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ATLANTA-Rouse Co. of Columbia, Md., a name synonymous with regional shopping center developments for the past 20 years, has its sights on a new venture in affluent South Forsyth County, about 30 miles north of Downtown.

Rouse is asking the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center for permission to build at least 2.3 million sf of retail; an undetermined amount of office product; a hotel with at least 200 rooms; and luxury condominiums and apartments.

The 177-acre tract is off GA 400 between the Union Hill Road and McFarland Road exits. Average single-family homes in this submarket go for a half million dollars, making it the highest-priced residential submarket in metro Atlanta, according to local brokers.

That revelation may have prompted Rouse officials to broaden their original plan for only one million sf of retail, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Rouse executives couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn cost details and a tentative ground-breaking date. But brokers familiar with the GA 400 office submarket tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the hard cost of the project will be at least $100 million.

If Rouse can get the 177 acres rezoned to retail from agriculture in time, the company anticipates the first phase of its venture could open in 2005. Completion could be in 2008, according to the company’s application with the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center.

The South Forsythe project will be Rouse’s second major retail undertaking here. The company is a part owner in the 1.43 million-sf Perimeter Mall in North Fulton County, the second largest mall after the 1.57 million-sf Lenox Square Mall in Fulton County, according to Dorey’s Retail Space Guide.

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