Groundbreaking ceremony held for Market at Mills Park

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

With the turn of a shovel on Monday, city officials and developers marked the groundbreaking of the Market at Mills Park near Mills Avenue and Virginia Drive.

When completed, the park will feature a Fresh Market grocery store, Chase Bank and First Watch, a daytime café, among other businesses.

In total, there are plans for 60,000 square feet of retail space and 310 apartments.

Mayor Buddy Dyer said he expected to break ground there five years ago but said the ceremony was a sign that the economy was turning around.

"The project started just as the recession hit, and now we're in recovery, this is a great example of how Orlando can prosper," said Dyer.

Developer Jay Adams is the second to handle the project as Mills Park has been in the works for more than a decade.

"I think we're going to see a very strong economic recovery in this market," said Adams.

Monday's groundbreaking focused on an anchor store, which will house Orlando's first Fresh Market. The store is 24,000-square-feet and will bring at least 90 new jobs.

"To have an anchor like that really ensures the success of this project," said Dyer. "There is going to be residential, so it will be a good mixed-use development, which we encourage in downtown Orlando."

Developers said they hope to draw customers from all over the city once it is done, and they're hoping to have a grand opening next fall.