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Benderson plazas prep for holidays

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 1, 2010
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SARASOTA COUNTY — The development company slated to bring a mega mall to the intersection of Interstate 75 and University Parkway already is well on its way to making the area a shopping destination — and just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Benderson Development, which owns commercial centers along University Parkway stretching from Interstate 75 to just west of Honore Avenue, has had several new businesses, including two new anchor stores, open in its plazas in recent months. More stores are expected to open in the first quarter of 2011.

Anchor tenant Stein Mart, a national retailer that carries brand-name fashion, home accessories, linens, shoes and other items at discounted prices, held an official grand opening Nov. 10 at its new storefront in University Town Center. National pet store chain Petco opened there in October, as well.

“Obviously, it’s great to have new anchors join a shopping center,” said Mark Chait, director of Florida leasing for Benderson. “They will greatly increase the consumer traffic in the shopping center. The diversity is what consumers always want and keeps (them coming back).”

Several smaller businesses, such as Whiteberry, a frozen yogurt shop, also opened recently.

ScoopDaddy’s Gourmet Ice Cream, which has a location on St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota, opened late last week on Tourist Center Drive, Chait said. Maduro Cigar Lounge is expected to open this week, as well.

Several more stores are under construction, including Guitar Center, which will occupy a 14,000-square foot space in the Shoppes at University Center, and a 25,000 square foot Ross Dress for Less slated to open in March.

Square One Burgers, which will open at University Park Center, the plaza anchored by Kohl’s, also is under construction.

“They’re great,” Chait said of Square One Burgers. “They also are opening up a place in Sarasota (on U.S. 41). That’ll be good.”

Benderson also has signed a lease with Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches, which has an existing location on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota, at University Town Center, adjacent to the Chipotle Mexican Grill.

“We’re very pleased with the tenants we’ve been able to attract over the last two years,” Chait said. “It’s creating a great mix that will attract a wide variety of consumers.

“Tenant mix in a shopping center is very important to us,” he said. “We feel that’s how you really create a vibrant shopping center — by having the right mix of tenants.”

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Now open:

Maduro Cigar Lounge

Coming soon:
Guitar Center
Ross Dress for Less
Square One Burgers
Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches


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