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NEW YORK CITY-The first phase of Harlem Center, an $80-million mixed-use development currently under construction by Forest City Enterprises Inc., is ready for occupancy with two stores already open for business.

Located on state-owned land at 105 W. 125th St. at Lenox Avenue, the development will eventually size out at 300,000 sf and include 100,000 sf of office space and a 150-room, 100,000-sf hotel. The office building, scheduled to open in early 2004, will be anchored by two state agencies.

The 126,000-sf retail center has commitments from Staples, Gap, Marshall’s and CVS, with the latter two already up and running.

“Harlem Center will continue to be a source of much-needed jobs, and a hub of economic activity helping Harlem to reach its full, dynamic potential,” says Charles A. Ratner, president and CEO of Forest City Enterprises. Consistent with our comprehensive `City Strategy,’ we are pleased to have such an active role in the economic development of all five New York boroughs, as well as key high-growth suburbs.”

First announced in late 1999, the project falls under the auspices of the Empowerment Zone, a 10-year, $300-million program to stimulate economic growth through financial incentives designed to attract new private investment. New York State has contributed $100 million to match the federal and New York City contributions to the program.

Cleveland-based Forest City owns, develops, acquires and manages commercial and residential real estate properties. Its portfolio of retail, residential, office and hotel properties throughout 20 states and the District of Columbia is operated by regional offices in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Tucson, Denver, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

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