University Town Center Mall Draws Powerhouse Retailers


The Mall at University Town Center (UTC) looks living up to its pre-inaugural billing as a “dominant fashion shopping destination” in Southwest Florida just a few months prior to its October opening this year.

Since the start of 2014, this two-story shopping center has been assembling not only a powerhouse cast of tenants within its 880,000-square-foot of retail space. A $315-million project of Taubman Centers and Benderson Development, it has also catalyzed the establishment of other commercial and business enterprises around the University Parkway corridor which is the fulcrum for many residential communities in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Upscale fashion shops set

University Town Center Mall Draws Powerhouse Retailers

A boutique of upscale fashion designer Michael Kors has came in this May as one of the latest additions to the already impressive lineup of luxury retailers set to open at the UTC Mall. American Eagle Outfitters, J. Crew, Vera Bradley, Brighton, and Edward Benier have all been earlier reported as having committed to set up shop at the University Parkway commercial hub.

Previously, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard’s, and Macy’s have been named as the anchor establishments of the Mall at UTC which as a total of 115 retail spaces. Five of the six sit-down restaurants moving in to the mall have likewise been identified. These are the Brio Tuscan Grille, Seasons 52, Kona Grill, Cheesecake Factory, and The Capital Grille. Smoothie King, known in the U.S., Korea, Singapore, and Cayman Islands, for its nutritional lifestyle center and smoothie bar, is also setting up a location at the mall.

Commercial corridor’s growth revs up

Activity is shifting to high gear too across University Parkway from the mall. This summer, Panera Bread is opening a 4,000-square-foot outlet in the locality. Already open is the new building of Florida Blue Health Insurance and that of the Fidelity Investment banks.

In addition, commercial establishments are mushrooming around the University Parkway which already teems with business establishments and retail outlets. One is The District, Benderson’s shopping center which houses national retail giants, Best Buy, Target, Sports Authority, and Old Navy. Also in the UTC mall’s immediate vicinity is the 8,000-square-foot furniture store of Ethan Allen which is set to open even ahead of the shopping complex.

At the mall itself, two national home furnishing retailers are opening shops of their own. One of these two is the Los Angeles Based Z Gallerie and the other is Crate Barrel, both known for their upscale selection of furniture, house wares, and home accessories. This pair, plus the Ethan Allen store, should be a delight for homemakers in nearby households like those in nearby Lakewood Ranch and Longwood Run only a short distance west of the UTC mall.

Boon for nearby residences

Given these developments at the UTC commercial hub, available properties at Longwood Run have recently emerged among the most sought after Sarasota homes for sale.