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PANAMA CITY, FL-CBL & Associates Properties Inc. is staging a four-day celebration party in this Florida Panhandle tourist destination after completing an estimated $10-million, 10-month renovation of the 28-year-old, 83%-leased, 679,602-sf Panama City Mall at 2150 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The 100-tenant mall is the only enclosed regional shopping center within 65 miles of the city. Dillard’s, JCPenney and Sears anchor the property. Among the specialty shops are Gap/GapKids, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Kirkland’s. Average asking base rents for non-anchors are $15 to $18 per sf, local retail brokers familiar with the mall tell GlobeSt.com. CBL declined to disclose the rent range.

“This extensive renovation and updating of Panama City Mall reinforces its position as the dominant shopping center in Panama City,” Michael Lebovitz, senior vice president of mall development for Chattanooga, TN-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc., says in a prepared statement. Lebovitz declined to disclose the actual renovation cost. Area brokers familiar with the project tell GlobeSt.com the cost is in the $10-million range.

In the same statement, Panama City Mayor Gerry Clemons says “CBL has proven its corporate commitment to Panama City by investing millions of dollars in renovating and updating Panama City Mall.” Local retail brokers tell GlobeSt.com about five million shoppers visit the mall annually.

Trade press sources call CBL the third largest mall REIT, based on gross leased area owned in the US. The company’s portfolio comprises equity interests or management contracts in 167 properties, including 67 enclosed regional malls. The properties are in 27 states and total 69.2 million sf, including two million sf of non-owned shopping centers managed for third parties. CBL went public in 1993. Charles B. Lebovitz is the company’s chairman and CEO.

In Florida, CBL owns four malls and seven community shopping centers. The malls include the Avenues in Jacksonville; Lakeshore Mall in Sebring; Panama City Mall; and the one-million-sf Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach, acquired in March of this year. The community centers include the 261,110-sf Cobblestone Village in St. Augustine and six other centers in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bartow, Jacksonville, Plant City and Spring Hill.

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