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East County Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 5 years ago

Mall at UTC owner sues Jackie Z

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TB Mall at UTC LLC contends in its lawsuit that the clothing and accessories boutique breached its lease when it closed its store in the $315 million mall in October.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

An affiliate of Taubman Centers Inc. has sued Jackie Z Style Co. and its owner for exiting the Mall at University Town Center last fall.

TB Mall at UTC LLC contends in its lawsuit that the clothing and accessories boutique breached its lease when it closed its store in the $315 million mall in October.

TB Mall is seeking $1.52 million from the store and owner Jackie Zumba, according to the lawsuit filed last month in Sarasota Circuit Court.

Zumba maintains that she and her business were damaged.

“It’s ludicrous that they’re coming after me,” Zumba said. “I feel like they ruined my business because we don’t have a store in Sarasota anymore. I went there on the promise of more foot traffic. Everybody knows the mall is not performing the way it was supposed to. They overpromised and under delivered, and I feel they lured me in to the mall under false pretenses.” 

Local counsel for Taubman declined to comment on pending litigation.

Zumba signed a seven-year lease to move to a 1,953-square-foot store in the mall from downtown Sarasota in July 2014, records show, paying rent of $105,000 annually, plus common area charges of roughly $54,000 a year. 

In the year the store operated in the mall, Michigan-based Taubman twice modified Jackie Z’s lease to accept percentage rent in lieu of base rent, documents state. Zumba says she tried in vain to renegotiate her lease.

“You are reminded that the Landlord has waived none of its rights and that you are responsible for continued performance of all your lease obligations as designated therein,” a Taubman letter to Zumba in October stated.

Jackie Z was one of just two local retailers to occupy the 880,000-square-foot mall, a Taubman joint venture with Manatee County-based Benderson Development Co., when it debuted in October 2014.

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