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East County Wednesday, May. 5, 2010 7 years ago

Benderson: Business boom evidence of rebound

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

SARASOTA COUNTY — East County business owner Barbara Diederich is testimony that economic change is on the horizon — at least along University Parkway, where Benderson Development has been working to secure new tenants.

Her home décor store and gift shop, The Hidden Gate, is the only business remaining from the days when The Shoppes at University Center used to be an outlet mall.

And since Benderson purchased the plaza several years ago, it has transformed its look with plantings and other renovations and also lured in eateries such as Lee Roy Selmon’s, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Pei Wei Asian Diner.

“For us, it’s been fabulous,” said Diederich. “It’s kind of like (Benderson)’s been paving the way to revitalize the whole area. Not only are people coming into the restaurants, but for the first time they’re coming in to our store and saying, ‘Oh, wow. I didn’t know you were here.’”

Mark Chait, director of Florida leasing for Benderson, said the company is working to add more restaurants, which promote foot traffic, as well as more retailers.

In the last six months, Benderson’s plazas along University Parkway have seen the opening of nearly 20 storefronts, including six eateries and retailers such as Dollar Tree and Max-Wellness. But, Chait said, leasing activity since the beginning of the year has been even stronger with an even greater increase in activity seen in the last two months.

“Most retailers are feeling the economy is rebounding,” he said.

Benderson has seen plenty of interest from both start-up and more established businesses, but it’s also starting to see national and regional chains jump back into the market. Benderson recently announced Stein Mart would be filling a 30,000-square-foot space in University Town Center, near the Super Target, and pet supplier Petco will open in a 15,000-square-foot space in the same plaza this summer.

Chait said Benderson is working on about a dozen more deals, including more restaurants and retailers.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Cooper Creek Office Campus
Rogan & Associates Financial Planners (Opened April 1)
Columbia Sportswear office and showroom (Opened in February)

Shoppes at University Center
Eye Doctor’s Optical Outlet (Opened February)
Oliver R Twist’s Food & Beverage House (Opened November 2009
Pei Wei Asian Diner (Opened November 2009)
Hampton Inn (Opened November 2009)

Tourist Center Drive
World of Beer (Opened December 2009)
CaddyShanks (Opened December 2009)

University Consumer Square
Dollar Tree (Opened Jan. 31, 2010)
After Hours (Opened January 2010) (Opened September 2009)

University Park Center
Salon Centric (Opened April 12)
Jason’s Deli (Opened in February)
The Red Elephant Pizza & Grill (Opened in January)
Kumo Japanese Steakhouse (Opened December 2009)
Max-Wellness (Opened February)
Aspen Dental (Opened December 2009)

University Town Center
Chipotle Mexican Grill (Opened November 2009)

Cooper Creek Retail South
Cotton Patch Quilt Shop (Opens May/June)

Cooper Creek Office Campus
Fresenius Medical Care (Opens this summer)
ITT Educational Services (Opens in May)

Shoppes at University Center
John Dough Bakery & Café (Opens in May)

Tourist Center Drive
Kennedy Dental (Opens this summer)

University Consumer Square
Sweet Tomatoes (Opens early June)

University Park Center
Gran Habano Cigar Shop & Lounge (Opens this summer)
The Gallery Salon (Opens in May)

University Town Center
Stein Mart (Opens fall 2010)
Petco (Opens fall 2010)

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