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      Some stores in the Carousel Center expansion could open this year

      Work being done inside the Carousel Center expansion / photo by Alex Dunbar

      The finishing touches were still being added on Thursday morning but the first link between Carousel Center mall and it's massive expansion is now in place. Even skeptics who thought the expansion would only exist in drawings stopped to take a look today.

      "You kind of just thought maybe ten years from now something will actually happen with it but now that you actually see people working outside and inside - it is exciting to see it actually opening," said Julie Santoro as she looked over the progress with her young son.

      The new entranceway sits between the H&M clothing store and Lord and Taylor. Shoppers were getting a look at the full size of the addition as construction crews moved in and out on Thursday.

      The full mall expansion is still targeted to open next spring - but Carousel Center General manager Rob Schoeneck says it's possible some stores in the expansion might open this year.

      "It's a possibility we could have people walking in a part of the expansion and some tenants open for the holidays - so that's still on the radar," said Schoeneck.

      Nick Devnicheck can't wait for stores to start moving in. Devinchek and his team just finished installing all the windows on the new H&M store and when he sees the unfinished expansion, he sees lots of potential clients.

      "It actually keeps a lot of guys. We had guys working who were out of work for three or four months. It's only a month project but it's better than sitting at home unemployed," said Devinchek of the H&M work.

      Five more connections between the existing mall and the expansion will be opening up over the next few months.