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COLUMBIA, MO-Forum Development Group is working on plans for a $175 million new mixed-use project called Discovery. The 220-acre site, at roughly Highway 63 and Gans Road, will have 400,000 sf of office, 700,000 sf of retail and about 500 units of apartments and condos, according to company EVP Jay Lindner.

The development is going up in part thanks to a new interchange for the highway at Discovery Parkway, that will be next to about $1.3 billion in new campus projects going up for the University of Missouri, including a new life sciences incubator and health sciences building. The new mixed-use development would also be built across Highway 63 from the 114-acre Discovery Ridge research park. A new 500-acre park, that will include a lake, as well as new soccer and baseball fields, is being developed by the city next to Discovery as well. “Columbia is a very vibrant town,” Lindner says. “We’re in a perfect spot.”

There’s demand for all of the uses, Lindner says. “There’s a lot of big box retailers who want to get into the city, but there’s no place for them to go. We’ve got a few letters of intent for the retail.” He says the company also has an office user that’s taking a planned three-story building totaling about 100,000 sf. The name can’t be disclosed yet, he says. “We should be making an announcement about that in the next 30 to 60 days,” Lindner tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ll have the ability to accommodate up to 500,000 sf in shovel-ready office sites. We’ll probably end up with seven different office sites.” He says the company is not ready to break down amount of retail stores, or the split between the proposed condos and apartments.

The interchange work is expected to be complete this year, and the firm will start construction on the Discovery project in mid-2009, he says. “It’s a five-year project. By the time retail comes back and we get a few office users, I think you’re looking at a 2014 to 2015 time frame,” Lindner says.

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