Heavy equipment workers are moving dirt this week at the site of the long-anticipated Bridges of Mint Hill shopping complex. A formal groundbreaking is in the works, said Nicole Spreck of General Growth Properties, one of the developers of the site. She declined to provide further details about the project. Mint Hill Town Manager Brian Welch said a mall developer told him the work being done now is to prepare an area for the groundbreaking.

The Bridges of Mint Hill project covers 215 acres in the northwest quadrant of the Interstate 485/Lawyers Road Interchange and stretches down Lawyers Road from I-485 to Bain School Road. When completed, it is slated to have 1.3 million square feet of retail shopping space.

The complex, designed with several buildings, rather than as a traditional enclosed mall is projected to open in 2009. Plans include free-standing department store anchors, including a 150,000 square foot Belk, along with specialty stores, restaurants and a movie theater.