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BRADENTON, FL-Reinforcing its position as the most aggressive shopping center buyer in Florida this year, Oakbrook, IL-based Inland Retail Real Estate Trust Inc. paid $23.5 million or $103.50 per sf for the 227,052-sf, 98%-leased Creekwood Crossing Shopping Center in Bradenton, FL, 85 miles west of Downtown Orlando.

The acquistion from Creekwood Gateway LLC of Bradenton was Inland’s 21st in Florida and 31st overall. The REIT has been paying an average $100 per sf for its acquisitions since June. Prior to that period, Inland was paying an average $95 per sf, according to GlobeSt.com research.

Steve Sanders, senior vice president, Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc., calls the newest acquisition “another signature property for Inland Retail.” Paying top dollar for the property is part of Inland’s strategy.

“We look at the location, the tenants and the condition of the property, among other things, and this property stands out,” Sanders tells GlobeSt.com. He negotiated the purchase for Inland.

A 100,000-sf Kmart and a 70,000-sf Bealls Discount Department Store anchor Creekwood Crossing at the northwest corner of State Road 70 and Interstate 75. About 3,000 sf of vacant space remains to be filled.

The acquisition brings Inland’s total portfolio to 3.95 million sf and its Florida inventory to 2.5 million sf. Inland is confident it can reach the four million-sf portfolio mark before year end. “We have several deals waiting to close,” Rick Fox, Inland’s communications director, tells GlobeSt.com.

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