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ATLANTA-Ben Carter Properties, with two million sf of retail and office properties under development in the Southeast, is adding another 450,000 sf to its portfolio with the ground-breaking of Columbus Park Crossing, an 85-acre, $50 million first-phase project, 80 miles south of Downtown.

Another 250 developable acres are in the early planning stages. That dirt is being jointly groomed by Carter and the Jordan Co. for hotel, retail, office and other commercial uses, according to Carter’s prepared statement.

The open-air Columbus Park Crossing is scheduled to open in summer 2002. Atlanta-based Hardin Construction Co. is the general contractor.

Name national tenants will anchor this newest portion of the planned 380-acre Columbus Park being developed along the J.R. Allen Parkway, Veteran’s Parkway, Moon Road and the planned Whittlesy Boulevard extension.

Among the tenants will be Circuit City, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Nobles, Marshalls, Toys R Us, Kids R Us and Ross Dress for Less.

Other leases are being completed with Olive Garden, Chili’s, La-Z-Boy Furniture, Regions Bank and several other casual dining establishments.

Ben Carter officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn the rent range, but area brokers tell GlobeSt.com rents will probably run between $20 per sf and $25 per sf. Leases are estimated to be in the five-year to seven-year range.

Carter and the Jordan Co. are banking on Columbus’s steady population and income growth to drive the new retail venture. The developers estimate the existing regional trade area’s population at 569,174 and project it will grow to 595,333 by 2004. Estimated average household income in a five-mile radius of the project is $60,343; $47,926 in a 10-mile radius; and $48,044 in a 15-mile radius.

The developers also anticipate nearby Fort Benning, one of the largest military installations in the world, will become a strong revenue-generating base for the merchants. There are 30,000 military and civilians on the base. Another 50,000 soliders pass through the base yearly on their training mission.

The developers believe their project will become a major economic engine for the Columbus area. They say Columbus Park Crossing will generate total retail sales expenditures of $100 million per year and $6 million in annual state/local sales and property taxes.

Columbus area shoppers currently drive an hour and a half to Atlanta, Montgomery or Macon to reach most of the stores that will eventually fill Columbus Park Crossing, the developers say in a prepared statement.

Other consultants working on Columbus Park Crossing are the Phillips Partnership, architects; and Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, civil engineers.

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