By Johnny Jackson
Monica Horne no longer has to travel far to get to work. And soon, she won't have to travel far to shop, either.
Horne, who lives in McDonough, works as a customer service representative for Kohl's, which is minutes from her home.
Kohl's, located on Ga. Highway 20, just off Interstate 75 in Henry County, is, for many, a welcomed sign of a promised, major development project for the Southern Crescent.
The Kohl's, along with a new J.C. Penney department store, are the first stores to be added to the South Point project, a new regional, mixed-use shopping center.
On about 70 acres of real estate, the center will eventually include 570,000 square feet of retail space, coupled with sit-down restaurants, condominiums, and greenspace and sidewalks.
"I'm excited about it," said Steve Cash, executive director of the Henry Council for Quality Growth. "I think it's good for Henry County. It's going to bring something we don't have. It's going to bring an upgrade."
The project has been touted as a higher-end development for retail that, when complete, will pour sales-tax revenue into the local economy.
"I think it's great for the quality of life in Henry County when we can get a true enterprise...," Cash said. "I just saw it as an opportunity for two major chains [Kohl's and J.C. Penney] to go fast track. And they're going to be the hub of other major chains."
The project, Cash said, is a part of long-range planning into the next decade to incorporate more mixed-use or "live-work-play" communities for young professionals and their families.
"It's a growing area and our customers have asked if we could move farther south," said Jeff Underwood, Kohl's metro Atlanta district manager.
Kohl's target demographic, according to Underwood, is largely professional women between the ages of 24 and 54, busy women shopping for themselves, their family, and their home.
"We're trying to provide great brands and great values for our customers," Underwood said.
The department store chain is opening 95 stores nationwide this year. The new McDonough store, which will open with 150 store associates, is one of only three new stores in Georgia.
Both Kohl's and J.C. Penney are expected to open in October.
Kohl's will host its official grand opening on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:45 a.m. The store officially opens at 8 a.m.
The official grand opening for J.C. Penney, one of 22 of the retailer's stores opening nationwide on the same day, will take place on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:45 a.m., and will officially open thereafter.
The stores at South Point are located at 1380 Ga. Highway 20 in McDonough, a block west of exit 218 in Henry County.