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WATERFORD, CT-CBL & Associates Properties Inc. and its joint venture partners held a grand opening celebration on Wednesday for the recently completed Waterford Commons shopping center here. The development, which totals 354,686-sf, is located on a 44.5-acre site across the street from the Crystal Mall.

Waterford Commons is 94% leased and will eventually contain more than 30 stores, including seven anchor stores, five sub-anchors and nearly 20 other national, regional and local retailers.

The project was developed by CBL & Associates Properties of Chattanooga, TN. along with Samuels & Associates of Boston and Packard Development of Newtown, MA. Construction on Waterford Commons began in April 2002.

Commenting on the project’s completion, CBL & Associates Vice President for Community Center Development Mark Mancuso says, “Waterford Commons introduces many first-class national retailers to the market in a beautiful setting that offers the community a convenient, quality shopping experience. CBL is committed to providing the very best in retailing and Waterford Commons is the ideal shopping destination.”

The shopping center’s major tenants are: Raymour & Flanigan Furniture, which is the largest tenant with a 64,962-sf location; Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has a 50,000-sf store; Best Buy, which has opened a 45,827 sf location; Borders Books & Music, which is leasing 23,000 sf of space and iParty, which has a 10,000-sf store. Other sizable store locations include Linens ‘n Things, which has a 28,000-sf store; arts and crafts retailer Michaels, which has a 21,000-sf location and Pier 1 Imports, which has opened a 9,425-sf store.

In a few months, a host of other retailers plan to open their doors at Waterford Commons including: Catherine’s (4,000 sf), Lane Bryant (5,000 sf), Panera Bread (4,500 sf), Ruby Tuesday (7,000 sf), Sprint (2,500 sf), Talbots (6,490 sf) and Yankee Candle (2,500 sf). The complex also features a 1,400-car parking lot.

CBL & Associates officials note that the firm has four projects under construction totaling approximately 1.6 million sf, including the 902,000-sf Coastal Grand mall in Myrtle Beach, S.C., one associated center and two community centers plus five mall renovations. The company owns a portfolio of 161 properties totaling 59.4 million sf of space.

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