UNIVERSITY PARK -- Manatee County's own Benderson Development Co. remains one of the most powerful holders of retail real estate in the nation, according to a recent ranking.
Benderson Development, 7978 Cooper Creek Blvd., owns 30 million square feet of gross leasable area in the nation, tied for 15th with The Cafaro Co. of Youngstown, Ohio. The ranking is published in the May/June issue of National Real Estate Investor, which compiled the numbers using an e-mail survey, company data, investor presentations and Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, which controls the Ellenton Premium Outlets, ranked first with 236.5 million square feet gross leasable area. The Taubman Co., developer of the Mall of University Town Center, ranked 19th with 25.5 million square feet.
Benderson is well known in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The developer's name is on what seems like an endless amount of retail space it controls along University Parkway with its University Town Center-branded centers there. More retail and restaurant space are in the works this year for North Cattle
men Road, said Mark Chait, Benderson director of leasing for the Southeast.
That is just part of the estimated 1 million square feet left of commercial/retail space the company can build in the University Town Center, along with 220,000 square feet of office space. Benderson will also construct a 79,158-square-foot light industrial space as part of an expansion for its SRQ Tech Park near Whitfield Avenue and U.S. 301.
Filling that space should be easier after a strong showing at the International Council of Shopping Centers Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas last week.
"This has been a very strong show. The level of interest from retailers have been the strongest in years," Chait said. "Last year was a good show. This year was even better. I think the retailers are certainly looking forward toward the growth that they need."
The company is just as busy in the Northeast near its Buffalo, N.Y., base, acquiring shopping centers and gaining approval for additional projects. In addition to owning real estate, Benderson divisions manage and construct space, including hotel and residential development.
Benderson is a 50-50 partner with Taubman Centers for the 880,000-square-foot Mall at University Town Center expected to open Oct. 16. Benderson is overseeing site work and roadwork, and Taubman is focusing on leasing and managing.
"They're savvy developers in their own right," said Tampa native John Eggert, director of development for Taubman Centers.
The two maintained a healthy dialogue during the mall's leasing to better plan each other's spaces in the University Town Center area, Eggert said.
"We're not trying to cannibalize each other's tenancies or merchandisers," he said. "When we decided to put The Capital Grille in the mall, clearly Benderson is not going to be putting a high-end steakhouse on one of their adjacent properties."
Land on the east end of the mall developed by Benderson should see activity starting in 2015, Chait said.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.