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NAPLES, FL-Boca Raton-based Woolbright Development marks its entry into the Naples/Fort Myers market with plans for the 253,000-sf Collection at Vanderbilt, an upscale shopping center on a 30-acre parcel at the intersection of Vanderbilt Beach and Airport Pulling roads. The 30-acre parcel has seen plans for three different shopping centers dissolve over the past five years, Michael Fimiani, Woolbright SVP, tells GlobeSt.com.

In mid-January, Woolbright will close on its agreement to pay Owensboro, KY-based David Hocker & Associates $1 million an acre for the land and pick up the gauntlet. This will be Woolbright’s first ground-up development, although Fimiani says, “our principals, individually, have all been involved in development in addition to handling Woolbright’s shopping center redevelopments.” Since 1999, the company has redeveloped more than 7.5 million sf of retail space in Florida

Phase I of Collection at Vanderbilt, a 120,000-sf component of the center, will break ground at the close of the land sale and be ready for occupancy in late 2006. Construction is taking place in two phases so Woolbright can begin immediately. “We were able to modify the plan that was in place to fit our vision,” Fimiani says, “and are now working out the details for the second phase,” which he projects will be completed in summer 2007.

A 19,700-sf Fresh Market will anchor the opening phase. Other tenants are a mix of upscale national and local retailers, according to Fimiani. Among them are Starbucks, Zazou, Salad Creations, Pauli Moto’s Asian Bistro and Strapazza Italian Restaurant. “We have letters of intent out for another 40,000 sf,” he says and expects to open “nearly 100% leased.”

The rental rate “for small-shop space is $40 per sf,” he tells GlobeSt.com. As for the construction cost, “we’re working on budgets now. It will be expensive, because costs keep rising,” he says without providing an overall estimate.

The architecture is Mediterranean revival-style in an open-plan layout. Phase I will be a single building. Configuration of the second phase is not yet determined. “There may be outparcels,” Fimiani says. The location abuts the City’s affluent areas, including Greg Norman’s Tiburon golf community and two Ritz-Carlton resorts.

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