Crews began moving dirt on the second of two new shopping centers planned on Ga. 400 in Dawson County.
The Kroger-anchored Dawson Marketplace, which sits on the southbound side of the highway, between Whitmire and Dawson Forest roads, plans to open one of Georgia's largest grocery stores at approximately 123,000 square feet, featuring a nine pump fuel center.
A project many years in the works, local officials said they are excited to see progress and the long-awaited plans begin to come to fruition.
"The development authority has been actively working with the large developers for a number of years so we are very pleased to see construction work started," said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County.
In addition to the Kroger Marketplace, Blanchard Real Estate Capital has secured national retailer commitments exceeding 200,000 square feet.
"Dawson County is well known as a mecca for retail in this region and is a very popular state-known retail destination," Auvermann said. "The addition of the Dawson Marketplace will most certainly reinforce our position as a hub for retail shopping."
He calls the retail center "a $60 million investment in Dawson County" that will bring nearly 230 new jobs to the area.
"Growth of our retail businesses along the GA400 corridor keeps personal property taxes low while giving the county and the school system the ability to provide excellent services for our citizens," Auvermann said.
The completed development is expected to give the Dawson County area a "wide array of choices for food and shopping" for the greater Dawsonville community and visitors to the county, according to Blanchard.
The goal is to have the first shops open in the new power center by fall 2016.
Dawson Forest Road's intersection with Ga. 400 has quickly become one of the most sought after areas for developers interested in Dawson County.
There are also plans for a shopping center on the intersection's southeast corner, which was rezoned earlier this year for allow Dawson Forest Developer, LLC to create a major mixed-use center, which also includes a 300-unit apartment complex in phase two.
While developers have said they were not ready to disclose the name of the 45,600 square foot grocery supermarket that is planned for Dawson Crossroads, local officials have said it will be Publix.
However, a call to the corporate office indicates that nothing had been finalized as of press time Tuesday.
"We do not have a confirmed site in Dawsonville," said Publix Media and Community Relations Manager Brenda Reid. "We only comment on confirmed sites."
Halpern Enterprises announced in August that Brooklyn Joe's Pizzeria, Lee Nails and Great Clips have signed leases with more tenants coming onboard in the coming months.
"Dawsonville is becoming a shopping hub for the entire surrounding area, and Dawson Crossroads will be right in the middle of that activity," said Dan Gagne, Halpern regional director of leasing. "With excellent highway access and a prime location, the center will be a good fit for tenants looking for a high traffic area."
According to Halpern's announcement, there is space available for a junior anchor and an assortment of other shops and restaurants.
"Chili's restaurant is coming to the corner outparcel, and there is also a high level of interest in the property's other outparcels from popular franchises," the release said.
Officials with the Development Authority of Dawson County have spent several years talking to developers interested in the location.
"I actually started working on that property with the grocery store and with various developers back in 2007 and it's only with Halpern that we've been able to actually see it come through to fruition," Auvermann said. "The development authority is extremely pleased to have this project get started."