Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MalibuFox boutique opens on University Parkway

MalibuFox is now open at 5275 University Parkway.
CHARLES SCHELLE/Bradenton Herald
A women's fashion boutique whose clothes were featured in Neiman Marcus is now open on University Parkway.
Danielle Garrow, fashion designer and owner, opened MalibuFox on Monday inside the University Park Center/Market at University Town Center. The store is across from Kohl's at 5275 University Parkway, Suite 103.

"It feels good, like a sigh of relief," Garrow said inside her shop Tuesday. "Now it's finally here."

I talked to the Lakewood Ranch resident in April when she signed her lease about her passion for fashion:

Garrow's eclectic collection is inspired by Southwest Native American themes and colors and a Malibu beach vibe, she said.
"I kind of design for the Bohemian beach babe kind-of-girl," she said. That style led her to luxury department store Neiman Marcus, which ordered her line last year, a surprising deal so early in her career. The experience opened her eyes to big department store demands.
"Working with big stores is an amazing opportunity and a lot of work goes into it," Garrow said. "It's something I'm definitely not ruling out."
A grand opening celebration is set for Aug. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the store. It will include food, giveaways and Garrow will unveil her own line of clothes.

In the meantime, she's carrying brands such as WildFox, BB Dakota, Lovers+Friends, Yumi Kim and LA Made.
The store hours are initially 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and once her staff is solidified, she expects to be open until 7 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.

For more, call 941-312-2439 or visit www.malibufoxshop.com and Facebook.com/MalibuFox.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mall at University Town Center Macy's Now Hiring

Macy's, one of the anchor stores at the new Mall at University Town Center,
is now hiring. FILE PHOTO

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/07/03/5238146/hm-other-stores-begin-hiring-for.html#storylink=cpy
The Macy's inside the Mall at University Town Center is now hiring,in preparation for the mall's Oct. 16 opening.

The first batch of jobs posted over the weekend include 22 positions. More are expected to be posted soon.

Macy's anticipates having a career fair for hiring, likely making an announcement in the coming weeks.

To apply at Macy's, visit macysjobs.com/featuredstores/University-Town-Center.

Positions posted so far include evening stockers, retail commission associates, an on-call retail support associate, team leads and jobs in jewelry, bedding, women's shoes, cosmetics and loss prevention.

H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and other stores are hiring as well, the Herald previously reported. A sample of  those job openings can be found on Bradenton.com. CareerSource Suncoast, the region's jobs agency, is also working on a Web page to act as a one-stop place to find available jobs at the mall. About 2,000 full- and part-time jobs are expected to be created from the mall.

The 880,000-square-foot mall includes anchors Dillard's, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue plus Apple, Crate & Barrel along with more than 100 restaurants and stores.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wall Street Journal takes notice of Mall at University Town Center

The Mall at University Town Center
Courtesy of Manatee County Government Information Outreach
The Wall Street Journal is starting to take notice of the impending opening of the  Mall at University Town Center.

That national media outlets would swoop in to do big pieces on the mall's role in America and using the Mall at UTC for a prop for a story, was bound to happen, even though the local construction doesn't represent a national mall rebound trend.

Robbie Whelan from the WSJ on the mall madness and where Taubman plays into all of this:

That was a common event from the 1980s through the early 2000s when mall construction boomed. But new mall development has slowed to a trickle in recent years, falling from more than 25 million square feet of gross leasable space added in 2001 to less than four million each year starting in 2010, according to Green Street Advisors. Only eight new malls have been built in the U.S. since 2008, Green Street says.

Taubman, a real-estate investment trust based in Michigan, has been an exception to the rule. The company currently has three domestic projects under way in Sarasota, Hawaii and Puerto Rico — with a combined cost of $905 million to the company — as well as two malls planned for China and one for South Korea, with a combined cost of $560 million.

Taubman is building because it believes its projects are located in markets that are underserved by retail, and because of the mall owner's track record of attracting high-quality tenants. Sarasota, for example, will "fill the void between Tampa and Naples" for upscale, destination retail, the company said. The mall's retail space was 90% committed months before the opening, Taubman said.
I visited the topic of malls in the national spotlight in a column in March when CBS "Sunday Morning" talked about how no new indoor malls have been built since 2006, but they overlooked both the Mall at UTC and Taubman's Salt Lake City Creek Center that opened in 2012, which was partially indoors. Basically, outlets kept repeating a line about mall construction from a 2009 WSJ article and never bothered to check to see if it was still true years later that no new malls opened or were under construction since 2006.

As Whelan notes above, Green Street Advisors say eight new malls have been built since 2008, but I can't verify the specificity of that item. That probably includes outdoor malls/outlets as well. The International Council of Shopping Centers provided data on indoor mall openings to me in March citing only one in Arkansas and Salt Lake City as indoor malls that opened since 2006.

The WSJ story also revisits Taubman's deal of it selling off seven malls.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Layout of Mall at University Town Center gives sneak peek


After more than 80 percent of the tenants were revealed through building permits -- and an impending Taubman announcement on the remaining -- it's time to show what the mall layout will look like.

Below is a PDF I obtained from Sarasota County and have used as a reference for a while now of where stores will be located. Zoom in to see each unit number.

The largest tenant space left is Unit 266 on the second floor, taking up 13,127 square feet. You'll also notice that stores like H&M and Crate & Barrel are listed on both levels--yes, they are two-level stores.

Notice, also, the Apple store in Unit 162. You'll see accessory units with letters A-L. This is a combination of class roooms, break rooms, stock and repair areas used by Apple employees for the store.

The mall won't have a food court per se, as several fast food tenants are built in-line with seating inside, but a nice grouping of fast food businesses are being clustered in the main court on the first floor. A few others have strategically placed themselves beside department stores.

Below these images are numbers corresponding to the stores. Smoothie King is the only announced store that doesn't have a readily available assigned space. Again, more stores are coming if you don't see your favorite store listed below. Also, the mall will not be 100 percent full when it opens Oct. 16.

(The image has zoom tools below.)

Plan your strategy for the grand opening now.

101-Cheesecake Factory
K102-Starbucks (underneath escalator)
103-Seasons 52
104-Fast-Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs
105-Capital Grill
106- Organic Nail Salon
109-Auntie Anne’s
115-Yankee Candle
118 H&M
120-Saks Fifth Avenue
121- Express
124- Teavana
125/126 – Yo Sushi
127- The Walking Company
129 – Godiva
131 – Brighton
132- Swarovski
133- Vera Bradley
134 – Johnston & Murphy
139 – Moleskine
143 – The Art of Shaving
146 – Janie & Jack
147 – Soma
148- Everything But Water
149- Papyrus
149A – Lenscrafters
150 – Rise Pies
150A – Mandarin Express
154-Z Gallerie
158-Crate & Barrel
160-See Eyewear
162- Apple Store
164-Tommy Bahama
166-Victoria’s Secret
170-Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
171-Kay Jewelers
173-Kona Grill
174-Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar
181-Bath and Body Works
187-American Eagle Outfitters
190-BRIO Tuscan Grille
191-Things Remembered
192-Camicissima Milano
193-Pac Sun

215-Forever 21
219-Edward Beiner
225-Michael Kors
228-Brooks Brothers
229-Stuart Weitzman
231-White House | Black Market
237-kate spade
239-Calypso St. Barth
240-Mayors Jewelers
242-Boston Proper
244-Lilly Pulitzer
250-Oil & Vinegar
253-Williams Sonoma
256-Pottery Barn
257-Crate & Barrel
271-J. Crew
274-Robert Graham
275-Lululemon Athletica
281-Ann Taylor
283-Banana Republic
287-Soap Stories
290-Clarks Shoes
299-StoneCold Creamery

Announced not yet listed:

Smoothie King

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sean Murphy sells Eat Here in Sarasota to World of Beer

Sean Murphy. File Photo
Accomplished chef Sean Murphy, owner of the Beach Bistro and Eat Here in Holmes Beach, has sold his downtown Sarasota Eat Here location to World of Beer.

Eat Here, which also has a location on Siesta Key, offers affordable cuisine and drinks compared to Beach Bistro's fine dining. The Sarasota location at 1800 Main Street recently upgraded its rooftop bar to include a spiral staircase outdoors.

Murphy announced the deal on Eat Here's Facebook page Monday morning:

A big thank you to all our patrons at our Sarasota downtown location over the past few years. We're pleased to announce that World of Beer made us a compelling offer, and will be the new operators at this site on Main St. They will be an exciting new addition to downtown Sarasota. Our other Eat Here locations on Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key will continue serving great chef-crafted cookery.
Murphy later sent out a news release explaining the changes:
"World of Beer contacted us with an unsolicited but very compelling offer to buy out our lease. The offer was attractive enough we could not refuse it. They are significantly extending the term of the lease and will be an excellent fit for the location.” 
"The Eat Here family's smaller restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key will continue offering chef-focused, chef-crafted, coastal cookery at their island locations." 
"The World of Beer will do very well at the fountain and urban park location at Links and Main. There is a momentous excitement brewing in the neighborhood now with the opening of McCurdy's comedy store. The World of Beer will be a great addition to a refreshed entertainment district." 
Sean Murphy explained the change to World of Beer as a perfect fit for the location. 
"Eat Here is about great food, first and foremost. Our personal service style and chef-crafted menu creations are better suited to a smaller space. Most of the senior Eat Here staff will be offered positions at our other restaurants. Their presence will strengthen our performance on the two islands. We have been offered promising smaller premises in St Pete and Tampa.” 
"I am pleased that we have a great tenant for the Kauffman family. Dr Kauffman is a true gentlemen. He has always treated us graciously and generously. I will miss him. He loves our blue tomato soup. I have promised him that every month I will bring him a quart."

Dean Lambert, one of the managing partners of the World of Beer on University Parkway is excited about the new location.
“ It will be an excellent showcase for our extensive offerings of craft beer and our new food menu. World of Beer will be opening on Main in the early fall.”
The World of Beer location will be operated by managing partner Dean Lambert, who oversees both the University Park World of Beer location and a new one at 497 Cortez Road in Bradenton that is expected to open during the third quarter. Restaurants in Sarasota Facebook page was the first to report that the Eat Here would be sold to World of Beer, back on June 9, citing anonymous industry sources. Lambert teased about the Sarasota Main Street location with a banner during the Lucky Dog Craft Beer Expo at McKechnie Field in May.

The release goes on to say that World of Beer will also co-sponsor Beach Bistro's Culinary Winter Carnival in January 2015, adding beer craftsmen to the mix of winemakers, chef bartenders and best chefs of the south.

World of Beer got its start in Tampa's Westchase neighborhood. Scott Zepp and Matt LaFon started the concept in 2007, and the company's first franchise opened at 8217 Tourist Center Drive in University Park. The 50th location opened in Brandon last year. The company will see about 20 locations open this year throughout the country.

The bar carries more than 500 craft beers, has its own smartphone app and offers a loyalty program. It started serving food at select locations. The Bradenton one will be among those that feature "tavern fare."

During a media tour I participated in for Eat Here and Beach Bistro in 2012, Murphy said then that he wasn't sure what he was going to do with the upstairs area, but it was included with the deal, when he took over the space and he was intent on marking it work.

Merchants on the eastern end of Main Street in Sarasota have been trying to get more foot traffic there to help businesses. Across the street, Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill opened earlier this month after Half Shell Oyster House moved last year to University Park and rebranded as Half Shell Seafood House, in part because of the low foot traffic.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Taubman banking big on Mall at UTC after selling 7 malls

Taubman Centers, the operator of the Mall at University Town Center, is betting on some big business for its Sarasota County mall to help offset income lost after it unloaded seven malls to Starwood Capital Group.

Taubman, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., announced Wednesday a $1.4 billion deal to sell seven malls to Starwood, targeted for a fourth quarter 2014 closing.

The malls are:
  • MacArthur Center (Norfolk, Va.) 
  • Stony Point Fashion Park (Richmond, Va.) 
  • Northlake Mall (Charlotte, N.C.) 
  • The Mall at Wellington Green (Wellington, Fla.) 
  • The Shops at Willow Bend (Plano, Tex.) 
  • The Mall at Partridge Creek (Clinton Township, Mich.) 
  • Fairlane Town Center (Dearborn, Mich.) 
In an investors relations presentation, Taubman showed that the company figures that the three properties coming online in the next two years -- Mall at University Town Center in University Park, Mall of San Juan and International Market Place in Waikiki -- will "nearly replace" the net operating income loss from all seven of the sold malls.

Taubman's presentation went on to show that after the sale, all of its properties will be in areas with larger tenant sales per square foot, higher rents, better educated, wealthier and in more densely populated areas.

One of the largest demographic jumps Taubman will see with its new portfoliois a 17.4 percent increase in average households earning $200,000 and up within a 30-minute drive. That increase goes from 51,440 before the sale and 60,386 after the sale.

That should be no surprise to close watchers of this mall which is attracting high-end tenants and fashion anchors like Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue,  Apple and boutiques Michael Kors, Omega and Calypso St. Barth.

Taubman reported that its portfolio will be stronger for having 80 percent of its department stores as high-demand fashion anchors as opposed to 67 percent before. Taubman includes Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue in that category, representing 35 of its 44 department stores at its properties. Dillard's, which is coming to the Mall at UTC, would not fall into that category.

The Mall at UTC, which is a 50-50 partnership with Benderson Development Co., is expected to open Oct. 16.

Monday, June 16, 2014

H&M opening in Mall at University Town Center could be worth dancing for

H&M employees hype the crowd at the grand opening of H&M, Thursday at

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/06/12/3695912/hm-opens-at-bellis-fair-mall.html#storylink=cpy
When thinking about the opening day of the Mall at University Town Center, scenarios of people rushing the doors and honking car horns fill my head along with the pomp and circumstance of the ribbon cutting.

And while the mall will have opening festivities, I haven't given any thought about whether any individual stores will have their own grand opening party.

Then I saw this video below from our sister publication The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald of an H&M grand opening. H&M will be one of the 100-plus stores coming to the Mall at UTC, and will be on both levels of the mall.

Check out how the Swedish clothing store pumps up its shoppers at the Bellis Fair Mall when it opened Thursday:

That's quite a crowd for one new store in a 26-year-old mall. It's fun to see how a store with such a following can get people energized to empty empty their wallets while some stores open without a mob.

The Mall at UTC have a grand opening celebration in the works  for Oct. 16  while tickets are being sold for an Oct. 15 exclusive preview. I've reached out to Kim Dominguez, who is the mall's newly hired marketing director to find out whether stores will be allowed to have their own opening party or if everything is going to be rolled into one big party. When she responds I'll add the details here later.

The Bellingham Herald detailed how dedicated people were for showing up:
Claudia Braam, 19, showed up at 4 a.m. and was the first of 400 people in the store when doors opened at noon Thursday, June 12. The first 100 shoppers in line got scratch gift cards worth $10 to $300. Braam's reward: $300.
Braam, who lives in Bellingham, said she loves all the high-quality clothes and cheap prices but was most excited for the summer dresses.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/06/12/3695002/big-crowd-on-hand-as-hm-store.html#storylink=cpy
I clicked through the Bellingham Herald's photogallery to see the crowd and the reality of 400 people showing up for a single store sunk in. The Mall at UTC will have more than 100 stores, big and small. Some shoppers will be drawn to the excitement of the mall while others will come just for the special deals. To me, the opening is going to be like Black Friday on crack with people nudging their way past one another for something on the shelf.

Let's estimate -- based on the anticipation for the mall and the 400 people who showed up for H&M opening --  the Mall at UTC could have 30,000 people show up the first day for the 100 stores and restaurants.

Car traffic is one thing to be worried about, sure, even though trolleys are planned for the shopping centers. But all the bodies inside that mall?

I'm not sure if there will be room to dance in front of H&M.