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ATLANTA-Suburban Gwinnett County is going European. Merchants Resource Realty, the retail developer of the $60 million Forum on Peachtree Parkway retail/office venture, plans to break from the traditional enclosed mall concept and create an open-air village ambiance with abundant greenspace and high-end retail. The site is 20 miles northeast of Downtown. It will be the first such concept in Gwinnett County.

About 410,000 sf of the Forum is marked for retail but that amount could decrease to 320,000 sf if a second office building is constructed, Merchants Resource’s Bill Brown tells GlobeSt.com. The open-air shopping area will contain at least 55 stores, including the major anchor, Belk’s department store. Other merchants that have committed to the project are Linens ‘n Things, Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor Loft, Spa Sydell and People’s Pottery. The complex also will have five full-service restaurants and five food-court eateries.

The Forum’s retail segment is scheduled to open in November 2001. The planned office building is under way and slated to open next fall. GlobeSt.com reported earlier this month that NAC International, an Atlanta-based US nuclear energy and electric services company, has pre-leased about 72% of the $13 million, 90,000-sf building. CarrAmerica is building the structure.

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