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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

WINTER SPRINGS, FL- Given the current state of the economy, you would think the president of a third-party retail leasing and property management firm might be worried about the state of commercial real estate. Not John M. Crossman, president of Central Florida-based Crossman & Co., who tells GlobeSt.com: “We’re on pace to having the biggest year ever as far as leases signed.”

Crossman leases a portfolio of over five million square feet in Central Florida, including retail property at The Villages, the nation’s largest single-site mixed-use development spanning over 26,000 acres in three adjoining counties. The company has signed over 20 small shop leases there alone, says Crossman, along with another 25 leases at various projects in Orlando. The company also manages over 2.4 million sf of retail and office buildings.

Crossman & Co. plans to continue its leasing success at Winter Springs Town Center, where it has been selected to lease and manage the 141,000-sf project that is currently 90% leased with asking rents around $28 per sf. Construction on the development is still under way and will total 215,580 sf when it is complete sometime next year, Crossman says. Calls to the developer, James Doran Company, were not returned for further details about the buildout.

Located at the northwest corner of State Road 434 and Tuskawilla Road in the northeast sector of Orlando, the Winter Springs Town Center is also slated to include 45,000 sf of office space and 41 upscale condominiums. The project is at the epicenter of a 400-acre master planned community, including current tenants Publix, Barnie’s, Great Clips, H&R Block, State Farm, Subway and the UPS Store.

“We’re doing very well, and I think a lot of the market is still doing well, especially when you focus on properties with good fundamentals,” Crossman tells GlobeSt.com. “The residential bust did not hit all areas of retail, and the reason why is that there was not a lot of spec retail done. When the market was strong a lot of people got into retail who didn’t know much about it; those are the projects having issues.

“For us, we’re conservative in how we structure our deals and who we lease to,” he adds. “From my perspective I haven’t seen, as of yet, a reason to think that there’s a problem as far as getting deals done.”

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