Southwest Florida is one of the regions leading the nation in economic recovery, and the planned University Town Center is another sign of this positive trend. Located near the border separating Manatee and Sarasota Counties, this mega-mall project is similar to other planned developments in Florida that cropped up at the end of the 20th century and abruptly stopped around 2005. According to a recent article by Josh Salman in the Bradenton Herald, University Town Center is scheduled to break ground on October 16th, 2012.
University Town Center will consist of a two-story indoor shopping and commercial center that will primarily attract upscale tenants like Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Dillard’s in addition to more than 200,000 square feet of space for business offices and at least six restaurants. The project’s main attraction, however, will be the 750 residential units and the string of amenities to include: a large lake for rowing, a fishing pier, boathouses, walking and jogging trails, green areas, and more.
This is a $315 million project that should be ready to begin occupancy in about 12 to 13 months. More than 1,000 construction jobs will be created, followed by 2,000 retail and administrative positions. This is the first part of the project; developers and investors have been in the planning stages since the early 1990s, but waited out the effects of the dot-com and housing bubbles. At one point 1,750 residential units were planned, but the goal now is to act conservatively and watch how the new units are received, as well as the reactions by the area residents.
University Town Center is part of a new trend in residential development similar to the “suburban downtown” areas of places like Reston in Virginia and Naperville in Illinois. These are suburbs with modern town centers that resemble traditional downtown areas where residents can walk to find options in terms of shopping, business, health, education, fitness, entertainment, culture, worship, etc.
Americans are literally voting with their feet when it comes to moving to the cities from the suburbs, and many young people in the U.S. are foregoing car ownership and driving altogether. Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods like University Town Center, Lakewood Ranch, and Abacoa in Jupiter are examples of future residential development in Florida.
University Park Country Club, Riva Trace, Lakewood Ranch, Palm Aire & Mote Ranch are just a few existing neighborhoods that are in proximity to University Town Center. I also sell Real Estate in all of Sarasota & Manatee County so feel free to contact me today.