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PATERSON, NJ-Construction is under way for Center City, a 320,000-sf Downtown mixed-use complex carrying a price tag of roughly $100 million. The construction encompasses the first phase of a three-phase project that will ultimately build out to upwards of 1.5 million sf of retail, office and residential space on what had been a parking lot for the State Superior Court.

The project is being developed by Center City Partners LLC, a group headed by Nicholas Tsapatsaris, president and founder of the Ridgewood-based Nick Tsapatsaris & Associates, and by Efstathios Valiotis, president and founder of the Queens, NY-based Alma Realty Corp. According to a timeline provided by the partners, the retail-dominated Phase I now under construction is scheduled to open in May 2008. Phase II, a residential condominium complex, is slated for completion 14 months after Phase I is finished, and Phase III will add office space at a later date.

The first phase, dubbed the Atrium Building, will encompass an underground parking deck topped by three levels of retail space, services, restaurants movies and children’s entertainment. Partnership officials say that the mix will include a dance studio, health club, apparel, footwear, accessories and food. Tenant signings are expected to be announced shortly. The city-owned site was provided by the Paterson Parking Authority, which operated the lot until recently.

“Today we are planting a seed,” Mayor Joey Torres said at the recent groundbreaking, a reference to the redevelopment impact of the project. “This seed represents the birth of this city.”

Located at the intersections of Main, Clark, Ward and Smith streets in this city’s downtown, the project is being built in an area with a daytime population of 190,000, according to Center City Partners. The developer also estimates that almost a half million people are within a 10-minute drive and 160,000 households are within that perimeter. The demographic details were provided by in independent survey, according to company officials.

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