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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

RIVERVIEW, FL-Tampa-based RMC Property Group is moving ahead with the 135,000-sf second phase of Summerfield Crossings shopping center here. It believes the center’s location and surrounding population base will make the new space attractive to prospective tenants, going against the grain of most retail developments across the country.

Anchored by an 80,000-sf Beall’s Department Store, Phase II of Summerfield Crossings is scheduled to open next spring at an estimated development cost of $18 million. RMC, which has more than 80 shopping centers totaling eight million sf statewide, is building the center in a joint venture with Electra LLC and Kearney Construction Co., also based in Tampa.

Totaling 70 acres at the northeast corner of US 301 and Big Bend Road in Riverview, Summerfield Crossings has 70,000 sf in its initial phase, anchored by a Publix supermarket, plus a 120,000-sf medical office complex now under development. The second phase has a 25,000-sf junior anchor retail space available, along with several outparcels for freestanding retail and restaurant structures.

“The first phase has been a fantastic success,” RMC CEO Mitchell Rice tells GlobeSt.com. “We have been fully leased from the start and the center has performed beautifully.”

Rice predicts the second phase will do as well, given that Riverview has more than 20,000 new residences in six different developments. “This area is already under-stored,” he says.

Another advantage for Summerfield Crossings is that its site is fully entitled and has satisfied its concurrency issues, putting it well ahead of other proposed retail developments in southeast Hillsborough County, Rice says. No infrastructure improvements are needed beyond a current widening project that will expand US 301 from two to six lanes, he adds.

East Hillsborough County is the Tampa Bay area’s third-largest retail market, with an inventory of 8.4 million sf, according to data provided by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Midyear occupancy remained at 92%, with average rents just under $16 per sf.

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