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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL-Locally based Kitson & Partners has secured $750 million in equity from partner Evergreen Real Estate Partners. The Chicago-based investor had worked with Kitson on developments in the past and will provide the financial backing to acquire retail and residential projects throughout the state.

Kitson owns 11 shopping centers statewide and is developing over 25,000 residential units, 19,500 of which are located on the Babcock Ranch Community in Southwest Florida. The ongoing project is working to create an environmentally sensitive community with six million sf of commercial space on 17,870 acres.

“We want to take a lot of what we learned there and do that with other communities,” Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson & Partners, tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re looking for the opportunity not only to take land and develop it, but to buy property that is potentially distressed. Also, based on growing our retail business, we’re looking to buy grocery anchored shopping centers and some power centers.” The company plans to target property and land in areas along the Gulf coast from Naples to Tampa, the Orlando metropolitan area and the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville to Miami.

Kitson says now is the best time to expand its residential business, even in a distressed market: “When you purchase a property, there is entitlement work that needs to be done and that takes time. We’re very bullish on Florida. Once we get through the downturn and we start to absorb some of the excess supply, this market will stabilize and then eventually turn.” The company is already negotiating several deals, and hopes to make an announcement within the next six months, he adds.

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