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Tenants are moving into Essex Landing, work begins on Kane’s Donuts building in Saugus

Saugus' orange dinosaur on his perch, overlooking Route 1. (Spenser Hasak)

SAUGUS — Tenants are moving into the first building of Route 1’s newest development and they’ll be snacking on Kane’s Donuts beside the orange dinosaur by fall.

Owner Michael Touchette secured an occupancy permit for the first building, which sits at the front of the $150 million Essex Landing development, last week. Nine apartments have been leased and two tenants have already moved in. Touchette said the goal is to have the whole building rented in the next 60 to 90 days.

“We are on track and doing what we said we would do in a timely manner that we feel comfortable with,” he said.

TB Holdings Inc., an entity managed by Touchette and Michael Barsamian, bought a vacant 1.2-acre site next to the iconic Route 1 Miniature Golf & Batting Cages in 2013 for $3.3 million, and they closed on the 1.4-acre golf parcel in September for $1.4 million. The project has an overall timeline of five years.

The first building will house a nail salon and spa and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant with one-bedroom apartments on the upper floors. The developers have said in the past they hope to find a middle- to high-end restaurant that serves Italian cuisine, but Touchette said last week he and his partner have not yet secured a contract with a restaurant.

“We’re close, we’re just picky,” he said. “Me and my partner are picky about that. We don’t want to see a business come in and fail.”

Behind the first building work has begun on a free-standing space to house Kane’s Donuts’ third location, a 3,500-square-foot cafe with a drive-through and outdoor space.

The family-owned original store is on Lincoln Avenue. Last year they opened at International Place in downtown Boston. Touchette said the Kane’s building will be the next to be completed and he expects donuts and coffee to be served by September.

An extended stay hotel will be positioned just behind the dinosaur. The Lenox Hotel will partner with developers to create a boutique hotel on site.

The dinosaur will be refinished with a fresh coat of orange paint and will remain a fixture of the development, though it may be moved to be incorporated into the hotel at far left of the property.

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