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TAMPA, FL-EastGroup Properties continues to raise its presence in Central Florida industrial markets with the $4.9 million purchase of the two-year-old, 72,000-sf Crown Park Commerce Center in the Tampa International Airport submarket.

David H. Hoster II, president and CEO of the Jackson, MS-based REIT, tells GlobeSt.com the acquisition is the company’s 31st property in the Tampa-Orlando corridor since 1989 when it made its first purchase here. EastGroup paid a local development partnership about $67.36 per sf for the 100%-leased center. The acquisition increases EastGroup’s Tampa-Orlando portfolio to three million sf of industrial assets.

“Crown Park Commerce Center is a state-of-the-art, multi-tenant distribution facility which increases our cluster of assets in the Tampa International Airport submarket to seven properties with a total of approximately 976,000 sf and our overall ownership in Tampa to approximately 1.9 million sf,” Hoster says.

The Mississippi executive tells GlobeSt.com leasing activity remains “tough” in Central Florida with “more lookers than buyers.” Still, he says, leasing is “picking up and looking better than it was a year ago” at this time.

EastGroup’s portfolio comprises 19.1 million sf in various major US markets with an additional 609,000 sf under development. In Orlando, EastGroup plans to break ground in first quarter 2004 on the first building in the planned 750,000-sf SouthRidge Commerce Center on a 70-acre tract in Orlando Central Park, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. EastGroup paid $5.1 million, or $72,857 per acre, for the land in September. The REIT owns one million sf of industrial product in metro Orlando.

In an unrelated transaction in the Orlando suburb of Winter Garden, Agree Realty Corp. of Farmington Hills, MI sold its 15-year-old, 233,512-sf, 100%-leased Winter Garden Plaza to a private investor for $8.5 million, or $36.40 per sf. Kmart Corp. and Kash N Karry are the anchors. Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the price was below replacement cost of the community shopping center.

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