Craven County -

Premium shopping and entertainment is headed to New Bern. Ground was broken Wednesday morning for the multi-billion dollar project off US-70 and the Highway 43 connector.

Governor Beverly Perdue, local leaders and officials at the Weyerhaeuser plant broke ground on what will soon be known as Craven Thirty, a place where people can live, work and play.

?This is the model for the world right now. Folks want to live, work, play and retire in an area where they can do it all without getting in their cars - and this the concept is presented to us,? said Governor Perdue

The development will sit on a 550-acre tract of property, 75 of which will be used for shopping alone. There are plans to build 250 apartments, a movie theater and possibly a production studio. According to craventhirty.com, studies show New Bern is losing more than $200-million per year from locals and visitors passing by to get to other places to do their shopping.

People like Sarah Bliss tell News Channel 12 the development is a long time coming.

?I think it's exactly what we need right now in this county, people who are ready to spend money and invest and bring it all to a wonderful place like New Bern,? Bliss said.

Construction is set to begin sometime in 2013.