MIAMI—While many tourists flock to America's panhandle lookingfor sand and sunshine, Florida's retail development market is doingthe opposite: moving indoors. According to JLLresearch launched today at the International Council ofShopping Centers Florida Conference in Orlando, nearlyhalf of all retail commercial construction happening in the statein the first half of 2014 is taking place in malls and shoppingcenters.

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“While most markets are seeing a boom in grocery-anchored powercenters or strip centers, Florida has a distinct need fortraditional retail assets that's driven by the tourist shopperbase, which prefers a one-stop shop for their goods along with aclimate controlled experience,” says John Schupp,SVP of retail development at JLL.

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Florida's construction numbers stand in stark contrast to therest of the country, where the retail development pipeline remainsslim, with just 45 million square feet nationwide underconstruction. However, Florida benefits from expanding retailersand increasing investment allocations. More than 29% of all newretail deliveries in the United States in the second quarter of2014 occurred in Florida, and its major cities are absorbing thespace well.

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Tampa, which has historically been a strong UStourist destination, is seeing the most robust growth with 1.43million square feet of space under construction as of Q2 2014.Miami, which is a strong international city and one of the tightestFlorida markets, has 1.42 million square feet under construction,the greatest amount of development in proportion to its existinginventory. These two locales are leading examples of resilientmarkets that have the fundamentals and key drivers to supportadditional supply.

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The Florida retail market shows no sign of slowing, despite itsloss of momentum during the Recession. Development in the stateaccounts for nearly 13% of retail assets under constructionnationwide, and a tidal wave of space is expected to come tofruition in the next 9 to 12 months in South Florida. Liquidity inthe financial markets has continued to rise to pre-recessionlevels, increasing the ability to develop new retail assets, orredevelop older properties.

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“Local, regional and national banks are the most viable sourcesavailable for development financing in core markets like Florida,that are in need of new supply. While not as common, we are alsoseeing life companies open their ledgers forconstruction-to-permanent financing, especially for stronggrocery-anchored assets,” according to JimmyBoard, EVP of JLL's capital markets. “Beyond the debtmarkets, there is a significant amount of institutional equityseeking the opportunity to invest in new and/or stabilized coreretail product.”

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.