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Interest in Mercato is magnificent

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  • | 10:15 a.m. May 1, 2015
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The commercial real estate market must be doing something right.

The latest example: Real estate investment firm Madison Marquette signed 180 confidentiality agreements with prospective investors interested in buying the Mercato.

The Mercato, in north Naples, is a premier retail center for luxury shopping and dining. Tenants with big draws include the 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, 12-screen Silverspot Cinema, the Capital Grille restaurant, Nordstrom Rack and the Blue Martini bar.

Madison Marquette Senior Vice President Chuck Taylor told a gathering of executives about the 180 prospects at a recent real estate conference in Fort Myers. The owners of the Mercato, a group made up of Madison Marquette, Barron Collier Cos. and Lutgert Cos., have been mum on specifics. But a deal could be just weeks away, Coffee Talk hears.

Officials with the ownership group declined to discuss how many of those investors have made bids for the upscale shopping center, or what price the owners expect.

Taylor says investors are attracted by luxury centers such as Mercato that combine restaurants with entertainment. People were on their third drink at 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon on a recent visit to the center, Taylor joked with the conference audience. “I don't think anyone works down there,” he quipped.

In particular, investors seek opportunities outside top-tier cities such as Miami, where commercial real estate prices have escalated. “It's only a matter of time before it goes to ancillary markets like Southwest Florida,” Taylor says.


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