GEORGETOWN, TX-The ceremonial turning of dirt today kicks off the Rivery Towne Crossing, the biggest commercial development in the history of Georgetown, a growing city about 25 miles north of Austin. The shopping center is part of a mixed-use development at the 125-acre Rivery tract along Interstate 35.

A 205,045-sf Super Wal-Mart and a 115,282-sf Home Depot anchor the retail portion of the development, which will also have another 125,000 sf of space for a junior anchor and inline retail and pad sites for as many as five restaurants. Wal-Mart and Home Depot have closed on their land transactions and negotiations are ongoing for other retail tenants. The project’s first phase should be open by fall 2003.

Several Dallas-based companies are involved with development. Quorum Equities Group LLC owns the land. A partnership of Weber & Co. and Today Realty Advisors is developing and leasing the center. Metropolitan Capital Credit has arranged the construction financing.

The Rivery property, which sits high on the north bank of the San Gabriel River, has been a sought-after site for developers since the 1980s. Several projects over the years fell victim to zoning issues and economic factors.

As part of the development agreement, the developer will provide $1.1 million to Georgetown for roads and infrastructure improvements. Weber also will pay for roads inside the development, part of Rivery Boulevard and a third lane of the Interstate 35 access road next to the development, according to the City of Georgetown. A pond that will provide water quality control for the development will be built in an adjacent city park.

“The city and developer have worked together to tailor this project to the unique natural features of the Rivery site, and I think people will be happy with the result,” Doug Smith, Georgetown’s mayor pro-tem, said in a prepared statement.

Weber & Co. has developed numerous shopping centers bearing the Towne Crossing name in the Dallas area. The Rivery’s second phase is scheduled to deliver multifamily housing in spring 2004 and commercial and office space between 2004 and 2007. Georgetown, which has more than 28,000 residents, is the county seat of Williamson County, the nation’s second fastest-growing, non-urban county.

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