A look at Orlando's Fashion Square Mall's plans to rebrand itself and secure its position in Central Florida's competitive retail scene may offer an important lesson for Jacksonville's Regency Square Mall.
Orlando's Fashion Square Mall is a two-story, 1.09 million square foot shopping center anchored by Dillard's, JCPenney, Macy's and Sears. Since its opening in 1973, the mall has undergone several major expansions and renovations, including an extensive interior renovation completed in 2002. In approximately 2005, a new movie theater owned by Premiere Cinemas opened in the mall.
Fashion Square Mall during the 1990s. Image courtesy of UP Development.
However, only six years younger than Jacksonville's struggling Regency Square Mall, Fashion Square has found itself in a situation where it has to compete against several newer malls in the rapidly growing Central Florida market.
In early 2013, the mall was purchased by UP Development, Inc. of Franklin, TN for $35 million. UP Development is a firm that has positioned itself as a go-to-shop for developers, financiers, and owners with troubled assets that require creative and unique workout solutions.
With that in mind, instead of staying put and losing market share, UP Development has plans to radically change the mall's makeup and tenant mix. UP Development has renewed and extended leases with anchor tenants JCPenney and Dillard's. With its anchors firmly in place, the firm is planning to demolish a portion of the shopping center between Sears and Macy's. An Aloft Hotel and several sit-down restaurants centered around an outdoor courtyard would replace a significant section of the demolished wing. New potential restaurants may include BJ's Brew House, Panera Bread, Longhorn Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Carrabba's and Red Robin.
Below are conceptual sketches (courtesy of UP Development) of the evolving redevelopment plan:
Jacksonville's Regency Square Mall
With an improving economy and the west end of Regency Square Mall sitting empty, it may be time for General Growth Properties to take a visit to Orlando and figure out if UP Development's solution for Fashion Square is applicable to Regency's situation.
Article by Ennis Davis