Are changes afoot in plans for Dr. Phillips development?

For quite awhile now, it has looked as though Ruth's Chris Steakhouse would occupy one of the prime positions at Unicorp National Development Inc.'s Winter Park Lakeside development.

That all may have changed, however.

Earlier this week, the director of the project said he is "reconsidering" giving Ruth's Chris a lakefront spot in the development. That location, of course, is some of the most desired commercial real estate in the entire development.

The director would not say why he is reconsidering, or what sort of tenant he envisions occupying the slot. It also is not 100 percent clear how far along negotiations between Unicorp and Ruth's Chris proceeded.

For developers, it is crucial to find the right mix of tenants for their locations. Shoppers will only come, of course, if there is an appealing blend of stores, restaurants and attractions that they genuinely want to visit.

For their part, all retailers have to determine if they want to have a presence in a given city, neighborhood or development. While access to customers is good, of course, companies have to be careful not to overstretch themselves, or to build up presences in undesirable markets,

If you are exploring possible new locations, it might be a good idea to connect with an attorney who deals with commercial real estate matters sooner rather than later. It can be difficult to forecast when issues arise, and knowing to whom you can turn in the event that they do come up can be very helpful.

Source: The Orlando Business Journal, "Unicorp's Whittall 'reconsidering' Ruth's Chris deal for Winter Park Lakeside," Anjali Fluker, May 7, 2013