An 18-screen [tag]Cobb Theatres cinema[/tag] is poised to anchor an array of eight national retailers bound for the proposed Grove at Wesley Chapel mall, its developer said Monday. In February, when Grove’s developer, [tag]ECHO Real Estate Services[/tag], publicized letters of intent from a smaller list of potential tenants, its competitors were quick to dismiss the letters as nonbinding. But this time, Bill Krahe, ECHO’s managing partner, said the deals are complete and would be inked in two weeks. At a proposed 80,000 square feet, the Cobb Theaters, with headquarters in Alabama, would be the heftiest kid on a block that would include a 30,000-square-foot [tag]Bed, Bath & Beyond[/tag] store, a 44,000-square-foot [tag]Dick’s Sporting Goods[/tag], a 30,000-square-foot [tag]Best Buy[/tag] store, [tag]Michael’s[/tag] craft store, [tag]PetSmart[/tag], Ross’ Dress For Less and Ultra Cosmetics, Krahe said.
Nonbinding letters of intent typically precede binding contracts that are then subject to approval by the investors’ committees. “If these are committee-approved, then it’s 99.9 percent sure (barring unforeseen legal complications),” said Patrick Berman of Cushman & Wakefield, a Tampa real estate firm. “It sounds like a firm deal to me.” The transition from letter of intent to committee approval generally takes 90 to 120 days, again in synch with the timing in the Grove’s case, Berman said. ECHO, whose 120-acre mall hasn’t been built yet, expects to submit site plans to the county in two weeks, Krahe said. ECHO bought the site for $24-million in November. Construction is expected to begin in August, he said. ECHO is racing to launch the mall by late 2007 at its location northwest of Interstate 75 and County Road 54.
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