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AUGUSTA, GA-In what is believed to be the largest retail project of its kind on the Georgia-South Carolina border in the last 20 years, the MGHerring Group of Dallas plans to break ground in March 2006 on Village at Riverwatch, an 800,000-sf, open-air, 132-acre lifestyle shopping center at Riverwatch Parkway and Interstate 20. The site is about 140 miles west of Downtown Atlanta.

The joint venture partners of developer M.G. Herring Jr. are Phillip E. Stephens, president, Stephens Property Group, Atlanta and Steve McNair, president, Commercial Resources Group, Charlotte, NC. A 158,000-sf, two-level Dillard’s department store and a 120,000-sf Belk department store will anchor the planned 100-store center.

The project’s grand opening is tentatively set for fall 2007. Principals at the three development groups couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn the development cost of the venture and where the funding will be coming from. However, area brokers familiar with comparable retail enterprises in other geographic areas tell GlobeSt.com the estimated hard construction cost of Village at Riverwatch will probably be $200 per sf or a total $160 million, not counting the cost of the land.

Besides Dillard’s and Belk, the center will have a 63,000-sf theater with 18 screens and 2,400 stadium-designed seats; a 40,000-sf Xtreme Pizza restaurant; and a 24,000-sf restaurant theater called Movie Tavern with six screens and 1,000 seats. “This will be the first restaurant theater concept in the Augusta area,” Herring says in a prepared statement. “Village at Riverwatch will be designed to resemble the main shopping street of a European village.”

In addition to Village at Riverwatch, Herring is currently developing three open-air, mixed-use lifestyle centers in Texas. They are Uptown Village at Cedar Hill, Cedar Hill; the Village at Fairview, Fairview; and the Village at Allen, Allen.

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