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PUNTA GORDA, FL-Boston-based the Wilder Cos. has acquired 200 acres where it plans to build the $250-million Loop, a mixed-use development that will contain 1.2 million sf of retail, 500 residential units, 100,000 sf of office space and a 200-room hotel.

The land is located on either side of Jones Loop Road between Interstate 75 and Route 41, the major commercial thoroughfare in Punta Gorda. The project, which will incorporate New Urbanism and smart growth principals, is being designed as a place where residents can live, work, shop and visit. The project is currently in the permitting phase with groundbreaking anticipated in late 2008 and a projected opening in fall 2009. The residential units will be a mix of sales and rentals and include townhomes, condominiums and apartments, Wilder Cos. president Tom Wilder tells GlobeSt.com.

The Main Street-style retail will feature department stores, specialty anchors, a theater component, small shops and restaurants. “Punta Gorda is an underserved and growing market,” Wilder says. “Right now, shoppers are leaving the area and going to Fort Myers or Sarasota to shop. We want to bring more higher-end and lifestyle shopping to the area.”

The project is an expansion of the Loop concept, which was originally developed by the company in Methuen, MA. The second Loop opened in summer 2005 in Orlando. Based upon its success, plans call for Loop West to open adjacent to the Orlando property in 2007. The Loop-Northborough, MA, a development consisting of retail, restaurant and office space in excess of one million sf, is planned to open in 2008.

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