Growth and quality of life in a community should go “hand in hand,” according to the developer of a major retail complex set to start construction this month in Richmond.

Michael McNicholas, president of Carolina Holding Inc. gave that message Friday to the Madison County Global Economy Summit.

Carolina Holdings’ 120-acre complex along Barnes Mill Road between Goggins Lane and Interstate 75, to be known as Richmond Centre, should promote “improvements in all aspects of growth” for Madison County, McNicholas said by teleconference from Charlotte, N.C., as he prompted a PowerPoint presentation in Richmond.

McNicholas’ flight from Charlotte to Lexington was canceled because of bad weather, but he still managed to speak to the audience via speaker phone.

Richmond Centre will set high standards for commercial development for Madison County, he said, as an image of the development’s main entrance was flashed on a giant screen.

The entrance, opposite Amberly Way, will feature a fountain, landscaping and poles flying American and Kentucky flags.

Quality development, such as Richmond Centre, attracts rival development of even higher quality, he said.

Last year, Carolina Holdings completed a retail complex 20 miles east of Nashville, Tenn., that is similar in scope and content to Richmond Centre, he said, as images of Providence Market Place appeared on the screen.

“You should go see it,” he said, “because something similar is about to happen in Richmond.”

While four large retailers — Meijer, JCPenney, Belk and Home Depot — will anchor Richmond Centre, junior anchors will include a 12-screen cinema complex, an electronics store, a pet store, a book store, a craft store and a bath-linen store as well as other clothiers.

Goody’s, currently a tenant in the Richmond Mall, as is JCPenney, was listed on one slide in McNicholas’ presentation.

Restaurants, cafés, smaller shops and a bank will be included in the mix. Restaurants have filled 10 of 12 peripheral out parcels in Providence Market Place, McNicholas said. He predicted a similar outcome for Richmond Centre.

With site preparation across the complex set to begin this month, Richmond Centre’s first stores should start opening in October 2008 with all stores opening by April 2009, he said. Meijer opens stores only in the spring, so it will likely open in April 2009.

McNicholas also predicted that Richmond Centre, at Exit 87 on I-75, will “cross-pollinate with development at the new interchange under construction at Duncannon Lane between Richmond and Berea.

“With quality growth, everybody wins,” he said.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 267.

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