(Carl Cronan is editor of RealEstate Florida.)

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LAKELAND, FL-Rooms To Go Inc. is proceeding with plans to builda 700,000-sf expansion of its local home furnishings distributioncenter on 44 acres of industrial land along Airport Road. ColdwellBanker Commercial Saunders Real Estate says it recently closed onthe $3-million sale, with the property having been under contractsince this past spring.

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GlobeSt.com previouslyreported that Rooms to Go was seeking to add on to its1.7-million-sf warehouse next to the site, which used to be acattle farm. Siblings Jerry Tanner and Nan Tanner Ledoux sold theproperty to Seaman Development Corp., an entity belonging to RoomsTo Go CEO Jeffrey Seaman, who was unavailable for comment late lastweek.

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The Tanner family has owned the two parcels making up Rooms ToGo's new site since the 1940s, with extended ownership dating asfar back as 1906. "We are at a point in life where we don't havethe time to work it," Jerry Tanner says. "Rooms To Go gave a goodpresentation of use and was very professional in all aspects of thetransaction."

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Tanner notes that the property will be better served as aneconomic engine for the Lakeland area, which has long been a keydistribution site for various consumer goods. Rooms To Go, based innearby Seffner, has 800 employees at its current warehouse and isexpected to add more jobs when the expanded space opens in2010.

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Despite the housing market downturn in Florida, Rooms To Goposted sales of nearly $1.8 billion last year. The company, whichspecializes in sales of furniture suites rather than individualpieces, constantly rotates its inventory for quick delivery and has150 showrooms in nine Southeastern states.

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