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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

DAVENPORT, FL-Consumer electronics and appliance retailer HHGregg Inc. is advancing its plans for expansion throughout Florida by leasing 282,126 sf of industrial space at Interstate 4 and US 27, between the Orlando and Tampa markets. Duke Realty Corp. signed the company to a long-term lease at Park 27 Distribution Center II here.

HHGregg, which has 91 stores in nine states and broke the $1-billion sales barrier in 2007, plans to open several stores within the Sunshine State after establishing its first two locations in Jacksonville and Daytona Beach. Future locations are planned in the Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee markets, according to a company spokesman.

Park 27 II, at 220 Deen Still Road, totals 396,740 sf and achieves 71% occupancy with HHGregg’s lease signing. The park’s first phase of development, totaling 423,200 sf, opened in 2003 and is occupied by Ford Motor Co. as an automotive parts distribution center.

Doug Irmscher, senior vice president for Duke Realty’s Central Florida operations in Orlando, tells GlobeSt.com that the latest lease signing at Park 27 reflects Davenport’s emergence as a premier distribution hub for the entire state. “We’ve now seen almost 900,000 sf of new leases at this interchange within the past 12 months,” he says.

At its Park 27 site, HHGregg has some familiar competition nearby. Last summer, Best Buy Inc. moved into 269,000 sf at AMB Palmetto Distribution Center, also at I-4 and US 27.

HHGregg and Duke Realty are both based in Indianapolis, IN, and the Davenport lease marks their second major deal in the last six months, having signed for 108,000 sf at Woodlake Center in Raleigh, NC, in December 2007. In that same month HHGregg also signed for 71,760 sf at First Coast Distribution Center in St. Augustine, FL, with Graham & Co./Corfac International.

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