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ATLANTA-As if this 10-county metropolitan area of 3.43 million residents needed still another regional shopping center, CBL & Associates plans to give it one anyway.

The locally based developer confirms it finally has an option to buy 200 acres about 20 miles south of Downtown from an unidentified buyer at an undisclosed price. The developer has had a contract to buy the land since 1996. The center would offer at least one million sf of rentable space.

If CBL closes on the land contract, the developer would be racing another joint developing team to be first out of the ground with product. Forest City Enterprises and North American Properties are studying a site off Interstate 75 and McDonough Road at GA 81.

Both proposed malls, however, would take at least three years for governmental approvals and construction, local area brokers familiar with regional mall development tell GlobeSt.com.

“These projects aren’t coming out of the ground by this Christmas, next Christmas or possibly even the next Christmas,” a retail broker who isn’t associated with either venture tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. “These are multimillion-dollar enterprises, in the neighborhood of $100 million-plus, so there isn’t going to be any fast-track construction here.”

CBL has previously been reported considering a 150-acre shopping center site purchase in Coweta County, west of Interstate 85 in Newnan, GA. CBL developed the 1.2 million-sf Arbor Place Mall in Douglas County in 1999.

Henry County’s 103% population growth from 1990 through 2000 is triggering new development interest for that area. Last year alone, the county grew by 8.2% to 129,100, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The 10-county metro Atlanta area has 13.64 million sf of existing regional mall space or nearing completion, based on recent published reports.

They are Mall of Georgia, Gwinnett County, 1.9 million sf; Lenox Square Mall, Fulton County, 1.57 million sf; North Point Mall, North Fulton County, 1.5 million sf; Perimeter Mall, North Fulton County, 1.43 million sf; Mall at Stonecrest, DeKalb County, 1.3 million sf; Town Center Mall, Cobb County, 1.28 million sf; Gwinnett Place Mall, Gwinnett County, 1.24 million sf; Cumberland Mall, Cobb County, 1.2 million sf; Arbor Place Mall, Douglas County, 1.2 million sf; and Southlake Mall, Clayton County, 1.02 million sf.

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