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WMG Development and Cameratta Companies broke ground Tuesday on a 48,000-square-foot Publix that will anchor The Shoppes at Verdana Village shopping center at the corner of Verdana Village Boulevard and Corkscrew Road in Estero. 

“Having Publix, the first-class operator and the dominant grocer in Florida that everyone knows, you know what you’re going to get and you know the experience,” said Craig Kopko, senior vice president of development for WMG. “With the way Corkscrew and these communities are designed, this will be where everybody shops. You’ll run into your neighbors here, you’ll see folks that you go to church or school with. It makes it a true community.” 

The shopping center will encompass more than 78,000 square feet, featuring local, regional and national brands. With Publix being the focus of the shopping center, a certain tier of small shop tenants is expected, according to Kopko. Other shops are expected to include dining, beauty, banking and medical services.  

“We’re going to make a big push to make sure we’ve got the right groups that will come out here, given its location and how many folks live here and are moving into this area,” Kopko said, adding there already has been strong interest in the shopping center. 

The architecture of the shopping center will mirror the Verdana Village residential community, including landscaping throughout the project to blend with the overall aesthetic of the community. “We want to be seamlessly integrated with Verdana Village and the neighborhoods around so they know it’s theirs,” Kopko said. “It’s their project.” 

Publix will provide services to Verdana Village and surrounding neighborhoods, many of which are also projects by Cameratta Companies.

“That will be very important to the success of this area and fulfilling our plan of building a community that delivers everything at your fingertips in close proximity to your homes,” said Nick Cameratta, chief operating officer for Cameratta Companies.  

The nearest grocery and retail shops are on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway off Corkscrew Road, about 9 miles away from Verdana Village. 

“It’ll definitely reduce the amount of traffic,” Cameratta said. “By having this center, we’re going to have our internal capture of traffic stay in the surrounding area.” 

Verdana Village itself is expected to have amenities that likely will keep residents from leaving the community, Cameratta said. Amenities include a full-service restaurant and bar, a craft lounge with 50 beers on tap, a pool, and indoor tennis, pickleball and basketball. 

Cameratta Companies also is anticipating its new development, the Kingston project, recently approved by Lee County commissioners, also benefiting from the new shopping center.  

“We believe in delivering world-class experiences,” Kopko said. “Yes, we put our blood, sweat, tears and dollars into it, but ultimately, it’s their project. They’re going to be here the longest and they’re going to use it the most. We’re making sure that it’s first class from start to finish.” 

The Publix store is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2023. 

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