In less than 12 months, Lakewood Ranch and University Park residents will enjoy a new upscale shopping center that will host shops such as the Apple Store, Armani, Brooks Brothers, Gucci, Williams-Sonoma, and more. These are just a sampling of what The Mall at University Town Center has in store for residents of Manatee and Sarasota County.
The response to construction of the University Town Center has been better than expected. The new mall is attracting anchor retailers such as Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, and more than 700 residential units are being planned for home shoppers who will surely be attracted by amenities such as green areas, a boathouse, a fishing pier, jogging trails, and more.
Home builders are paying close attention not just to the University Town Center but also to other retailers that are planning to set up shop in this area and create a new major retail hub in Southwest Florida. These home builders are interested in attracting the more than 2,000 employees expected to work at the mall and the nearby office parks.
According to a recent article by Justine Griffin of the Herald-Tribune, even European retailers are now being attracted to Southwest Florida thanks to the attention that The Mall at the University Town Center has created. Another interesting retailer is the Canadian yoga giant Lululemon, which will be experimenting with its first location inside a Florida mall.
The Apple Store is another confirmed tenant that is experimenting in Southwest Florida. The last time the personal computing giant opened a location in the Sunshine State was in 2008, one of the worst years for the regional housing markets of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. In fact, University Town Center is one of the few malls expected to open in the United States in 2014.