A former Boeing production site on Lake Washington in Renton is about to become one of the region's biggest development projects. Dallas-based Harvest Partners is...

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A former Boeing production site on Lake Washington in Renton is about to become one of the region’s biggest development projects.

Dallas-based Harvest Partners is planning to unveil plans for a shopping-theater complex roughly twice the size of University Village, along with a high-rise residential development that could bring thousands more residents to Renton. Construction could begin as early as the spring.

Boeing sold the 46-acre property last winter to Transwestern Investment of Chicago, and since then details about the development, called Lakeshore Landing, have gradually come to light.

The project is to include a retail-restaurant complex and a movie megaplex totaling about 800,000 square feet — essentially the region’s first major new shopping center in years — and 900 to 1,000 units of housing, probably some combination of condominiums and apartments.

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Renton’s economic development director, Alex Pietsch, said the project is the latest development in nearly a decade of work to diversify Renton’s economy beyond dependence on airliner production.

When Boeing announced in 2002 that it was selling its surplus property in Renton, where it assembles the 737, some feared that the company was about to shut down its Renton operations and move 737 work to Everett.

But three years later, the 737 line is as busy as ever, and the unused Boeing land is being made available for development right in the middle of a real-estate boom.

The city’s also had healthy population growth, with 6,000 new residents since 2000 — more new people locally than any place but Seattle during that time.

“Things are really starting to pop down here,” Pietsch said. The new development “will certainly give that part of Renton a huge face-lift and really be a buoy for the entire city.”

Shopping-center developers are getting busy throughout the region. Major malls have expanded or have expansions under way, and new retail centers are under construction in half a dozen downtowns in the Puget Sound area.

A national real-estate investment brokerage, Marcus & Millichap, recently picked the Seattle area — King, Pierce and Snohomish counties — as the nation’s No. 1 market for real-estate investments over the next three years. The firm noted the region’s improving economy and relatively small amount of retail space for the size of the population.

Staff writer Monica Soto contributed to this report.

Tom Boyer: 206-464-2923 or tboyer@seattletimes.com