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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Flagler Development Co., one of Florida’s largest commercial real estate firms, has posted a strong third quarter, improving numbers in operating profit, occupancy rates and sales.

Flagler increased its rental properties’ operating profit before depreciation and amortization expense to $10.4 million from $9 million. After the adjustments, rental operating profit was $5.1 million versus $3.8 million in third quarter 2002.

Overall occupancy rates on all Flagler properties averaged 87% compared to the prior year period of 82%. The company booked a $10.1 million after-tax charge in anticipation of completing its previously disclosed negotiations to end an unproductive 30-year ground lease with Broward County government at Port Everglades.

Flagler’s prized deal of the year was its Sept. 30 sale of 78 acres at the south end of the 1,022-acre Flagler Center to Citicorp Credit Services Inc. of New York for $14.4 million, or $184,615 per acre. Flagler previously declined to disclose the sale price but included the number with its third-quarter Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Citicorp plans to break ground in first quarter 2004 on a 560,000-sf operations center, one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast. Citicorp will bring about 3,400 jobs to Flagler Center by early 2005, says Robert W. Anestis, chairman, president and CEO of Florida East Coast Industries, the parent of Flagler Development Co.

“Baptist Hospital’s campus, the anchor occupant to the north end of the park and the new interchange, which will provide direct access to the park from Interstate 95, are expected to be completed in first quarter 2005 and early to middle 2004 respectively,” Anestis says. “These developments will facilitate the park’s transformation from a rail-served industrial park to a class A corporate park positioned directly in the path of impressive growth in southern Jacksonville.”

Total realty sales for the third quarter were $47.6 million and $72.7 million for the first nine months of the year. During the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, Flagler sold its 50% ownership interest in three 98,000-sf office buildings in the Beacon Pointe Office Park in South Florida to its former partner, Duke Realty Corp., for $22.3 million and a six-acre undeveloped land parcel in the same park for $2.4 million, or $400,000 per acre.

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