The New South is earning its name this year, with a number of firsts pushing retail development to new levels in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. Developer The Harris Land Co. announced plans to build the 19-acre Village at Seven Eagles, a mixed-use project that will include Charlotte's first Saks Fifth Avenue, by 2005. That same year, IKEA will open its first Southern store, a 366,000-square-foot store adjacent to Atlanta's Atlantic Station project. And New York-based New Plan Excel Realty Trust opened a regional office in Orlando to oversee its growing empire of neighborhood and community centers in the Sunshine State. Predictably, Atlanta remains the fastest growing market, with its population of 4.3 million expected to grow 12.75 percent by 2007. It is also the most expensive market for green development land, with recent transactions going as high as $1 million per acre. For more news from the Southeast, including an in-depth profile of the Nashville market, read on…

Memphis, Tenn.

Population: 1.15 million
Growth Through 2007: 4.96%
High Price Per Acre: $696,960
Regional Mall Vacancy: 7%
Grocery-Anchored Vacancy Rate: 9%

New Orleans

Population: 1.3 million
Growth Through 2007: 1.34%
High Price Per Acre: $653,400
Regional Mall Vacancy: 15.3%
Grocery-Anchored Center Vacancy: 13.5%

Birmingham, Ala.

Population: 933,721
Growth Through 2007: 3.73%
High Price Per Acre: $850,000
Regional Mall Vacancy: 4%
Grocery-Anchored Center Vacancy: 6%

Biloxi/Gulfport, Miss.

Population: 372,867
Growth Through 2007: 6.32%
High Price Per Acre: $522,720
Regional Mall Vacancy: 5%
Grocery-Anchored Center Vacancy: 5%

Charlotte, N.C.

Population: 1.56 million
Growth Through 2007: 10.24%
High Price Per Acre: $800,000
Regional Mall Vacancy: 5.3%
Grocery-Anchored Center Vacancy: 6.4%

Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.

Population: 985,062
Growth Through 2007: 6.11%
High Price Per Acre: $784,000
Regional Mall Vacancy: 3.8%
Grocery-Anchored Center Vacancy: 7.4%

Atlanta

Population: 4.3 million
Growth Through 2007: 12.75%
High Price Per Acre: $1 million
Overall Retail Vacancy: 9.3%

Orlando, Fla.

Population: 1.7 million
Growth Through 2007: 11.6%
High Price Per Acre: $100,000
Regional Mall Vacancy: 1.5%
Grocery-Anchored Center Vacancy: 6%

Source: NAI