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Benderson announces anchors

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  • | 4:00 a.m. April 25, 2012
  • East County
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SARASOTA COUNTY — Benderson Development has partnered with Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc. in the development of its high-end mall slated for the southwest intersection of University Parkway and Interstate 75 and announced three anchor tenants for the project.

The companies announced April 24 Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Dillard’s will anchor the 880,000-square-foot Mall at University Town Center, on which the partners expect to start construction later this year. A fourth department store should be announced at a later date.

In total, the two-story $315 million shopping center will include about 115 stores, more than half of which will be new to the market. Saks will occupy an 80,000-square-foot space, while Macy’s and Dillard’s will occupy 160,000- and 180,000-square-foot spaces, respectively.

“We’re extremely excited to partner with Taubman and to be moving forward and recommencing this project and finally bringing it to fruition,” Benderson Executive Director of Leasing Mark Chait said. “This will greatly add to the depth of the retail available (in the area).”

The mall is slated to open in the fall of 2014.

Taubman, a real estate investment trust, and Benderson, one of the largest privately held real estate companies nationwide, each will own 50% of the mall. Taubman will responsible for development, management and leasing.

Taubman owns or has co-developed several other premier shopping destinations in Florida, including International Plaza in Tampa, the Mall at Millenia in Orlando and Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay in Naples.
“The Mall at University Town Center will be one of the premier shopping destinations on the west coast of Florida, and it will be the preferred shopping destination in the Sarasota region for locals and visitors alike,” said Robert Taubman, president and CEO of Taubman Centers.

Macy’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs Jim Sluzewski said the opening of its store at the Mall at University Town Center would not impact stores it operates in the area, including at the Southgate and Sarasota Square malls in Sarasota and DeSoto Square Mall in west Bradenton.

“Sarasota-Bradenton is an important and growing market for Macy’s, and the building of the Mall at (University Town Center) was a good opportunity for a new store,” he said. “We have no plans to close any Macy’s store anywhere in the country.”

A representative from Dillard’s said the company has not yet decided whether it will close its Westfield Southgate location.

“The company has made no announcements about future closings in the area,” said spokeswoman Julie Bull. “Our focus today is on the opening of the store at University Town Center.”

Representatives of Saks Fifth Avenue could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].


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