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LOWER NAZARETH TOWNSHIP, PA-Recency Centers is in the process of closing two leases for a $30-million retail project it will begin building here in the spring, according to Powell Arms, Regency Centers’ VP of investments. The two leases–a 22,000-sf lease for PetSmart and a 42,000-sf lease for a sporting goods store, which Arms declined to name–will bring the 238,984-sf development to close to full occupancy, he tells GlobeSt.com.

The retail center will be located in the Lower Nazareth Commons shopping center. It will include a 133,000-sf Target next to an existing, non-Regency owned Wegmans supermarket, as Regency Centers recently revealed. The remaining available space includes two to three sit-down restaurant outparcels and two bank parcels, Arms says. “We are working on leasing those now.” There is also 20,000 sf available for small shops and retailers. Arms declined to give asking rates for the available space, citing a wide range of rates depending on the space. “We envision opening the entire center by mid-summer ’09.”

The company just closed on the acquisition of 32 acres here to build the center–the purchase costs of which are included in the $30-million overall development costs for the project. Regency Centers makes it a point not to develop on spec, Arms notes, even though the Lower Nazareth development is the company’s first ground-up project in the Lehigh Valley – an area about which it feels very bullish. Arms says bringing new retail names to the submarket is important to the project. Also, market fundamentals, such as population growth, household incomes and other retail competition, bode well for the center’s long term success.

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