Battle of Sarasota Malls Brings Delights to Residents


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, September 25th, 2015 – Envy those folks of Pelican Cove, Holiday Harbor, and Palmer Ranch. Living just a distance from some of the leading local retail hubs, these residents enjoy a ringside seat to a “battle of the malls” which ultimately redound to the benefit of consumers with more and better offerings of goods and services, in addition to priming up Sarasota homes for sale in their locality.

This heightened competition among Sarasota shopping centers has been building up since 2014 with the market entry of the 880,000-square-foot Mall at University Town Center. Only a few months after its opening, this new shopping hub northeast of downtown Sarasota and just off I-75 has already secured county approval to add another 600,00 square feet of retail space and 100,000 square feet of office space.

Pep to shopping experience

Battle of Sarasota Malls Brings Delights to Residents

To the delight of residents in south Sarasota, like those in Prestancia, Fairway Woods, Pinestone and Vintage Grand at Palmer Ranch, their neighboring Westfield Sarasota Square Mall isn’t letting its guard down. It’s doing more aside from springing such recent surprises as a scintillating flash mob dance to further excite the shopping experience in the mall.

This shopping center, which boasts of a million square feet of space, had a major renovation in late 2014 to accommodate a new 21,000 square-foot store space for H&M. This Sweden-based international apparel brand targets young men and women seeking trendy but affordable items.

Sarasota Square has also won over other new tenants like trendy clothing shops rue21 and Old Navy, in addition to mainstay big retailers Costco, JC Penny, and Macy’s. AMC, with its 12 movie theaters and an IMAX screen introduced in 2011 as one of only two in Sarasota-Manatee, is another experience and destination driver for this mall. With all these in place, Sarasota Square has continued to position itself as a mall for the middle class catering to multigenerational families.

Pelican Plaza back on stream

Benderson Development, the co-developer of the Mall at University Center, is bidding for a share of this market in south Sarasota via the Pelican Plaza, just west of Sarasota Square across U.S. 41 or Tamiami Trail. Benderson has renovated this 107,000-square-foot retail center after this developer acquired it for $4 million in 2012.

Nearly empty prior to Benderson’s acquisition, Pelican Plaza has recently attracted new tenants. As an added endearment to its adjoining neighborhoods like Pelican Cove, this retail hub is now home to a 37,000-square-foot shop of the national sporting goods chain, Sports Authority. A 20,000-square -foot store for alcoholic beverages, Total Wine & More, and a 12,500- square-foot pet supply shop, Petco, have likewise opened at Pelican Plaza.

Cassia Cay may enter the fray

Moving forward, this race among mall developers to excite the market appears heating up further. Only a short distance to the north of Sarasota Square and Pelican Plaza, a mixed-use development was proposed to the county commission this September.

Located adjacent south of Hidden Harbor Marina and the luxury Sarasota homes for sale at Holiday Harbor, this planned project is tentatively called Cassia Cay. Proposed in its 18-acre site are a 16-building commercial center and130 residential units on the property’s waterfront, which too is looming as an area where Sarasota malls are battling for market territory.