Rare new mega-mall takes root on I-75 near Sarasota
Even though new large enclosed malls appear virtually extinct, an 880,000-square-foot mall east of Sarasota will be a one-year-old in October and looks healthy.
Mall at University Town Center, built by national mall developer Taubman Centers in partnership with Sarasota-based Benderson Development Centers, has a Saks Fifth Avenue anchor store and a Tesla showroom, among other attractions.
Only three major shopping malls have been built in the United States since the economic recession of the late 2000s.
Information on the performance of the Sarasota mall is scant, but William S. Taubman, the chief operating officer of Taubman Centers, said the mall is performing well. Its tenants include Dillard’s and Macy’s department stores, Apple and Godiva shops, and a Capital Grille restaurant.
Taubman credited stock market gains more than lower gasoline prices for the Mall at University Town Center ‘s performance so far: “People don’t decide to buy a Chanel bag because the price of gas goes down four cents. It has more to do with the stock market.”
Sarasota County is spearheading an organization that is trying to develop a rowing park on a body of water adjacent to the mall.
The new mall has not hurt retail business in downtown Sarasota, where the commercial real estate vacancy rate is 5 percent, said Norman Gollub, downtown economic development coordinator of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. [New York Times] – Mike Seemuth