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TAMPA, FL-In an obvious race to compete for Florida acquisition honors with Inland Retail Real Estate Trust Inc. of Oak Brook, IL, Houston-based Weingarten Realty Investors is entering the Tampa/Clearwater, FL market by picking up a trophy retail property in Sunset Point 19 in Clearwater, FL.

Weingarten’s prepared statement didn’t disclose the price paid to Georgia-based Sunset Associates and GlobeSt.com couldn’t reach Weingarten officials at publication deadline.

But area brokers intimate with the Tampa/Clearwater market tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the REIT paid at least $125 per sf or an estimated $34 million for the 29-year-old, 273,000-sf, 100%-leased property.

The acquisition is Weingarten’s seventh in Florida, increasing its portfolio in the Sunshine State to 1.5 million sf from 1.2 million sf in September.

Weingarten still trails Inland’s one-sale-per-month track record. Inland has 19 Florida properties totaling 2.19 million sf out of a total Southeast portfolio of 29 shopping centers totaling 3.63 million sf.

Among Sunset Point’s tenants are Publix Supermarkets Inc., Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sports Authority, Comp USA, Staples, Barnes & Noble and Eckerd Drugs.

In his statement, Drew Alexander, Weingarten’s president/CEO, calls Sunset Point “a dominant retail center” in the Tampa/Clearwater area. He says the property’s location on 25.8 acres at State Road 19 and Sunset Point Road draws 100,000 cars a day. The estimated residential base in the center’s five-mile radius is 200,000, Alexander says.

Besides Sunset Point, Weingarten’s other Florida properties are Boca Lyons, Boca Raton; Colonial Plaza and Market at Southside, Orlando; Pembroke Commons, Pembroke Pines; Venice Pines, Venice; and Winter Park Corners, Winter Park.

Sunset Point is Weingarten’s 31st acquistion in its 53-year-old history and represents a total investment of $460 million, according to the statement.

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