A new retail center on U.S. Hwy. 27/441 in Lady Lake is expected to open in November.
The Benchmark Group, which has been responsible for a significant swath of retail development in Lady Lake located just outside the yellow lines of The Villages, offered a sneak peak Wednesday into the planned 18.5-acre development.
The property is located between U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and County Road 25, with Fennell Boulevard serving as its western border.
Benchmark acquired the property three years ago from the Fennell family, after the death of patriarch Joseph Fennell. The land, next door, to Lady Lake Town Hall, was cleared of a significant amount of trees last February.
Benchmark’s Martin Dellebovi told Lady Lake commissioners that the land presented some engineering challenges.
“It’s a very complicated piece of land with extreme grades,” he said.
Benchmark, based in western New York, has an impeccable reputation with the town, having developed Village Crossroads and Lady Lake Crossing, which are home to retailers like Best Buy, Stein Mart and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Across the street, Benchmark brought in Sam’s Club and Texas Roadhouse.
The new development, Lady Lake Commons, will be 85,600-square feet and will include 428 parking spaces. It will include a network of sidewalks and informational signs describing the history of the area. Dellebovi said he is working with the Lady Lake Historical Society on the signs.
Benchmark intends to start site work immediately.
“We have very excited tenants who are eager to sign leases,” Dellebovi said.
Timing is key, with the upcoming removal of the bridge at U.S. Hwy. 27/441 as part of an overall reconstruction of that busy thoroughfare.
Retailers hope to get established with a client base before the bridge work begins, Dellebovi said.