In Florida, instead of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?," they have a different query: "Which comes first, the people or the jobs?" Regardless of the answer, the Sunshine State is experiencing an influx of both as the booming economy keeps retailers from the Atlantic surf to the snow-white sands of the Gulf Coast in an expansion mode.

As evidence to the growth, the state's population increased by 300,000 in 1997, bringing the total to more than 14.7 million, according to the Florida Depart-ment of Labor and Employment Security, in Tallahassee.

"Florida's population is growing at a rate that is twice the national average," adds Lynn Reaser, chief economist with NationsBank's Private Client Group, in Jacksonville.

While the number of jobs isn't increasing at quite that pace, its 3.8 percent growth is almost half-again that of the national average of 2.6 percent. In addition, Reaser points out, four of the state's largest cities - Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach - are surpassing the state average in job growth.

The bulk of new jobs are the result of the establishment and growth of corporate back-office facilities, such as data processing, customer service and claims operations. "This business services sector alone has added 72,000 jobs to the state within the past year," explains Reaser, who says that manufacturing, warehousing and transportation systems are making significant contributions to the state's job totals.

It's easy to see what tourists like about Florida, but what is it that draws corporations? The No. 1 appeal, Reaser says, is that the cost of doing business in the state is lower than in other areas. The state also offers relatively affordable housing and a quality of life that attracts employees.

Furthermore, Florida's geographic location makes it an ideal corporate site for companies that do business in South America and Europe, where economies are doing well. And it has limited exposure to Asian business interests, which are currently depressed.

Along with population increases, job growth and business expansion, the fourth leg under the state's economic boom is - and probably always will be - tourism. The state hosted almost 47 million visitors in 1997, reports the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corp. And, with the opening of such high-profile attractions as Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando and the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, along with relatively stable gas prices, those numbers should continue to rise.

This good economic news is not wasted on the ears of retailers and developers, who are busy calculating shopping needs and racing to fill them.

"The entire state is experiencing a great deal of retail development," says Dale E. Scott, vice president of Maitland, Fla.-based Keene Construction Co. Scott maintains that, while Keene is a regional firm capable of operating throughout the Southeast, in-state demand is generating almost all of the firm's $100-million-a-year business volume.

"We are currently working on 20 projects, and almost all of them are in Florida," he says.

Apparently, business is booming for everyone. Tampa-based Colliers Arnold real estate firm has closed more deals in the first six months of 1998 than in any previous year, says John Mounce, a leasing associate in the firm's Fort Myers office.

In addition to the rising population and numbers of tourists, the Florida market has several additional advantages that set it apart from other areas. It has snowbirds, part-time residents spending winters there; pre-retirees, who are building or planning future retirement homes there; and a growing number of foreign shoppers, particularly those from Latin America, who fly in for a better selection of retail goods.

"These additional market factors make Florida a prime location for national chains," says Reaser.

Scott notes that Florida centers are always highly sought after by retailers at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas. "Some-times it's all talk," he says, "but this year, the meetings were very serious."

Southeast Florida During the past year, the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) experienced a combined population increase of about 70,000. That brings the area's total population to more than 4.5 million, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The most recent income figures show that West Palm Beach-Palm Beach County retained the state's top spot in per capita income at $38,081, while Broward County-Fort Lauderdale ($27,129) and Dade County-Miami ($22,370) remained near the top.

NationsBank reports that employment growth has been strong in West Palm Beach (4.8 percent annual growth as of May 1998) and in Fort Lauderdale (3.5 percent annual growth as of May 1998), well above the national average of 2.6 percent. However, Miami lags with just 1.7 percent annual growth for the same period.

Bob Shapiro, chief operating office with Miami-based LEFMARK, says much of the retail growth is, and will continue to be, focused on the upgrading of in-fill locations to accomodate national retailers that need established locations.

Stephen H. Bittel, president of Miami-based Terranova Corp., says the most active retailers in the market have been Walgreens and Eckerd Drug Store, which continue their struggle for freestanding store sites. But he expects AutoZone, Hollywood Video and Old Navy Clothing Co. to be very active as well.

Publix and Winn-Dixie have a battle going for the grocery market share. Albertson's is another player, though on a smaller scale, and Whole Foods has also entered the market.

Bittel adds that new entrants in the home improvement category include The Home Depot's Expo Design Center, Wholesale Wall-paper and Restoration Hardware. In other segments, Bally's Total Fitness is seeking locations to compete with L.A. Fitness, which expects to have 14 south Florida locations by the end of the year. Movie theater development is on the rise as well, with Regal Cinema and AMC Theatres the fastest growing chains, he says.

Bittel points out that HomePlace has filed for bankruptcy, and that Woolworth has exited the market, closing all of its south Florida stores,.

The mergers of T.J. Maxx with Marshalls, and CompUSA with Computer City have left some vacant space, although most of it is being absorbed by expanding chains. Still, says Shapiro, "Developers cringe every time we hear the word 'merger,' because it means fewer potential players to make deals with."

In Dade County, population growth and fewer development sites have combined to make the county one of the most under-stored markets in the country, says Bittel. The ratio of retail square footage per person is 12:1, compared with 19:1 nationally, 21:1 in Broward County and 22:1 in Palm Beach County.

The lack of sites is expected to make vertical projects more popular. Bittel says three vertical retail centers, totaling 1.2 million sq. ft., have been proposed in the Kendall area around Dadeland Mall, a project of Indianapolis-based Simon DeBartolo Group. He expects that only two of the three will actually be developed.

Nearby, the big news is Simon DeBartolo's The Shops at Sunset Place, a 510,000 sq. ft. specialty center scheduled to open in October. The center features AMC Theatres, IMAX, NIKE Town, Virgin Megastore and Barnes & Noble.

Just north of the Kendall area, the West Flagler submarket is the location of the only new regional mall project in Dade. The 1.3 million sq. ft. Dolphin Mall is scheduled to break ground this year with Burlington Coat Factory, Oshman's SuperSports USA and Regal Cinema among its anchors.

Terranova reports that Dade County's total amount of retail inventory rose slightly, while its vacancy rate rose from 6.95 percent in 1997 to 7.48 percent during the first quarter of 1998. Rents in the county average $13.61 per square foot, down slightly from last year's rates.

Up the coast, both Broward and Palm Beach counties have more land for development and should increasingly become the focus of developers.

In Broward County, almost every submarket saw its vacancy rate decline substantially. Rents were less consistent, rising in some markets and dropping in others. Currently, they range from a high of $14.35 per square foot in the Hollywood/Hallandale submarket, to a low of $8.69 per square foot in the Lauderdale Lakes area.

In Palm Beach County, the vacancy rate had declined to around 13 percent, according to Terranova's latest report on the area, compiled last fall. The average asking rent for the period was $12.29 per square foot. "The market remains tight, withhigh occupancy in all three counties," says Bittel.

Southwest Florida Home to more than 3.5 million people, the state's southwest coast comprises five MSAs: Naples, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton, Punta Gorda, and Fort Myers-Cape Coral. All of the southwest Florida counties have experienced increases in per capita income, with Sarasota County ($35,062), Collier County (Naples, $34,830) and Pinellas County (St. Petersburg, $27,311) leading the way.

Employment growth has been very strong in Sarasota, which has enjoyed an 8.8 percent annual growth rate as of May of this year, while Tampa has seen a 4.6 percent increase in jobs. Fort Myers, however, has experienced less growth, with only a 2.1 percent increase.

In Tampa, the overall retail vacancy rate for investment-grade property was approximately 8 percent, down from 12 percent four years ago, reports The Sterling Cos., Palm Beach. The vacancy rate for non-anchor space in the market dropped to 20 percent from 32 percent in 1994.

"Rents are now beginning to feel upward pressure," says Jim Dunphy, a longtime leasing agent in the market and current president of Coastal States Realty, Tampa. "In-line space is renting for $12 to $14 a square foot and even as high as $18 to $22 a square foot in some of the more upscale markets such as Brandon and New Tampa."

The northern suburbs are the most active for retail development. The biggest project is Citrus Park Towne Center in north Tampa, a development of Urban Shopping Centers Inc., Chicago. Scheduled for a 1999 opening, the 1.2 million sq. ft. center will be anchored by Dillard's, Burdines, JCPenney and Sears.

Big-box tenants, such as Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Borders, Barnes & Noble and The Home Depot, have all opened locations and are seeking additional sites, Dunphy says, adding that OfficeMax, Staples and Office Depot are considering sites in southwest Florida. Rumors persist that Costco may re-enter the Tampa market, he says.

As in many parts of the state, grocery-anchor ed centers form the majority of new projects in southwest Florida. Publix is the market leader, with Winn-Dixie close behind and Albertson's building more stores. Many of these locations will service the tremendous residential growth taking place in the Brandon, North Tampa and New Tampa areas on the city's northside, says Dunphy.

Another player could heat up the grocery market. Food Lion acquired Kash N' Karry earlier this year and is expected to revitalize the chain by opening 25 to 30 new stores in Orlando, Tampa and along the southwest coast, says Frank Herring, managing partner of Faison Orlando.

Further south, in the Fort Myers and Naples markets, new jobs have been created because of back-office facilities opened by General Electric, Sony and Carnival Cruise Lines, to name a few. "This is leading to about a 9 percent annual increase in population in the area," Mounce says.

The area's growth also has been spurred by the recent upgrade of Fort Myers' airport to international status and the opening of Florida Gulf Coast University, which held its first classes last fall.

However, retail development is still being hindered by retailers' unwillingness to locate beyond traditional commercial areas. Mounce says: "The retailers' mind set is 'If I'm not on U.S. 41 or the East-West Corridor, I have to pass on the market.'"

Locations in these areas are becoming scarce, and this is increasing land prices. A two-acre site in Naples costs $20 per sq. ft., he says, while a similar site in Fort Myers costs $13 to $15 per sq. ft.

In Lee County (Fort Myers), Toys 'R' Us, Michaels and Just For Feet are anchoring a new power center project, while T.J. Maxx and Old Navy Clothing Co. have also entered the market.

Opportunities for new retail sites have been created with construction of a new bridge across the Caloosahatchee River from Cape Coral on the western bank to Fort Myers. The bridge empties traffic into the heart of Fort Myers and better connects Cape Coral with Interstate 75, which may increase developer interest in those sites, Mounce says.

North Central Florida This area of the state, which includes the Orlando, Jackson-ville, Gainesville, Ocala and Lakeland MSAs, supports a population of more than 3.4 million. Per capita income for the region ranges from $29,345 in St. Johns County, south of Jacksonville, to $16,714 in Osceola County, south of Orlando.

Orlando is one of the leaders in employment growth, posting a 4.9 percent annual increase as of May, with Jacksonville also experiencing strong growth at 4.2 percent, reports NationsBank.

Retail vacancy remains around 9 percent in Orlando, and retail rents are expected to rise another 5 percent this year as the tourist market adds upward pressure to the market, says Faison's "Florida Forecast '98."

Development is already well ahead of last year's pace. Last year, the amount of retail delivered dropped 68 percent to 755,168 sq. ft. This year, 2.2 million sq. ft. is expected to be delivered from a total of 3.3 million sq. ft. currently under development.

Orlando is a battleground for several of the state's retail wars. The Home Depot continues to upgrade its 126,000 sq. ft. concepts, while Lowe's does its best to locate its 125,000 sq. ft. stores directly across the street whenever possible. This includes three locations already planned or under construction. These home improvement chains are spurring more power center development across the state.

"I think the market is big enough for both chains, and they should split the market. But Scotty's, True Value and Ace Hardware may run into trouble," says Faison Orlando's Herring.

Faison also predicts Wal-Mart Super Center locations will increase in the state's rural markets this year.

Sports Authority is expanding in the market by taking over closed big-box locations, reports Herring. He adds that Walgreens and Eckerd Drug Store are competing for market share with a host of freestanding locations.

This year, both Winn-Dixie and Publix are expected to open four stores in the Orlando area, while Food Lion is expected to open more Kash N' Karry locations in central Florida. Albertson's will open one location, reports Faison.

On the department-store front, Herring says, both Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom are looking at the International Drive corridor for a store site.

To the northeast, in Jackson-ville, retail vacancy rose to 15.9 percent in April, due in part to the bankruptcy filing of local chain Pick-N-Save, reports Faison.

"The merger of Dillard's and Gayfers will lead to more vacancy in the market as well," adds Reaser of NationsBank.

But part of the vacancy problem may be uninspiring retail space.

Faison's "Florida Forecast '98" states, "Of the 3.7 million sq. ft. available in Jacksonville, 58 percent is located on the westside and the northside in older projects requiring major re-development and investment." Currently, three centers totaling 750,000 sq. ft. are being renovated in the market.

"A large portion of our work is de-malling, changing centers to a different retail type," says Scott of Keene construction. "Many of these centers are well located, but the demographics have changed and competition from other malls has made them obsolete."

Home improvement and grocery chains aren't waiting on new developments to expand. Lowe's opened two freestanding stores in Jacksonville last year and The Home Depot will add at least two new stores in 1998, reports Faison.

In the grocery sector, Harris Teeter entered the market with two 50,000 sq. ft. stores last year, one each in the suburbs of Mandarin and Ponte Vedra. As in Orlando, Publix and Winn-Dixie are adding four new stores, while Albertson's is adding one location.

Panhandle The Florida Panhandle in-cludes the Tallahassee, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola MSAs. These areas gained a total of only 27,000 new residents last year for a total of 986,000. Such slow growth keeps this area the "forgotten part of the state," says Reaser.

According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, per capita incomes for the area range from highs of $22,300 in Leon County (Tallahassee) and $21,218 in Okaloosa (Fort Walton Beach) to a low of $14,762 in Gadsden County, northwest of Tallahassee on the Georgia state line.

NationsBank reports that Pensacola's annual employment growth was 3.1 percent as of May of this year, while Tallahassee's growth was just 1.9 percent.

Still, growth is consistent, due in large part to state and federal government jobs. In Tallahassee, the state government and Florida State University are the major employers, while four military bases drive the economy in the western part of the panhandle.

In the past, big-box retail growth has often depended on freestanding sites, since developers have a hard time finding enough big-box tenants to fill a power center. Retail vacancy among big boxes has continued to move down and now sits at around 15 percent, says Neil Jones, vice president with Seltzer Management, Panama City. Strip center rents are around $10 per sq. ft. triple net, he adds.

Wal-Mart continues to expand its Super Center concept, having opened locations in Gulf Breeze, outside of Pensacola, and in Fort Walton Beach, says Jones. The Home Depot has entered the Panhandle market with freestanding stores in Panama City and Fort Walton Beach, near current Lowe's locations.

Other retailers are also expanding market by market, with T.J. Maxx opening in Panama City, OfficeMax opening in Fort Walton Beach, and PetsMart opening in Pensacola, Jones says.

Initiating a major move in the western Panhandle, Walgreens has new two new stores in Panama City, two in Fort Walton Beach and three in Pensacola. As a result of the area's growth, some stores that had not previously been west of Tallahassee have moved into the panhandle.

In the grocery market, Publix, which too had not ventured west of Tallahassee, has announced a new store in Destin, between Fort Walton Beach and Panama City. This area, south Walton and Bay counties, is experiencing a boom in upper-end housing that is expected to intensify, says Jones. However, Winn-Dixie has opened three new stores in the Panhandle in the past two years, further solidifying its hold on the market.

In Tallahassee, Target, Wal-Mart Super Center, Circuit City, Barnes & Noble and AMC Theaters have recently entered the market. The city's proximity to Interstate 10 and construction of new road systems could create many more retail opportunities in this market. Leon County added 10,000 new residents last year, and realtors expect the local retail market to grow quickly in the next decade.

* Birmingham, Ala.-based AIG Baker Shopping Center Properties LLC is building four new shopping centers:

- Providence Center, a 138,262 sq. ft. neighborhood strip center in Brandon, will have grocery and book anchors when it opens in August 1999.

- Towne Center Plaza, an 82,710 sq. ft. regional strip center in Sanford, will be anchored by The Sports Authority and Books-A-Million when it opens in fall 1998.

- Mitchell Ranch Station, a 589,044 sq. ft. regional strip center in New Port Richey, will have large discounter, theater, grocery and book anchors when it opens in spring 2000.

- Seven Springs Station, a 227,873 sq. ft. neighborhood strip center in New Port Richey, will have grocery and book anchors when it opens in spring 2000.

* The Palladium Co., New York, is developing Palladium at CityPlace in West Palm Beach. The 550,000 sq. ft. entertainment-enhanced retail center is one component of CityPlace, a 72- acre community. Palladium at CityPlace will feature streetfront specialty retailers, restaurants and General Cinema/Sundance theater. Completion is slated for fall 2000.

* The Lutgert Cos., Naples, Fla., is building The Promenade, a 115,000 sq. ft. mixed-use project in Bonita Springs. The Medit-erranean-styled specialty center will feature theme restaurants, shops and office space. Completion of Phase I is set for December 1998.

* Maitland, Fla.-based Kensington Gardens Builders Corp. begins construction on Casselberry Exchange in Casselberry in September. Kash N' Karry and Eckerd Drug Store will anchor the 150,000 sq. ft. strip center. Completion is set for April 1999. Maitland-based Morbitzer Group Inc. will manage the center.

* Moreland Hills, Ohio-based Developers Diversified is building Oviedo Park Crossing in Oviedo. The 214,000 sq. ft. power center, designed by Orlando-based Cuhaci & Peterson, Architects Inc., will be anchored by Factory Card Outlet, Michaels, Ross Dress for Less and OfficeMax when it opens in spring 1999.

Developers Diversified is renovating and expanding Brandon Kmart center in Brandon. The 183,000 sq. ft. power center will add 30,500 sq. ft. of retail space when the renovation is completed in first quarter 1999.

The company is also redeveloping Palafox Square in Pensacola. The 339,225 sq. ft. power center will gain 17,550 sq. ft. of retail space in fourth quarter 1998 and a 203,742 sq. ft. Wal-Mart Super Center in 1999.

* Tampa, Fla.-based RMC Realty Cos. Ltd. is handling the renovation of Grove Park, a 150,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Lakeland. The center, which is managed by RMC, will receive a new facade, parking lot improvements and other upgrades. Publix, Beall's Outlet, Eckerd Drug Store and Payless ShoeSource anchor the center. Completion is set for November 1998.

* A joint venture between Aventura, Fla.-based Turnberry Associates and Indianapolis-based Simon DeBartolo Group Inc. is expanding Aventura Mall in Aventura to almost double its size. Once completed, the 2.3 million sq. ft. mall will feature Macy's, new Bloomingdale's and Burdines, expanded Lord & Taylor, JCPenney and Sears, and a three-level entertainment center featuring AMC Theatres. Openings are ongoing with the last scheduled for summer 1999.

* Charlotte, N.C.-based Faison is building five new centers:

- Halifax Plantation Village, a 49,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Ormond, will be anchored by Publix when it opens in March 1999.

- Hunters Creek Plaza, a 69,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Orlando, will be anchored by Winn-Dixie when it opens next month.

- Jupiter Farms Shopping Center, an 88,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Jupiter, will be anchored by Publix when it opens this month.

- Westland Terrace, a 250,000 sq. ft. power center in a 77-acre mixed-use retail/multifamily project in Orlando, is expected to open in October 1999.

- South Lakeland Village Plaza, a 185,000 sq. ft. community center in Lakeland, will be anchored by The Home Depot when it opens in October 1999.

* Indianapolis, Ind.-based Simon DeBartolo Group is renovating/expanding five shopping centers:

- Palm Beach Mall, a 1.2 million sq. ft. superregional mall in West Palm Beach, will add a Dillard's department store to its anchors. The mall, which is anchored by Burdines, JCPenney, Lord & Taylor and Sears, will get a major remodel, while JCPenney and Burdines will be renovated. Completion is set for August 1999.

- The Florida Mall, a 1.12 million sq. ft. superregional mall in Orlando, will add Burdines and 190,000 sq. ft. of specialty shops and restaurants. The food court and mall, which is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard's, JCPenney, Sears and Gayfers, will be renovated, and Dillard's and JCPenney will be expanded. The estimated date of completion is November 1999.

- Gulf View Square, an 810,000 sq. ft. superregional mall in Port Richey, will add a new food court, Boater's World and Old Navy Clothing Co. The mall, anchored by Burdines, Dillard's, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward and Sears, will undergo a renovation to be completed in March 1999. The food court will be completed in November 1998.

- Port Charlotte Town Center, a 716,000 sq. ft. regional mall in Port Charlotte, will add Regal Cinemas. The estimated date of completion is May 1999. The mall is anchored by Burdines, Dillard's, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward and Sears.

- Tyrone Square, a 1.1 million sq. ft. superregional mall in St. Petersburg, will undergo a renovation and the addition of Borders Books. The mall is anchored by Burdines, Dillard's, JCPenney and Sears. The estimated date of completion is March 1999.

In addition, Simon DeBartolo is building The Shops at Sunset Place in Miami. The 510,000 sq. ft. specialty center will be anchored by AMC Theatres, Barnes & Noble, FAO Schwarz, IMAX, GameWorks, Nike Town, Virgin Megastores and Z Gallerie. Completion is set for October 1998.

* New York-based Garrick-Aug Associates is leasing Oceanwalk, a project owned by New York-based Ocean Walk LLC, in Hollywood Beach. The 175,000 sq. ft. dining-shopping-entertainment center will be anchored by AMC Theatres. The center, located on the beach at the base of the Hollywood Beach Resort Hotel, is scheduled to open in 1999.

* Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Gumberg Asset Management Corp. is redeveloping and renovating the 35-year-old Coral Ridge Mall in Fort Lauderdale. The 454,273 sq. ft. mall will add a Target and a yet-to-be-named national tenant to its roster of anchors, which includes Marshalls, Publix, AMC Theatres, Old Navy Clothing Co. and T.J. Maxx. The additions and renovations will be completed in late 1999.

* Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL & Associates Properties has several projects under way in Florida:

- Lakeshore Mall, a 601,111 sq. ft. regional mall in Sebring, is being expanded. A 92,356 sq. ft. Sears store will join current anchors Kmart, JCPenney, Belk and Beall's. Completion is set for July 1999.

- Girvin Plaza, a 79,942 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Jacksonville, is also being expanded. The center will add 23,645 sq. ft., which includes the expansion of anchor Winn-Dixie. Completion is set for summer 1998.

- A freestanding, 83,000 sq. ft. Regal Cinemas is being built in Jacksonville. The estimated date of completion for the 22-screen theater is July 1999.

* Clearwater, Fla.-based Bruce Strumpf Inc. is renovating/expanding five shopping centers:

- Bayshore Plaza Shopping Center, a 77,373 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Fort Myers, will be renovated, with anchor Lynx/PPG/Service Center be- ing expanded by 18,000 sq. ft. The estimated date of completion is September 1998.

- Clayton Plaza, a 161,355 sq. ft. community center in Brandon, will undergo a renovation of anchor space. The anchors include Eckerd Drug Store, Upton's, Dollar General and Frayne Fashions. Completion is set for December 1999.

- Gulf To Bay Plaza, a 105,914 sq. ft. community center in Clearwater, completed a renovation and expansion of its anchors, Publix and Eckerd Drug Store, in July.

- Holiday Mall, a 144,896 sq. ft. community center in Holiday, will undergo a renovation and expansion. The center is anchored by Sav-A-Lot, Amscot Corp., H&R Block and Pac 'N Send. Completion is set for December 1999.

- Palmetto Village, a 63,859 sq. ft. neighborhood center in Palmetto, will undergo a renovation. The center is anchored by AutoZone, Family Dollar Store, Winn-Dixie and H&R Block. Completion is slated for December 1999.

* West Hartford, Conn.-based Devcon Enterprises Inc. is building The Marketplace at Port St. Lucie in Port St. Lucie. The 155,559 sq. ft. neighborhood grocery and power center is being built in two phases, the first of which, with Winn-Dixie as anchor, is already open. The 72,196 sq. ft. second phase will be built as it is leased. Completion is slated for late 1999.

* Miami-based Courtelis Co. is building three new centers:

- Magnolia Shoppes, a 200,000 sq. ft. center in Coral Springs, is being completed in two phases. Phase I, with tenants such as Albertson's and Regal Cinemas, has been completed. Construction on Phase II began in July.

- Bonita Town Center, a 175,000 sq. ft. specialty center in Bonita Springs, will be anchored by a movie theater with stadium seating when it opens in late 1999.

- The plans for Floridian Town Center, a 310,000 sq. ft. specialty center in Naples, incorporate Mediterranean design elements into the center's village-like, multi-textured streetscape. Completion is set for late 1999.

* Winter Park, Fla.-based Colonial Properties is redeveloping Northdale Court, a 192,726 sq. ft. community center in Tampa. The center, which is anchored by T.J. Maxx, Beall's, Cobb Theatres and Jo-Ann Fabrics, will undergo renovation, including some demolition, and a name change. The estimated date of completion is first quarter 1999.

Also, Colonial Properties is renovating Crossroads at Northlake in Palm Beach Gardens. The 141,101 sq. ft. community shopping center, which is anchored by Albertson's, will receive an updated look. The tenant mix will also be modified. Completion is set for spring 1999.

* Alexandria, Va.-based Lord Associates and The Oliver Group, Destin, Fla., are developing Main Street Florida in Jacksonville. The 1.2 million sq. ft., open-air value retail and entertainment superregional center is anchored by Muvico Theaters, Jeepers, Sockeye's Beach & Sport, Group USA, Books-A-Million, Bed Bath & Beyond and Burlington Coat Factory. The center is set to open in summer 1999.

* The Sembler Co., St. Petersburg, Fla., is building five new developments:

- Deltona Landing Shopping Center, a 58,965 sq. ft. center in Deltona, will be anchored by Publix when it opens in spring 1999.

- Southchase Plaza, a 77,985 sq. ft. center in Orlando, will be anchored by Albertson's and a proposed 107,000 sq. ft. home improvement store when it opens in spring 1999.

- Deltona Crossings, a 58,800 sq. ft. center in Deltona, will be anchored by Publix when it opens in spring 1999.

- BayWalk, an open-air, 135,000 sq. ft. entertainment/retail center in St. Petersburg, will be anchored by Muvico Theaters when it opens in fall 1999.

- In a joint venture with Columbus, Ohio-based Steiner + Associates, Sembler is building Centro Ybor in Tampa. The 200,000 sq. ft. entertainment retail center is located in Tampa's cigar district, Ybor City. The open-air center will be integrated with existing historic buildings, including El Centro Espanol, a Spanish community landmark, on two city blocks. Completion is set for fall 1999.

* Orlando, Fla.-based Cuhaci & Peterson, Architects Inc. has designed BuenaVentura Lakes Shopping Center in Kissimmee. The center is owned by Alta-monte Springs-based BuenaVentura Lakes Shopping Center Ltd. and is being developed by The Quest Co., also of Altamonte Springs. The 23,628 sq. ft. neighborhood center will be tenanted by BVL Medical, Chang's Chinese Restaurant and Fantastic Sams. The center, which is being rebuilt after being leveled by tornadoes, will be completed this winter.

* Tampa, Fla.-based Hogan Burt is building Channelside at Garrison Seaport on the waterfront adjacent to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. The 230,000 sq. ft. urban entertainment center will feature shopping, dining and entertainment, including Regal Cinemas, IMAX, Charley's Crab, Max's Grille, Aztec World Cafe and Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. Completion is set for November 1999.

* The Tampa, Fla., office of Euro American Management Inc., The Hague, The Neth-erlands, is renovating and expanding Argyle Village, a neighborhood power center in Jacksonville. The 304,000 sq. ft. center, built in 1984, will receive a complete reno- vation and a 51,000 sq. ft. Publix. The center is anchored by Jo-Ann ETC., Service Merchandise and Upton's Outlet. Completion is scheduled for December 1998.

* Washington, D.C.-based Grosvenor International (Atlantic) Ltd. is renovating WestShore Plaza in Tampa. The 869,000 sq. ft. center, which is managed by The Wilder Cos., Boston, is undergoing its sixth renovation/expansion in 30 years. Phase II, which includes a 100,000 sq. ft. Saks Fifth Avenue, will be completed in November. Phase III, which includes shops and restaurants, AMC Theatres and a food court, will be completed in spring 2000. The mall is anchored by Burdines, Dillard's and JCPenney.

* The Rouse Co., Columbia, Md., is developing The Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables. The 800,000 sq. ft. project will combine retail, restaurant, entertainment, hotel, residential and office uses. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus will anchor the development, set to open in spring 2001.

* Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. will continue the renovation and expansion of Regency Square in Jacksonville. The company acquired the 1.4 million sq. ft. mall when it purchased the retail portfolio of Dallas-based MEPC American Properties. Phase I, which includes exterior signage, lighting and landscaping, was completed in spring 1997. Phase II, which includes an AMC Theatre expansion, an expanded food court, an expanded Gayfers and a new look for JCPenney, will be completed in fall 1999.

* The LEFMARK Group, Miami, has several neighborhood center projects under development:

- Homestead Shopping Center, an 88,534 sq. ft. center in Homestead, will be anchored by Walgreens, Albertson's and Hollywood Video when it opens in fall 1998.

- Northridge Shopping Center, a 256,132 sq. ft. center in Oakland Park, is being rebuilt, renovated and expanded by 250,000 sq. ft. The center is currently anchored by Target, Publix and Walgreens and will gain a Bally's Total Fitness. Completion is slated for summer 1999.

- Palm-Aire Marketplace, a 160,000 sq. ft. center in Pompano Beach, is being renovated. The center is anchored by Winn-Dixie. Completion is set for August 1998.

- Springsgate Village Shop-ping Center, a 400,000 sq. ft. center in Coral Springs, is be- ing renovated. The center is anchored by Regal Cinema. A completion date has not been announced.

- Kendall Corners, a 100,000 sq. ft. center in Kendall, is being renovated. The center will be anchored by Whole Foods and International House of Pancakes. Construction will begin in fall 1998.

- The rebuilding and renovation of Walgreens Tamarac, a 16,380 sq. ft. store in Tamarac, will begin in fall 1998.

- North Miami Beach Restaurant Village, a 16,380 sq. ft. center tenanted by six restaurants, will undergo a rebuilding and renovation. Macaroni Grill, On the Border, Hops, and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits will anchor the center. Construction will begin in fall 1998.

* North Miami, Fla.-based Ireland Cos. is building NorthPort MarketPlace, a three-level, 85,000 sq. ft. retail/entertainment center in Fort Lauderdale. Planet Hollywood, Stiletto's Italian Restaurant, Johnny Atomic'sNeutron Lounge, World Mardi Gras and It's New York will anchor the center. Completion is set for December 1998.

* Memphis, Tenn.-based Belz Enterprises is building Festival Bay, a 1 million sq. ft. lifestyle retail complex. The Orlando center will be tenanted by Bass Pro Shops - Outdoor World, Cinemark and Ron Jon's. The center is scheduled to open in early 2000.

* Montreal-based Miromar Development is building Miromar Outlets near Naples. The Mediterranean village-styled outlet center is being developed in three phases. Phase I comprises 198,865 sq. ft. of space and is presently under construction. Phase I is scheduled to open in October 1998. Phases II and III are scheduled to open in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

* The Michael Swerdlow Cos., Hollywood, Fla., is building Dolphin Mall, a 1.6 million sq. ft. theme park and entertainment center in Miami. The center will be anchored by Marshalls, Off 5th - Saks Fifth Avenue, Ross Dress for Less, Burlington Coat Factory, Linens 'n Things, Last Call - Neiman Marcus, Osh-man's SuperSports USA, Regal Cinemas and Group USA. The center's theme-park area includes a log flume and roller coaster among its attractions. Completion is set for fall 1999.