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ALPHARETTA, GA-Developer Stan Thomas and his Thomas Enterprises company has the green light from the Alpharetta City Council to break ground on one of the largest spec-built, mixed-use ventures ever attempted in this corporate-oriented community, 30 miles north of Downtown Atlanta.

Elected officials in this suburb of 40,000 permanent residents and Thomas have compromised on the size of the Prospect Park project. Instead of the initially planned 759,000 sf of retail and restaurant space, 527,000 sf of office, 564 condominium homes and 150 hotel rooms, the park will have 780,000 sf of retail and restaurant space, 400,250 sf of class A office, 464 condo units, a 136-room hotel and a 3,700-seat movie theater.

The development site is at the northwest corner of Old Milton Road and GA 400. The estimated size of the entire venture is 2.21 million sf compared to about 2.4 million sf as initially planned.

Thomas hasn’t set a ground-breaking date but contractors who have worked with the developer in the past tell he is shooting for a 2008 completion date. Before winning the council’s vote, Thomas agreed to numerous development conditions. Among them: build a $10-million portion of the mile-long Westside Parkway between Bridge Road and Old Milton Parkway; reduce the height of his buildings to six stories from 10 stories; rent only 15% of his retail space to existing Alpharetta merchants until 2016; and provide shuttle service for employees between the development and the North Springs Marta station.

Council members insisted on the unconventional rental condition to stave off a potential tenants’ flight from nearby retail centers and the 1.66-million-sf North Point Mall owned and operated in North Fulton County by General Growth Inc. of Chicago. Alpharetta’s total three million sf of retail could absorb an additional 700,000 sf without hurting existing shopping centers and malls, according to the Alpharetta Economic Development Authority.

The Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority approved the venture prior to the city council vote, as previously reported.

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