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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-The local office of Madison Marquette has picked up three new leasing assignments at shopping centers belonging to Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust. They include Naples Towne Centre, Southbay Shopping Center in Osprey and Pelican Plaza in Sarasota.

The move is an indication that more retail landlords are looking to third-party property managers to handle day-to-day activities, rather than trying to do it themselves as Farmington Hills, MI-based Ramco-Gershenson has in Florida. “Everybody’s looking to pare down expenses and gain expertise,” Chuck Taylor, senior vice president of leasing with Madison Marquette’s statewide office in Fort Lauderdale, tells GlobeSt.com.

Washington, DC-based Madison Marquette now manages a dozen shopping centers throughout Florida and is negotiating with other local and national landlords to take on more retail and mixed-use property assignments, Taylor says. The firm oversees 23 million square feet of retail space nationwide.

Ramco-Gershenson is in talks lately with a number of potential retail REIT merger partners, including North Miami Beach-based Equity One Inc. It owns 25 properties in Florida, plus 35 in its home state of Michigan.

Taylor says it helps out-of-state retail owners to tap local expertise in running their Florida centers, adding that they can leverage Madison Marquette’s relationships with specific retailers. “The more assignments we can get, the larger our platform becomes within this region,” he says.

Naples Towne Centre is a 170,000-square-foot open-air center along US 41 on the city’s south side, while Pelican Plaza and Southbay Shopping Center have 100,000 square feet each within the Sarasota metropolitan area. Ramco-Gershenson previously handled leasing for all three properties internally.

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