Leasing executive said focus will be restaurants, entertainment.
An executive for Gateway Properties said the opening in August of a future retail and entertainment complex at the northeast corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 64 will complement the shopping hub a few exits to the south at Benderson Development Corp.’s University Town Center.
Joe Morris, the senior vice president of leasing and acquisition for M&M Realty Partners, said the future Market Place at Heritage Harbour, which will be anchored by a Costco Wholesale, will have a “town center” feel, with a focus on dining, shopping and entertainment.
“We want to create something for this community and this region,” Morris said. “(University Town Center) has done a great job being timeless as they add to it. You’ll see something [at Market Place at Heritage Harbour] that’s more complementary than anything else.”
Developers are working on a new site plan for the project. Morris said the old one predates the recession that began in 2008. Many of the expected tenants that were popular at that time — stores including Toys R Us and Borders Books and Music — have gone out of business. Other planned business, such as T.J. Maxx, expanded and took over large spaces left by defunct businesses.
“The type of site plan you saw isn’t feasible in this day and age,” Morris said. “What drives business now are heavy entertainment complexes that include food and beverage, medical, health and wellness and things like that. That’s really the focus here. We are very excited. The response we’ve had has been … not overwhelming, but certainly inspiring.”
The plans were on display in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual ReCon conference in Las Vegas and included several chain restaurants. Although Morris confirmed the plaza will have an entertainment focus, he said discussions with prospective tenants are too preliminary to comment on. He confirmed there are two main entertainment options being considered, one of which would be a larger entertainment concept, such as a movie theater.
“They could work together or not,” he said of the entertainment options. “We are still evaluating.”
Morris said the plaza will have at least four sit-down restaurants and several more causal, counter-service type eateries.
“As many as possible that don’t overlap,” Morris said. “We’re very optimistic we’ll bring a strong lineup.”
Morris said Costco is the only tenant with an executed lease at this time, but M&M is looking to move forward as quickly as possible with the remainder of the project.
He said the project might feel similar to Edgewood’s Market Place at Citrus Park in Tampa or Garden State Park in New Jersey.
“We have a very exciting site,” Morris said. “There’s not a lot of large-scale development happening in the country. We’re very proud of this piece.”
The project is owned by M&M Properties, a joint venture between Edgewood Properties’ owner Jack Morris and J&P Holdings’ owner Joe Marino.
The overall project also is slated to have apartment housing.