Ben Carter Properties has won a unanimous vote from the Columbus Planning Advisory Commission to rezone 307.8 acres in north Columbus, GA, about 125 miles south of Atlanta. Next stop—the Columbus City Council.

The council has the final say. If it gives a thumbsup come mid-September, Ben Carter Properties is set to start development on Phase I of the nearly 400-acre master-planned Columbus Park mixed-use project.

The Atlanta-based firm will begin site work and construction on a 2.5 mile four-lane road and on a 100-acre open-air mall in October 2000. The 750,000-sf Columbus Park Crossing shopping center will house about 50 stores, including national chain merchants not yet in Columbus.

The developer hopes to open the mall in time for Thanksgiving 2001. The economic impact of the center is projected to create more than 1,000 new jobs; generate over $150 million in annual sales; and deliver nearly $8.5 million in annual property and sales tax revenues, according to a study done for Carter Properties.

In addition to the retail center, Columbus Park will contain office, commercial and residential development, a 40-acre green space preserve and the roadway through the property.

The developers will pay for about 90% of the road cost. The remainder will come from the city, county and/or state. The entire project is expected to be developed over a 10 to 20-year time span.

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