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MAUMEE, OH-Construction has started at General Growth Properties’ long-awaited Shops at Fallen Timbers, a one-million-sf open-air retail and entertainment center being built near the intersection of US 24 and Interstate 475 south of Toledo.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Mayor Tim Wagener commented that it took a “long period of patient cooperation, negotiation and compromise involving the surrounding community, local government and private developers” to get the project going. Wagener’s remark stems from a decade worth of site alterations.

The property was originally owned by the City of Toledo and was eventually sold to the City of Maumee. In 1995, Bryan-based Isaac Group Holdings Inc. acquired an option to buy 430 acres to build a regional mall. In 1998, General Growth took ownership of the property and publicized its plans for a 1.2-million-sf enclosed mall to be opened in 2000.

The plan stalled, and in 2003 General Growth revised its plans to an outdoor streetscape lifestyle center. The final changes were made a year ago, when the plan was amended again to 110 acres of stores, boutiques, and restaurants encircling a half-acre man-made lake.

Finally realizing its plans, Chicago-based General Growth intends to give the development distinctive features resembling a quaint old-style Midwest Main Street. Stores, hotel, restaurants and a multi-screen theater will overlook water and be set among a village of smaller shops, while waterfront walkways and fire-rings in the water at night will add to the ambiance.

The 110-acre lifestyle center is expected to include a two-story 204,000-sf Dillard’s, a one-story 97,500-sf J.C. Penney, 16-screen Showcase Cinema, a 27,000-sf Barnes & Noble and five signature restaurants including a 7,500-sf P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. The development is to be part of a 400-acre mixed-use project that will include an office park and larger freestanding retail stores, as well as single-family residential.

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