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ORLANDO-Clearly making its mark as a first-tier regional retail developer, Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Stiles Corp. is focusing on north Florida as the 52-year-old family-founded and family-operated company prepares to start two community centers with Jacksonville, FL associate Hallmark Partners.

Stiles Retail Group and developer Jeffrey Conn’s Hallmark team plan to break ground in September on their second Jacksonville community retail project, the $8 million, 67,521-sf Deerwood Lake Commons at the southwest corner of Southside Boulevard and Touchton Road. The project is being built at $118 per sf and is expected to open in July 2003.

Hallmark-Stiles Ventures also has started St. Johns Commons, a 71,352-sf community center with an estimated construction cost of $5.35 million or about $75 per sf. The retail center is expected to open in first quarter 2003.

At Deerwood Lake Commons, the joint venture partners already have signed Lakeland, FL-based Publix Supermarkets Inc. to a 20-year, 44,271-sf lease, leaving only 23,250 sf left to rent.

The developers wouldn’t disclose a rent range but area brokers tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the range in the south side submarket is $15 per sf to $20 per sf. They estimate the value of the Publix lease at $14 million or about $16 per sf.

At St. Johns Commons, 20 minutes from Downtown Jacksonville, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. of Jacksonville is the anchor with 25,000 sf.

In Central Florida, 80 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando, Stiles is completing Heathrow Commons Shopping Center, a $6 million, 79,590-sf shopping center within the 900-acre Bonnie Heath Farms, residential/retail/office community in Ocala, FL. That 11.7-acre venture on State Road 200 is scheduled to open in second quarter 2003 at a hard construction cost of $75 per sf. A 54,340-sf Publix is the anchor.

Architecture 6400 Inc., a Stiles Corp. division, is designing the three projects. Stiles Construction Co. is the general contractor.

Besides Fort Lauderdale, Stiles has Florida offices in Tampa and Fort Myers and in Nashville, TN. The company’s office, industrial and retail development portfolio in the Southeast totals 22 million sf.

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