Groundbreaking Held for New Concord Mills Aquarium -

Groundbreaking Held for New Concord Mills Aquarium

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Construction is officially underway to build an aquarium in the greater Charlotte area to allowing visitors to explore life under the sea.

After a year of planning, Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium broke ground Wednesday at one of the state’s largest tourist attractions, Concord Mills mall.

“We offer an ideal fit for the people coming to the mall and something different for the people in the area,” said James Paulding, head of openings for Merlin, the company building the aquarium.

Sea Life Aquarium will be a one story, 36,000-square-foot indoor aquarium that will feature more than 20 displays of diverse marine life, all swimming in 150,000 gallons of water.

“I want to see some really jellyfish,” said a child at the groundbreaking.

The aquarium, set to open in spring 2014, will allow visitors to see more than 5,000 different sea creatures including sharks, stingrays and seahorses. It will feature a saltwater ocean tank, a 180-degree underwater viewing tunnel, an interactive touch pool and more.

“It’s going to bring more visitors to the area,” said Ray Soporowski, vice president of Concord Mills. “It offers family entertainment but also an educational basis as well.”

The project is set to bring in 50 new permanent jobs and increase tourism in Carrabus County, which is already is listed as one of North Carolina’s highest ranking counties in tourist revenue.

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