ATLANTA — Streets of Buckhead, a $1.25 billion mixed-use luxury project in one of this city’s wealthiest areas, has postponed opening its first phase of retail from fall 2009 until March 2010.

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“After luxury retailers took a hit in October, we asked our [signed] tenants, who said 2009 should be a recovery year, with 2010 a better time for green-lighting expansion plans,” said Ben Carter, chairman and chief executive officer of Ben Carter Properties, developer of the project.

Carter said the economic crisis had put a hold on expansion for many European as well as U.S. retailers, as they reassess all aspects of business.

“They’re seeing significant cutbacks in their wholesale accounts, as department stores have trimmed purchasing,” he said. “They’re relying on freestanding and flagships, which give them more control of inventory.”

Carter’s project aims to transform eight blocks of former retail and bars in Buckhead into the Southeast’s luxury shopping, dining and residential center. It is near two upscale Simon Property Group malls, Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. Phase one calls for 375,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants, and more than 350 residential rental units.

Streets of Buckhead’s first phase of retail is 50 percent leased. Tenants include jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels, which plans a 3,200-square-foot store, its 13th in the U.S. Christofle, the Parisian retailer known for high-end silver gifts, is to open its first store in Atlanta, a 1,500-square-foot space.

In addition, the French children’s fashion house Bonpoint, along with Arthur, a home and beachwear boutique, both with only U.S. stores in locations such as New York, Beverly Hills and Palm Beach, Fla., are on the tenant list. Brunello Cucinelli, an Italian store specializing in men’s and women’s cashmere, with 30 stores in Europe and Japan, will open its fourth U.S. store, following two locations in New York, and one in Beverly Hills that will open in November.

Carter said several tenants had signed in recent months. Among them are Brioni, a Milan custom-tailored men’s wear suit brand; Leggiadro, a New York women’s print-based collection, and Shirts & Co. by Domenico Vacca, a new shirts-only retail concept by the Italian men’s wear brand. All are first-time Atlanta locations.