EAST COUNTY — As the Mall at University Town Center takes shape, officials from Benderson Development Co. have revamped plans for the property adjacent to the project.
Benderson recently submitted plans to add an additional 600,000 square feet of retail and 100,000 square feet of office space at the 276-acre University Town Center project (also called the Sarasota Interstate Park of Commerce).
“We’re proposing the additional development on a portion of the 276-acre property which lies between the mall and I-75,” said Todd Mathes, director of development for Benderson. “We are seeing very strong demand for space right now among retailers who would be new to the area. The bottom line is that there are very few remaining vacancies within our shopping centers along University Parkway, and there is significant residential growth being planned within just a few miles of these centers.”
Sarasota County planning staff is reviewing the application. Once it is deemed complete, the formal review period begins, and staff will provide conditions and stipulations for the project and complete a report. Then, public hearings would be scheduled, said Adriana Trujillo-Villa, of Sarasota County’s Planning and Development Services department.
The Sarasota County Commission will consider four elements at public hearings: the development of regional impact application; a comprehensive plan amendment; a rezone petition; and a special exception request.
Mathes said Benderson has been working on the plan and discussing it with project neighbors for about one year. It formally submitted the project for review last month.
Residential growth in the University Parkway area is outpacing retail growth, so Benderson would like to start construction early next year, Mathes said.
“Over the next six months, as we work through the county’s process, we’ll keep moving on the construction of new retail and office buildings along Cattlemen Road, with the construction of our first hotel at UTC and the final construction of the mall,” Mathes said. “As that work winds down, we’d like to be starting the final phase of UTC in order to keep the momentum up and to maintain the construction jobs that we created with the mall.”
Plans submitted by Benderson also include updates to the overall site plan.
Homes previously planned for southeast of the mall, just north of the lake at Nathan Benderson Park, have been relocated to a parcel at the southwest corner of Cattlemen and DeSoto roads.
“We haven’t settled on a type of product,” Mathes said. “There’s plenty of time (to decide).”
Residential development likely would occur after the final phases of retail begin, he said.
Plans for a Homewood Suites have been filed adjacent to that location, as well.
The updated site plan also depicts structures for office, hotel and residential space, as well as a potential movie theater, just north of the lake.
“We’re not ready to release any tenant details in terms of retail, office and movie theater,” Mathes said. “In terms of hotels, Benderson owns and operates inside the Marriott and Hilton flags. We’re planning a blend of boutique and extended-stay options to complement the area.”
Mathes said on the western edge of the property in the SuperTarget plaza, Benderson also has submitted a request to start construction on a retail building immediately south of Sports Authority. Benderson would begin work on pads for three additional buildings there, as well.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].