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Developers banking on new retail market in Gluckstadt

GLUCKSTADT — Neu Markt, a 200-acre designer outlet mall and shopping district to be built at the new Interstate 55 South Nissan interchange in Madison County, will represent the first of its kind retail shopping experience for Central Mississippi when it opens in the spring of 2008.

Rayford Hudson, Johnny Jordan and Tim Weaver, operating as Gluckstadt Properties, LLC, are developing Neu Market, which is being touted as the focal spot for shopping between Memphis and New Orleans and a guaranteed favorite haunt for local shoppers.

The open-air lushly landscaped retail development with a European flair and a touch of German influence will feature a designer outlet mall, stand-alone retail stores, banks, restaurants, convenience stores, a pharmacy and a hotel. Retail stores will occupy more than one million square feet.

“We didn’t want to create just a typical lifestyle center,” explained Weaver, known primarily for his residential developments in Ridgeland and Madison. “We decided it would be better to create a destination, so we came up with the designer outlet concept to give people a reason to drive to Gluckstadt to shop.”

Hudson, a commercial developer in the metro Jackson area whose last project was Wind River in Pearl, Jordan, a residential developer in Madison County, and Weaver have already recruited the Prism Company, the Durham, N.C., marketing and leasing company for The Casino Factory Shoppes of Tunica, a factory outlet mall in Tunica County.

Madison County, the second-fastest growing county in Mississippi, is bracing for a 20% population growth this decade, a trend that is driving retail development. The population within a three-mile radius of the center is 3,257, with an attractive average household income of $96,229. More than a million and a half people live within a 100-mile radius, which designer mall tenants rely on for market support. Between 30,000 and 45,000 vehicles, including the lucrative tour bus market, pass by the South Nissan Parkway on a daily basis, according to Neu Markt.

A site visit is slated for September 7, with Prism Company executives bringing national site selection consultants representing “retailers that anyone would want for anchors for an outlet mall,” said Weaver. The outcome of the visit could result in fast-tracking the project.

After the interchange was completed, Madison County supervisors created Calhoun Station Road, which splits the property. The property has been divided into parcels, but the actual groundbreaking for Neu Markt has not yet been put on the calendar.

“We have the blessing of the local board of supervisors, the local school board due to the development being built on 16th Section Land, and all the financing is in place,” said Weaver. “We have a total of 230 acres available for the project and may hold some of the balance for offices. It’s now a matter of getting a few of the anchors committed and some fillers.”

Developers aren’t concerned about competing with nearby retail developments, such as the new $250 million Galleria shopping center along Galleria Parkway named Madison Crossing scheduled to open in 2008 and the $230-million lifestyle center at Renaissance at Colony Park, slated to open next October on Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland.

“The intent is to go after a different market,” said Weaver. “The Galleria is doing a lot of large box. Grand View has done large box with its Wal-Mart. Harbor Walk is going to be more of a specialty center, from my understanding, and Renaissance will be affecting County Line Road.”

Developers plan to market Neu Markt extensively via billboards, onsite signs, radio, television and print advertising.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at Lynne.Jeter@gmail.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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