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TITUSVILLE, FL-Duke Realty Corp., one of the largest industrial developers in the US, is increasing its 10-million-sf retail portfolio with the planned groundbreaking in March of Crossroads Marketplace, an estimated $20-million, 210,000-sf shopping center in this Space Coast hub.

It will be Duke’s first retail project in Brevard County and Central Florida. Duke has a second retail venture under way in Pembroke Pines, South Florida. The Indiana developer paid locally based RW Kirk Trust-Bob Kirk Realty $8 million, or $307,692 per acre ($7.06 per sf), for a 26-acre tract at State Roads 405 and 50. Duke anticipates opening the center by fall 2006.

The Orlando office of Colliers Arnold Commercial Real Estate Services Inc. negotiated the land deal for Duke and is also the center’s leasing manager. The seller represented itself. The tract was on the market for about a year. The deal took six months to complete, from contract signing to closing. Duke also plans to develop two multi-tenant out-parcel buildings on the site.

Colliers Arnold senior vice president Susan Morris and associates Kane Morris-Webster and Jill Rose tell GlobeSt.com they have already signed “a major anchor” to about 130,000 sf but declined to identify the merchant until the deal closes. The projected average base rent range for non-anchors will be $25 to $30 per sf, Rose says.

She tells GlobeSt.com the team “has secured several letters of intent from major retailers, including an anchor tenant that has been trying to get into the [Titusville] market for years.” Rose says the high interest among prospective tenants stems from their knowledge that “many Titusville residents [now] drive [about 50 miles] to Waterford Lakes in east Orlando or to Viera in Central Brevard County for their shopping.” She adds, “This retail center will directly benefit local residents and dramatically reduce their driving time.”

Rose says Duke did the deal at this time because “Titusville is prime for retail development.” She says the area is “an under-served [retail] market” that has “a great trade area and [high} incomes.” Rose calls the $307,692-per-acre price for the 26 acres “fair market value.”

Morris-Webster tells GlobeSt.com Titusville is “a healthy market, with little or no retail competition, giving retailers a captive audience with more than 100,000 residents in the linear trade area.”

Morris says the only retailers within a 10-mile radius are an older Kmart, Winn-Dixie supermarket and a Publix grocery. Lowe’s is the newest merchant in the area with a store across from the Duke property, facing Interstate 95 and State Road 50, the broker says. Home Depot also has an estimated 12.5 acres under contract near the Lowe’s site but Colliers Arnold does not have that listing, Morris says. The retailer is handling that deal itself.

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