Developers looking to fill space for coming Mtn Brook center

By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - One month after getting the green light, plans for a controversial new development in Mountain Brook are moving forward. The $200-million Lane Parke at Mountain Brook Village development will be replacing the current Mountain Brook Shopping Center.

Developers report they working every day to recruit high-end retailers to the center. They will also be new additions to the Birmingham metro area.  No names are being released yet, but possible types of stores include clothing, sporting goods, and electronics.

"We are off to the races," said the president of Retail Specialists, Robert Jolly. "Our leasing team has been on the road.  We've had meetings in the office every day. We've been accumulating a long list of tenants since we starting talking about project."

The finished development will include retail and office space, a hotel, and town homes.  Developers believe the finished product will bring a big economic boost to Mountain Brook.

"We feel it will benefit the city immensely," said Developer John Evans. "Studies have been done by the city that said this project will help other retailers in Mountain Brook Village as well as retailers in Crestline and English Village."

Many of the existing stores in Mountain Brook Shopping Center will be moving into the new space once it is complete. Store owners like Joann Long of Dande'Lion said she is looking forward to getting additional space, and a newer building that isn't prone to flooding.

"I'm looking forward to the hotel," said Long, "I think that will be a big plus, and hopefully more new neat shops will join us."

The Lane Parke development was the subject of multiple public hearings before City Councilors voted to rezone the land June 28th.  Critics complained the project was too large and would hurt the ambiance in the area, but Evans said he thinks many of them have come around to supporting the project.

"In the last month it has been very nice to go out in community and have people say 'we like your plan,' and 'we are pulling for you,'" said Evans.

Developers say no construction will begin until they get 75% of the space leased. They are hoping to start construction in spring of next year. The project will be built in two phases, and the entire process will take 3 to 4 years.

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