Takeover of Westfield malls would include a dud in Sarasota

The 40-year-old Westfield Sarasota Square lost two anchor tenants this year, Macy's and Sears

Westfield Sarasota Square (Credit: TripAdvisor.com)
Westfield Sarasota Square (Credit: TripAdvisor.com)

Europe’s biggest commercial landlord would own an under-performing shopping mall in Sarasota as part of its pending acquisition of Australia-based Westfield Corp.

The $15.7 billion takeover of Westfield by Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco will saddle the European commercial landlord with Westfield Sarasota Square, a 40-year-old mall that has lost two anchor tenants this year, Macy’s in March and Sears in September.

At least a half-dozen smaller tenants have moved out of Westfield Sarasota Square since Macy’s announced its departure.

The depopulated mall faces tough competition across the street from a shopping center called Pelican Plaza, with a mix of tenants including Sprouts Farmers Market, Total Wine & More and Ulta Beauty.

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Barry Seidel, president of American Property Group of Sarasota Inc., told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that Westfield Sarasota Square has a brighter future as a residential redevelopment.

The mall occupies a 13-acre site (excluding anchor stores) in Sarasota at the corner of Beneva Road and U.S. Highway 41.

According to the Australian company’s website, Westfield’s properties in Florida include the Westfield Broward shopping mall in Plantation and malls in Brandon, Clearwater, Siesta Key and Tampa.

Westfield also has the master contract to lease and manage more than 29,000 square feet of retail space in the Central Terminal at Miami International Airport. The company also is responsible for marketing the airport-wide concession program. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune] Mike Seemuth