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BRADENTON, FL-Edwards Systems Technology, a 131-year-old commercial and industrial manufacturer of fire alarms and life safety systems, is relocating from the Highway 301 corridor here to a 100,000-sf, $18 million headquarters to be developed within Town Center at Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County. The site is about 80 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando.

Duke Realty Corp. of Indianapolis plans to break ground later this month on the two-story, 12-acre, build-to-suit undertaking that will house 170 employees. The building will be just off Interstate 75 at University Parkway and be ready for occupancy in September 2004.

Duke purchased the site from Schroeder Manatee Ranch Inc. The $18 million tag includes the land price and the building’s development cost, Duke officials tell GlobeSt.com.

Cushman and Wakefield of Florida Inc. represented Edwards in negotiations with Duke. HOK of Tampa is the architect. Edwards Systems Technology is a subsidiary of Charlotte, NC-based SPX Corp.

Edwards will be the fifth largest employer at Lakewood Ranch, behind FCCI, ADT Security, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Teleflex.

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