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Trees coming down at Merchants Crossing
March 28, 2018

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If you've passed by Merchants Crossing Shopping Center recently, you've might have realized something; there's a pretty large shopping center there.

Nearly all the trees have been removed, which has made the shopping center more visible to commuters, allowing them to see the storefronts and the soon-to-be opened Ross's department store.

This has resulted in an increase of business and interest from potential tenants.

Patrick Murphy, of RD Management, which owns the plaza, said they are working with the county on replacing the trees, which were a mixture of live oak and mahogany trees.

"They were getting too big and they're very messy trees. They drop nuts that are very difficult to clean up and people tend to slip on them," Murphy said. "Part was a safety issue and they had grown so big that you couldn't see the shopping center."

They were also breaking the concrete along the island and were becoming very brittle.

During Hurricane Irma, many branches fell, Murphy said. All but five trees were able to stay up, although one of them fell on the access road, restricting traffic access to one of the very few places that still had power after the storm.

Murphy said when the company bought the plaza two years ago, removing the trees was part of their agenda.

"We were getting complaints from tenants that there was a lot of debris from the trees. The seeds and pods were falling on cars, the curbs were breaking, so we were talking about it when we bought the property," Murphy said.

Of the 290 trees on the property, about two-thirds of them have been removed. Murphy said they are talking with the county about how they will replace the trees.

Since the trees have come down, merchants have reported an uptick in business. It has also piqued the interest of several possible tenants who are interested in moving there.

As for the opening of Ross's, Murphy said he couldn't discuss a timeline of when the store would finally, open, as it has been an ongoing thing.

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