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Belk, Sears prepare to open next summer

The Coastal Way Shopping Center is one of several new business ventures planned at Cortez and Mariner boulevards in the coming months.

Next year, kids will be selecting back-to-school clothes at Belk and Sears _ in Hernando County.

At least that's the hope of the two department store companies. Construction crews already are busy leveling ground and putting in utilities for the Coastal Way Shopping Center at the northeast corner of Cortez and Mariner boulevards.

Last week, Belk Lindsey filed building plans with the county for its 57,750-square-foot store at the shopping center. Sears, Roebuck & Co. officials had to revise their plans and are expected to file them in the next two weeks, according to building department staffers.

Sears hopes to be open by August, said Richard Michael, executive director of the Economic Development Commission. Michael talked to Sears' site planners last week. Belk also hopes to open by August.

The shopping center will be built on 31 acres and is being developed by Development Option Inc. of Tennessee. It will have the two anchor stores and nine smaller stores, which will range from 1,071 square feet up to 5,250 square feet, according to the developer's building plans. Five outparcels are planned for the south side of the property.

The outparcels already have garnered much interest, according to Buddy Selph of Tommie Dawson Realty in Brooksville. Selph not only owned the property sold to the Tennessee developers, he also brokered the deal.

"There are several interested parties on those outparcels out front," said Selph, who is helping the developers with local inquiries. "We're very active in the marketing of that property."

The intersection of Cortez and Mariner boulevards will be the site of a number of new business ventures in the coming months.

The county's second Beef O'Brady's franchise will open soon in Mariner Square. Across the street in Western Way Plaza, work is progressing on the conversion of the space previously occupied by Bealls department store into a movie complex. Theatre Management Theatres Inc. of DeLand plans to open a 10-screen theater with stadium seating this winter.

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