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SMYRNA, GA-Atlanta-based MetroGroup Development has started work on the 32,000-sf Barnes Mill Crossing. The mixed-use project will reside on seven acres at the northeast corner of East-West Connector and Hicks Road.

The neighborhood center, expected to open in the fall, will include a CVS/pharmacy, a freestanding bank, restaurant and approximately 8,400 sf of retail shop and office. MetroGroup, which is a preferred developer of CVS/pharmacy, acquired the site in December for an undisclosed amount. A spokesperson from MetroGroup Development tells GlobeSt.com that the project costs have not yet been determined. Atlanta-based Branch Properties will be handling leasing for the project, but apart from CVS/pharmacy, no other tenants have yet signed for the project.

The development is adjacent to Barnes Mill–a 200-acre, master-planned village with plans for approximately 450 single-family homes–in an area of West Cobb County experiencing much growth. “While growth in East Cobb County has slowed over the past decade, new residential havens continue to dot West Cobb County,” says MetroGroup Development partner Mark Gottlieb, in a prepared statement. “It is these new residents that are seeking convenience retail and eateries close to home.”

With its population expected to exceed 185,000 by 2011, the five-mile trade area around the development experienced a 30% growth rate from 1990 to 2006. With Cobb County experiencing the second highest per capita income in the metropolitan Atlanta area, the 2006 estimated average household income for the area around the development topped $65,000. “Explosive population growth continues to create demand for quality, convenience retail and dining environments,” Gottlieb says.

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