The project, situated on nine acres near the intersection of DelPrado Boulevard North and Diplomat Parkway East, was originallyexpected to be 89,000 sf. However, Cape Coral city leaders askedthe developer to acquire two additional sites adjacent to theproperty.

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With the additional land, the development will total 108,000 sf,with 76,485 sf of retail space, about 32,000 sf of office space and500 parking spaces. The design of the center incorporates up to 24end corner units, with spaces ranging from small single offices tonearly 25,000 sf of contiguous space for a single retail tenant.With construction expecting to last about nine months, the firsttenants will move into the center in spring 2009.

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Rey Ortega, president of Sarasota-based Garrison DeveloperGroup, tells GlobeSt.com that letters of intent have been signedfor approximately 20% of the space. Companies that have committedto space include several restaurants, a health club and a cellphone company. He adds that retailers are reluctant to commit tospace until a project has received final approval, which DiplomatShoppes received March 6. "We're focusing on the retail spaceinitially," Ortega says. "One tends to follow the other."

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Cape Coral is the second-largest city in Lee County, which hasexperienced 35% growth over the last seven years, according toCensus Bureau figures. Ortega notes that the city is consideredunderserved by national retailers, despite its proximity to FortMyers.

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"The corner where the center will be located is the only cornercommercially zoned in the North Cape Coral area," he says. "Rightnow, people who live in the area must drive by our site to get toshopping."

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