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QUEENS, NY-The Shops at Atlas Park, a 10-acre campus of specialty retail, restaurant and service-oriented businesses is slated to open in the spring of 2005 and be the city’s first-ever lifestyle retail center. To undertake site preparation and begin the first phases of construction, developers closed on a $28 million bridge loan with Valley National Bank, a regional bank holding company with $9.5 billion in assets.

According to a spokesperson for the center, which will be in the Glendale section of this New York City borough, though no space has been preleased, the developers are in “very deep discussions” with a number of retailers. “We are already in talks with several marquis retailers and fine restaurants,” notes developer Atco Properties & Management Inc.’s president H. Dale Hemmerdinger. New York-based Atco is developing this retail project on the Atlas Terminals site–a property owned by the Hemmerdinger family for more than 85 years.

A 2.5-acre park, complete with birch groves, flower gardens and a fountain, designed by MPFP LLC, landscape architects of the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, will sit at the center of this complex. Alluding to the spirit of Paris, the project also encompasses two other outdoor public areas and a marketplace area for local food merchants. Eight buildings housing retail shopping and office space will be interspersed throughout the setting.

“Glendale has, within a 2.5-mile radius, more income-qualified households earning over $100,000 than within a five-mile radius around many of Connecticut and New York’s most affluent towns,” says Hemmerdinger. “This strong demand is matched by a weak competitive supply of high-end retail.”

“This is an under-serviced, yet vibrant retail market, making the project not only a prudent investment, but one that we look forward to seeing come to fruition,” adds Valley National Bank chairman, president and CEO Gerald Lipkin.

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