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JACKSONVILLE, FL-The Sembler Co. of St. Petersburg and Plano, TX-based Granite Properties Inc. are joint venturing the development of Oakleaf Town Center. The planned 858,642-sf, open-air shopping center has broken ground at Argyle Forest Boulevard and Old Middleburg Road, near Brannan Chaffee Road.

A Sembler spokesperson declined to disclose the project’s development cost. “We don’t discuss monetary values,” she tells GlobeSt.com. However, area construction sources familiar with comparable large-size retail undertakings in Florida tell GlobeSt.com the recent price rise in materials will probably mean the center will be built for no less than $125 per sf or about a total $107 million.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. plans a SuperTarget store at the center which will probably total 215,000 sf, area retail brokers tell GlobeSt.com. The developers will also be selling off nine outparcels surrounding the center.

The project was undertaken because of the rapid residential growth and population in Metro Jacksonville, Sembler president and CEO Craig Sher says in a prepared statement. “The Oakleaf Plantation area is booming with growth and thousands of new homes are popping up every year,” Sher says. “We are filling a need for residents to shop, dine and play close to where they live.”

Sher notes Jacksonville’s population increased by more than 20% between 1990 and 2000. Chamber of Commerce sources put the estimated permanent population today at 800,000. “The target market area for Oakleaf Town Center currently includes about 120,000 people and is expected to be approximately 170,000 people in five years,” Sher adds.J.B. Coxwell Construction is the general contractor for the project which is expected to open in March 2007, Sher says.

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