03 May 2010

Retail Project Taking Shape in Leeds, Alabama

St. Clair Times

LEEDS — More than six months after receiving approval from multiple governing bodies, the Grand River retail district is “starting to take shape,” according to officials.

The project — officially approved in September of 2009 — is seeing a rapid advance in construction just off U.S. 78 near Exit 140 in Leeds. Doug Neil, vice president for development and marketing of Daniel Corp., said the retail outlet mall is tentatively scheduled to open in late October or early November.

“It’s going to be an upscale, pedestrian-friendly shopping experience,” Neil said. “We really believe this is going to be the catalyst for growth and development of the region along I-20.”

Some of the buildings on the concrete construction site already are recognizable to prospective shoppers. The shopping center will feature a fountain at its entrance, concrete walking areas and a food court.

According to the Web site for the mall, www.shopsofgrandriver.com, a number of name brands already have committed to the site, including Banana Republic, Gap, Van Heusen and Nine West.

John Knutsson, vice president for construction and Alabama concrete contractor noted that the center is committed to preserving the surrounding environment: Efforts have been made to craft natural areas around the center and make use of the storm-water runoff.

“There’s a lot to it,” Knutsson said. “But it’s not that complicated.”

Grand River is located in the Leeds General and Leeds-Moody Cooperative Districts, and revenue sharing is in place between Leeds, Moody and St. Clair County, all of which agreed to help foot the bill for the project.

Neil said the project is “twice the size and scope” of Bass Pro Shop, which opened in November 2008.

“This is the definition of what happens when people pull together,” he said.

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