June 2, 2006

Atlanta Developer Plans Major Open-Air Shopping Center

Cousins Properties, "responsible for some of the Atlanta skyline's most visible buildings," is currently building a 394,000-square-foot retail/restaurant/office project along both sides of a major roadway in Gwinnett, Georgia, the Gwinnett Business Journal reports.

"Joel Murphy, president of Cousin Properties' retail division hopes that the open air, pedestrian-friendly shopping venue will re-define shopping in Gwinnett," the paper notes. " 'There's nothing like it in the area,' Murphy says." The first phase is slated to open this summer.

The project is part of a trend away from conventional enclosed malls of the past, in favor of "lifestyle centers" that seek to create an appealing sense of place and not simply a could-be-anywhere-USA collection of stores. Upscale demographics were a likely a prime attraction in siting the center, since average household income is more than $90,000 in a 3-mile radius around the new center. You can see a site plan for The Avenue Webb Gin here (PDF).

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