(Carl Cronan is editor of RealEstateFlorida.)

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SARASOTA, FL-The Taubman Co. has joined two other developers onthe upscale University Town Center retail project here, adding toits existing Florida portfolio. The 900,000-sf, two-level regionalshopping center is scheduled to open in late 2010 as part of a276-acre mixed-use development.

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Taubman, based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, will work withSouthfield, MI-based The Forbes Co. and Sarasota-based BendersonDevelopment Co. on the project, to be anchored by Neiman Marcus,Nordstrom and Macy's. The center also promises a mix of retailersthat haven't always been readily available to Sarasota'shigh-income residents and visitors.

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"It's a great market that currently has a void in higher-end,better fashions," John Eggert, Taubman's development director,tells GlobeSt.com. Shoppers seeking such fare now travel to twoother nearby upscale shopping centers, International Plaza in Tampaand Waterside Shops in Naples, he says.

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Taubman and Forbes previously partnered on Waterside Shops aswell as the Mall at Millenia in Orlando. Taubman's other regionalmalls statewide include the Mall at Wellington Green in Palm BeachCounty and Dolphin Mall in Miami.

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Forbes and Benderson have been working together on UniversityTown Center since early last year. Additional components to theexpanse at Interstate 75 and University Parkway are expected toinclude hotels, premium office space and residences.

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Cincinnati-based Macy's Inc. unveiled plans for its newUniversity Town Center location during the International Council ofShopping Centers RECon annual convention in Las Vegas last week.The company expects to break ground on the 150,000-sf store nextfall.

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"Sarasota is a very important market for us," Julie Greiner,chairman and CEO of Macy's Florida, stated in a release. "We arelooking forward to making our selections of fashion and affordableluxury available in this new location, and we are pleased to be apart of this exciting new shopping and dining destination."

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