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MOUNT JULIET, TN-Site work will begin in the next few weeks for Providence Marketplace, an open-air retail center approved for 830,000 sf of retail space. Carolina Holdings Inc. of Greenville, SC, and Charlotte-based Crosland Inc. have acquired 104 acres at the confluence of Interstate 40, State Route 171 (Mount Juliet Road) and Belinda Parkway and expect to begin moving dirt before the end of the year.The site is situated at the entrance to a 1,000-acre master-planned community called Providence that is being developed by CPS Land. The project calls for 3,400 single- and multifamily homes. Construction has begun for the first phase, which consists of seven distinct single-family subdivisions and a 350-unit apartment development. Providence MarketPlace is expected to open in 2006, shortly after the first residents move in.Peter Pappas, president of Crosland’s retail division was not immediately available Thursday morning for comment. In a prepared statement, Carolina Holdings and Crosland estimate they will invest $70 million in the project and that the retailers will invest a similar amount. When complete, the developers believe the shopping center will generate approximately 1,700 jobs and $4 million in annual sales tax revenue. The land for Providence MarketPlace was purchased from Simon Property Group, which originally planned a regional mall. Providence MarketPlace will be the largest shopping center between Opry Mills in Nashville and Turkey Creek in Knoxville, according to the developers’ statement. The department store chain Belk and the grocery chain Kroger each have acquired nine acres at Providence Marketplace for 74,000-sf stores.The center’s development plan calls for four distinct shopping areas, separated by sidewalks, landscaped medians and parking. The project also entails widening Mount Juliet Road from three to five lanes and making improvements to the I-40 interchange. The general contractor for the project is Harper Corp. Hall Engineering is the civil engineer and Pazdan-Smith Group is the project architect. Wachovia is providing financing.

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