The developer already has J.C. Penney Co. Inc. as its leadanchor with 104,000 sf. The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley will becomprised of a 455,000-sf lifestyle center and an adjacent700,000-sf power center. First Hartford acquired the land at Texas281 and Trenton Road in 2005--and waited for the right time tobegin development.

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"With the signing of J.C. Penney and interest from otherrealtors, we felt confident that there was a reason and enoughinterest from both national and regional players to begin thisproject," says Peter Higgins, VP of the Hartford, CT-baseddeveloper. The plan is to begin construction in June, with fall2008 penciled for the official opening.

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Higgins tells GlobeSt.com that there are several letters ofintent circulating with interested tenants and more to come,particularly given the city's proximity to the Mexican border. "Thelocal and regional customer base is, I think, looking for this typeof center, and access is terrific off 281," he continues, addingthe project is expected to draw plenty of traffic from both sidesof the border.

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Higgins points out that Edinburg and nearby McAllen arerecognized medical hubs for the region. Edinburg Regional MedicalCenter and Edinburg Children's Hospital, among others, are situatedclose to the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley's development site.

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First Hartford Realty is the general contractor and ispreleasing the development. Lease rates are not available. KA Inc.of Cleveland is the project architect.

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