MEMBERTOU FIRST NATION, N.S. -- One of the wealthiest First Nations communities in Canada is finally unveiling plans for a highway-side shopping complex.

Membertou First Nation will begin its transformation into a new retail district, called Seventh Exchange.

“It’s very exciting for us. We’ve been at this a long time and bought this area several years ago,” says Chief Terry Paul.

The First Nations community already has a state of the art Convention Centre, a nearby Wellness Centre, and a newly constructed retail and office space.

Now, ground will be broken just off Highway 125 near Sydney, N.S. and Chief Terry Paul says it will be similar to Dartmouth Crossing.

“We have 40 acres set aside right now and we have several hundred acres and we are hoping to develop a housing subdivision in a couple years,” said Paul.

The new space will initially include a new service station, a food and beverage partner, commercial business space and Green Diamond Equipment.

“Membertou has been the envy of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia for some time now,” says Kathleen Yurchesyn, the CEO of Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Yurchesyn says Thursday’s announcement is a positive one for an area that has seen so much decline.

“I think Membertou is a shining example of what can happen here and I think they’ve demonstrated that over the past 10 years.”

Chief Paul says the new construction will also create jobs for the area.

“There’s potential job’s for community members and people from the outside,” he says.

Paul says the development will take place in a phased approach, with construction starting this summer.