By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

Developments in Copperas Cove are moving right along after the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp. announced the progress of the land swap between the city and Fort Hood Thursday.

A work in progress that was first announced approximately two years ago, once the swap is made final, construction of the 1.15 million-square-foot, open-air retail center will begin.

"It's in the hands of the Secretary of the Army in Washington for the final signature," CCEDC Executive Director Jerry Connor said.

Gary Davis, President of First Advisors Inc., is the developer of the Shops of Five Hills that will be located directly across from Cinergy Cinemas on Constitution Drive. At 100 percent completion, the shopping center will be more than one million square feet with more than 6,000 parking spaces.

Davis forecasts the complex will create about 1,000 new jobs for the area, generate approximately $278 million in gross retail sales and $157.9 million a year in taxable sales.

The project will be built in phases over the next five to 10 years.

Jeff Benson, owner of Cinergy Cinemas, announced June 14 will be the grand opening of the entertainment center.

The time begins to wind down as the center nears completion. Benson said 57 employees have already been hired along with six managers.

Conner indicated a high level of interest from retail and restaurants expanding to Copperas Cove.

As of Thursday, the overall sales tax receipts is still ahead .94 percent for the year.

"It's a good indicator of our economy," CCEDC marketing director, Monica Hull, said.

In other business, the EDC discussed and approved documents regarding the donation of 0.199 acres for parcels 39 and 40 to the Texas Department of Transportation for the U.S. Highway 190 reliever route.

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