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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

SARASOTA, FL-The Taubman Co. has joined two other developers on the upscale University Town Center retail project here, adding to its existing Florida portfolio. The 900,000-sf, two-level regional shopping center is scheduled to open in late 2010 as part of a 276-acre mixed-use development.

Taubman, based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, will work with Southfield, MI-based The Forbes Co. and Sarasota-based Benderson Development Co. on the project, to be anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Macy’s. The center also promises a mix of retailers that haven’t always been readily available to Sarasota’s high-income residents and visitors.

“It’s a great market that currently has a void in higher-end, better fashions,” John Eggert, Taubman’s development director, tells GlobeSt.com. Shoppers seeking such fare now travel to two other nearby upscale shopping centers, International Plaza in Tampa and Waterside Shops in Naples, he says.

Taubman and Forbes previously partnered on Waterside Shops as well as the Mall at Millenia in Orlando. Taubman’s other regional malls statewide include the Mall at Wellington Green in Palm Beach County and Dolphin Mall in Miami.

Forbes and Benderson have been working together on University Town Center since early last year. Additional components to the expanse at Interstate 75 and University Parkway are expected to include hotels, premium office space and residences.

Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. unveiled plans for its new University Town Center location during the International Council of Shopping Centers RECon annual convention in Las Vegas last week. The company expects to break ground on the 150,000-sf store next fall.

“Sarasota is a very important market for us,” Julie Greiner, chairman and CEO of Macy’s Florida, stated in a release. “We are looking forward to making our selections of fashion and affordable luxury available in this new location, and we are pleased to be a part of this exciting new shopping and dining destination.”

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