Vanderbilt Commons retail center is targeted to open this fall on Vanderbilt Beach Road west of Collier Boulevard.

Tim Aten

Rapidly taking shape on Vanderbilt Beach Road west of Collier Boulevard, the first phase of Vanderbilt Commons retail center is targeted to open this fall.

The first of two retail strips recently went vertical in front of the freestanding Midgard Self Storage business that opened in May at 7205 Vanderbilt Way. The first nearly 35,000-square-foot building will have 17 units, although don’t expect that many businesses there.

“We are talking to several people who probably will take two units,” said George A. Vukobratovich, the project’s property manager and a leasing agent for Welsh Companies Florida.

Each of the two buildings planned is expected to host at least three restaurants and many other businesses, such as Modern Nail Bar and CPR Cell Phone Repair, which have already signed on.

“I think it’s going to create a new focal point for the Estates for services and restaurants. It will become a new destination for services that people had to drive a lot farther for,” said Jordan Poppa of Naples-based Poppa Construction Inc.

Poppa is building the retail center as well as handling the buildout for most of the individual units. After underground and infrastructure work was completed in late spring and early summer, the site is showing progress now.

“You’ll see significant changes in the building. We are going vertical now,” Poppa said. “By the end of July, you’ll see a substantial structure there.”

If tropical weather doesn’t dampen construction plans, expect businesses to start opening there in October.

“We’re looking toward the end of the third quarter. Some time in the September-October range is when that first building will be completed,” Poppa said. “Obviously, we hope we won’t have any hurricane or all-day rains that we had at the start of June.”

Restaurants will anchor each end of the first building. Cirella’s Italian Bistro & Sushi Bar will open its second regional location on the western end, while Five Guys Burgers & Fries is relocating its store at Livingston and Pine Ridge roads to the eastern end.

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