Throughout the Southeast, auto plants have created jobs and drawn developers' interest. (See story on p. 77.) In Kentucky, the city of Bowling Green has been one site of growth. There, near a Toyota Motor manufacturing plant, CBL & Associates Properties and May Commercial Group are developing the Shoppes at Equestrian Crossing.
Situated on 225 acres, the center, scheduled to break ground next year, will include 850,000 square feet of retail and have 12 major anchors, four of which will be more than 100,000 square feet. Plans also call for three hotels, restaurants and a stand-alone movie theater.
Bowling Green sits three hours southwest of Georgetown. When General Motors began production of the Chevrolet Corvette there back in 1981, it ignited Warren County as a major automotive manufacturing center in the United States and the area's prime destination for retail.
The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce says more than 1,600 jobs have been created from the establishment and expansion of the auto manufacturing industry. Each week 50 people move to the Bowling Green Area, a city spokesperson says. The city is also seeing steady growth of 1,000 people per year. Bowling Green's population last year topped 53,000 and the number of residents within South Central Kentucky rose to more than 252,000.
Bowling Green-based Greenwood Mall, developed by Chicago-based General Growth Properties, has undergone three expansions to keep pace with the growing population fueled by the automaker and its suppliers.