honea said he knows of no other businesses signed on to the Main Street project.

But he said Chris Monson, who owns the property that hugs the frontage road at Sandario, has mentioned bringing in a bank and a hotel affiliated with a national chain.

Monson could not be reached Tuesday to comment.Town officials anticipate the McDonald’s will draw travelers off Intestate 10 as well as serve residents living on the north end of town and as far west at Avra Valley.

““We think that the Marana Road exit will really boom,” Honea said.

Contact Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.