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WEST POINT, GA-Orlando-based Crossman & Co. and the Greater Valley Development Group are developing the Venue, a mixed-use residential and retail development on the state line between Georgia and Alabama just off Interstate 85.

The project will include 938 apartments, more than 350,000 sf of retail space and a hotel. Developers expect to secure a hotel operator for the site within 60 days. Construction has started on the residential units, which are expected to open in April.

Crossman & Co. president John Crossman tells GlobeSt.com that leasing efforts have started for the retail space, but no signed leases are yet in place. A project cost and details regarding the hotel are still being determined.

The project, located midway between Atlanta and Birmingham, AL is within minutes of a new Kia manufacturing plant here, which is serving as a catalyst for growth in the Greater Valley area. Also fueling growth is military expansion at Fort Benning mandated under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The US Army is uniting armor and infantry training, a move that will result in 28,000 soldiers and civilians, and their families, moving to the east Alabama/west Georgia area. Demographic estimates predict that population in the Greater Valley area will increase 10-fold by 2009.

“For many years, this area was a river-based economy with mills,” Crossman says. “The market has changed to an Interstate-based economy. The retail project and the plant are right off the Interstate. They’re in the path of progress.”

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