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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2004

Mall project in Maumee unstarted despite OK

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The developer of a mall project in Maumee has talked about breaking ground on the long-promised project nearly every year since it acquired the land in southwest Lucas County in 1998.

The company cleared all its important governmental hurdles in May, but three months later, no ground work has begun, and a spokesman for General Growth Properties Inc. said a date hasn't been set.

Why, however, is unclear. "There's some fine tuning and detail work on our end," said Julie Jacoby. "I'm not sure an actual date is in place but I know we're talking about doing it in the coming months."

The project, a 130-acre retail village called the Shops at Fallen Timbers, is to be near U.S. 24 just west of the I-475/U.S. 23 interchange. The developer has said it plans to open the million-square-foot center by November, 2005, a time frame that may be delayed because of the time required for construction.

John Jezak, administrator for the city of Maumee, said the only thing General Growth, of Chicago, needs is a building permit, which it can request and receive at any time. "Nothing's happening there yet, but it hasn't been because of the city standing in their way," he said. "The ball is basically in their court."

The Maumee project was refashioned a year ago into an outdoor "lifestyle center" that looks like a village, the latest trend in shopping centers.

General Growth wanted to build an enclosed mall on the site when it bought land in 1998 from the Isaac Corp., which will develop about 300 acres around the project. At first, General Growth planned to have five anchor stores in an enclosed mall, but that has since been scaled back to an outdoor center with two anchors, Dillard's and Parisian.

The developer, one of the largest mall creators in the country, has said it has letters of intent or signed leases from PF Chang's China Bistro, Barnes & Noble bookstore, an Irish pub, and a gourmet grocer.

The General Growth spokesman said the company has had good responses from retailers about the project. Based on that, Ms. Jacoby said, "I would assume that's a 'yes' we'll do [groundbreaking] this year."

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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