Planned Publix prompts NY firm to buy Celebration center

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by Anjali Fluker

A foreclosed shopping center in Celebration was able to woo a new owner thanks, in part, to plans to anchor the center with a new 50,000-square-foot-plus Publix .
CLPF Water Tower Shoppes LP, an entity related to New York-based real estate investment manager Clarion Partners LLC, bought the 124,000-square-foot Water Tower Shoppes on Jan. 9 from General Electric Credit Equities Inc., Osceola County records showed.

The center, which had struggled to gain footing since its previous anchor, a 33,000-square-foot Gooding’s Supermarket, closed its doors after filing for bankruptcy in 2005. GE Capital foreclosed on the property and late last year, the lender went to the county for approval to build a new Publix in place of the vacant Gooding’s space.
That was a big driver for Clarion Partners, which sees Publix as just what the center needs, according to Marc DeLuca, a company director. “It re-gentrifies the shopping center,” he said. “It’s such a dominant grocer in the area — a destination driver and a traffic generator.”
That store could open by the fall, DeLuca said, but Publix representatives weren’t immediately available to comment.
If it does happen, it will be a boon for the existing tenants who stuck it out at the center.

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