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NOBLESVILLE, IN-Simon Property Group Inc. and Gershman Brown & Associates officially broke ground this week on Hamilton Town Center, a 950,000-sf, open-air retail center. The lifestyle center with a “Main Street” feel will be located at the intersection of Interstate 69′s Exit 10 and State Highway 238 (future 146th Street) in Noblesville, a fast-growing community about 15 miles northeast of Indianapolis. It is scheduled to open in spring 2008.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, the development team announced that Goodrich Quality Theaters planned to open Hamilton 16 IMAX. The 70,000-sf complex, with 16 auditoriums and more than 3,400 seats, will feature an IMAX screen that’s 70 feet wide and 40 feet tall.

So far, Simon has not released the names of any other tenants. However, J.C. Penney, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Best Buy were listed as tenants in Colliers Turley Martin Tucker’s Indianapolis Mid Year 2006 Retail Report. A Simon spokesman could not confirm that the national retailers would be part of the mix at Hamilton Town Center, but did say that interest in the center has been strong.

Don Williams, a Colliers Turley Martin Tucker senior vice president, confirmed that Hamilton Town Center has had “very good tenant activity.” Recent activity includes negotiations with several high-profile restaurants.

Morris cites demographics and location as two factors fueling interest in Hamilton Town Center. “It really has everything a retailer would want–strong housing starts, high income levels and an educated population,” Morris says.

“Noblesville is a really dynamic area,” Williams agreed. “Hamilton County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and one of the fastest growing areas in the country… . At first blush, [the Hamilton Town Center site] appears to be out of the action, but there is stuff going on all around it.”

The location along Interstate 69, a heavily traveled, high-growth corridor between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, should support the property’s position as a regional center, Morris says. Additionally, the businesses along Interstate 69 and those located in the City of Noblesville’s nearby corporate campus are expected to bring a good daytime population to the area.

Hamilton Town Center will be Simon’s second lifestyle center in Indiana. The 570,000-sf Clay Terrace opened in fall 2004. The retail center, co-developed by Simon and Lauth Property Group, is at the intersection of US 31 and 146th Street in Carmel. Tenants, which range from locally owned boutiques to national retailers, include Orvis, Eddie Bauer, Z Gallerie, Kirkland’s, Pier One Imports, Three Chairs Company, Bombay Company, Norwalk Furniture, and David & Mary’s Day Spa.

Nationally, Simon will be opening two new centers in the coming weeks. Those projects are the 403,600-sf Rio Grande Premium Outlets in Mercedes, TX and Coconut Point in Estero, FL. The later comprises 1.2 million sf of retail, 45,000 sf of office condos, and 305 condos.

Although he had no other Midwest projects to announce, Morris says that the company plans to tackle several renovations over the next four years. Worldwide Simon plans to spend more than $4.7 billion on renovations and construction from 2007 to 2010.

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