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MIAMI-Lease and sales activity in South Florida’s retail sector continue to gain strength in the wave of South Florida’s growing population and residential expansion. Great Florida Bank and Washington Mutual have inked leases with an aggregate value of $2.5 million at two area shopping centers. Meanwhile, the 43,000-sf 167th Street Shopping Center in North Miami Beach sells for $7 million, or nearly $163 per sf.

Locally based Great Florida Bank, which began operations in June 2004, signed a 10-year lease for 851 sf at Suniland Shopping Center, located at 11235 S. Dixie Highway in Pinecrest. Valued at over $500,000, this follows two prior leases at Country Isles Plaza and Weston Lakes Plaza, both in Weston. The bank had seven branches at its first anniversary and plans to have 16 by the end of October.

Mindy McIlroy of Miami Beach-based Terranova Corp., represented the owner in all three of the transactions and also represented the owner in WaMu’s 10-year lease for a 4,000-sf outparcel at Doral Plaza at 9709 N. 41st St. This deal, valued at $2 million, follows Seattle-based WaMu’s recent leases at Parkhill Plaza and Palm Plaza here.

In an unrelated transaction, Yarkon Holding Realty LLC acquired the shopping center on 2.8 acres at 705-761 NE 167th St. from an owner identified by the center’s name. The center was built in 1956, and Big Lots, Suit City, Rent-A-Center and Carvel are major tenants.

Bard Brenner, of locally based Sam Brenner Inc., tells GlobeSt.com the buyer obtained a $5-million acquisition loan from New York-based Intervest National Bank. W. James Orovitz Inc. and Crane International Real Estate Inc. participated with Brenner in the transaction.

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