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QUEENS, NY-The Shops at Atlas Park–New York City’s soon-to-be, first-ever lifestyle retail center, has completed its first phase of pre-construction. The work encompassed an initial site preparation as well as the demolition of six buildings. Eight additional buildings will be fully demolished and three others will be partially deconstructed as part of the site’s second phase of pre-construction, which will begin in January, following a final environmental and geo-technical exploration.

In the Glendale section of this New York City borough, the site will feature 60 stores and restaurants comprising 275,000 sf of space, 1,200 covered parking spaces, and 110,000 sf of office spaces in new and renovated buildings. A 12,000 square-foot day care center is also planned. The 10-acre complex is slated to open in the spring of 2005.

Plainville, CT-based Manafort Brothers International serves as demolition contractor for the project. In August, Atco Properties & Management closed on a $28 million bridge loan to facilitate site preparation and start the first phases of construction.

“The business community and the general public are only beginning to understand the retail potential of borough locations,” points out Theodore M. Amenta, development director for the Manhattan-based Atco.

Upon completion, complex will offer a mix of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, jewelry, shoes, fashion accessories, housewares, gourmet foods and a variety of cafes, bistros and restaurants. The retailers are expected to be both national and local. Nothing has been preleased as of yet, but discussion are underway, Amenta reports, saying it will be a “diverse retail mix that will provide a little something for everyone.”

A 2.5-acre park, complete with birch groves, flower gardens and a fountain, designed by MPFP LLC, will sit at the center of the complex. The project also encompasses two other outdoor public areas and a marketplace area for local food merchants.

Atco is developing the project on the Atlas Terminals site, a property owned by the Hemmerdinger family for more than 85 years. A&Co. LLC, is serving as development manager and design architect on behalf of the owner; Thanhauser Esterson Kapell Architects PC is the project architect. Desman Associates is the garage engineer and parking consultant.

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