The High Desert Gateway shopping center is going to get a lot busier next year.

The shopping center at the junction of Main Street and Interstate 15, currently best-known for being the home of Hesperia's Super Target store, will be the home of at least two new businesses in 2010.

"We've been here trying to convince retailers, in light of the challenges of the economy, to choose a Hesperia location," Hesperia's Director of Economic Development Steve Lantsberger said Thursday. "[High Desert Gateway developers] the Lewis Group has been very diligently working to make that happen."

The work has paid off: A Golden Corral restaurant and a Ross department store will each begin construction in the shopping center in the coming months.

"The Golden Corral restaurant we've been working on for some time, but we've finally been able to put the financing together" in the past week, Lantsberger said.

The Golden Corral will be a free-standing 11,000 square foot restaurant and employ an estimated 135 employees, he said.

The new Ross will be a new 25,000 square foot business adjacent to the Super Target and employ an estimated 40 employees. (By way of comparison, the Super Target occupies 185,000 square feet.)

Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith announced the companies coming to Hesperia at the tail end of Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"I know more projects are coming," Smith said Thursday. "We've heard rumblings about some more restaurants as well."

The recession put the brakes on a number of companies' plans to move to the city.

"We have to redouble our efforts to convince them that the market is here," said Lantsberger. "A lot of retailers have a lot of trepidation."

But Golden Corral and Ross -- and a second retailer close to an announcement -- apparently believe the location will pay off for them.

"They anticipate by the time the recession ends, late next year, they'll be on the ground floor out there," Smith said.

There's also some geographical confusion involved, Lantsberger said.

"They consider us to be a suburban market and urban markets are an easier sell. We have to convince them that the consumers are here and the discretionary spending is here."

But the success experienced by the Super Target since it opened in October 2008 helps.

"Target has been an absolute diamond in their overall portfolio and exceeded all their expectations," Lantsberger said. "And that helps validate that location."

But there are still empty spaces in the High Desert Gateway shopping center, and that means his department still has more work to do.

"Our goal is to fully lease up that 380,000 square feet [High Desert Gateway] center," Lantsberger said.

The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on October 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.