Florida Mall; Orlando, Florida

If you’ve ever visited the Orlando area as a tourist, odds are you’ve been very close to Florida Mall.  Located just minutes from Sea World, Disney, and Universal, Florida Mall is the largest mall in the Orlando area and one of the closest malls to all these attractions.  In fact, from 1986-2002, it was the only major mall in south Orlando.  Since its grand opening, the massive Florida Mall has enjoyed immense success serving not only locals, but tourists from around the country and across the globe.

Let’s step back in time a bit.  Before Disney World opened, ushering in millions of tourists annually and spawning other theme parks to create the largest tourist-centric area in the entire world, Orlando was little more than a sleepy burg surrounded by acres of orange groves.  Orlando began to grow rapidly as a retirement destination during the latter half of the 20th century, but it wasn’t until after Disney World debuted in 1971 that Orlando began to really blossom, growing exponentially in the decades following. 

However, before Orlando became known as the tourist capital of the world, two enclosed malls debuted in the 1960s to an already-growing population of people beating those cold northern winters: Colonial Plaza, which was enclosed from a strip mall in 1962, and Winter Park Mall, which opened in1964.  These malls, while significant at the time, would be classified as neighborhood or possibly regional, but not super-regional centers by using today’s schematic.  This would all change in the 1970s though as true behemoth super-regional centers came to fruition. 

Throughout the 1970s, as the population swelled from 450,000 in 1970 to 700,000 by 1980, Central Florida built two truly super-regional malls: Orlando Fashion Square, built two blocks away from Colonial Plaza in 1973 – and Altamonte Mall, built north of Orlando in 1974.  As a response, Colonial Plaza was downgraded in importance almost immediately; and though Winter Park Mall soldiered on into the 80s, both malls withered in the 90s and were eventually torn down and redeveloped as outdoor centers.

By the mid-1980s, the population of Central Florida had shot up to almost one million residents, and developers were eager to capitalize on the lack of a dominant retail presence in south Orlando.  They realized a mall in south Orlando was a long time coming, and various proposals for a mall there began as early as the late 1960s; though, little success was made until the 1980s when plans were finalized. 

Finally, in 1986, Ohio-based DeBartolo Group (later merged with Simon) opened the first super-regional mall, Florida Mall, in south Orlando at the intersection of Sand Lake Road and South Orange Blossom Trail, the main surface route leading south from central Orlando.  Florida Mall opened as a single level mall with retail anchors JCPenney, Sears, Robinson’s, and Belk-Lindsay.  A fifth anchor, a 12-story Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, also opened with the mall and opens into it just as a retail anchor would. 

Florida Mall’s original layout was also much smaller and less interesting than it is today.  Sears, JCPenney, and Robinson’s flanked the western end of the mall, toward Orange Blossom Trail, the hotel anchored the south side, and Belk-Lindsay was the eastern anchor.

Throughout the years, there have been many anchor changes, renovations, and expansions at Florida Mall.  Of the mall’s original anchors, only Sears and JCPenney have stayed put.  The first change took place when Robinson’s closed in 1988 and was replaced by New Orleans-based Maison Blanche that same year.  Then, in 1993, the first major expansion took place as a Dillard’s was added to the eastern end of the mall.  In 1994, Maison Blanche closed and became Mobile-based Gayfers.  In 1996, Belk-Lindsay closed and was replaced by Saks Fifth Avenue.  In 1998, Gayfers – only open for four years – became Birmingham-based Parisian, and JCPenney renovated and expanded its store.

In 2000, Florida Mall embarked on a massive expansion and renovation project, transforming the mall into the behemoth it is today.  A Burdines store was added that year, as well as a V-shaped loop of dual mallways connecting Burdines to the existing mall.  Then, in 2002, a Nordstrom was added as the icing on the cake to the expansion, adding a shorter stub wing off the Burdines wing that was just built, with 8 more store spaces.  The end result is an amazingly huge floorplan for a single mall – it’s not possible to walk the entire mall quickly, and it’s fairly easy to even get lost.

At the same time the renovation took place, Parisian – which had only been open 3 years – became a Lord and Taylor in 2001.  The next change took place in 2005, when Macy’s acquired Burdines and retired that nameplate, converting all of the venerable Florida Burdines into Macy’s.  The next year, in 2006, Lord and Taylor – the last remaining store in Florida – closed, and remained shuttered until it was demolished in 2007 to make way for the ever-popular outdoor/’lifestyle’ addition.  As of early 2010, the outdoor expansion had only partially come to fruition, and features a large Zara store, H&M, as well as an XXI Forever.  And that’s it.  Some reason to make people go outside.  The hotel has also changed names a few times too, going from Holiday Inn to Sheraton to Adam’s Mark to an independent hotel called the Florida Hotel, which it remains today.

Florida Mall also has other interesting accoutrements, including a two-level Starbucks in the middle of the mall, a massive food court, and a huge M&M’s store.  There is also an operating CVS inside the mall, despite CVS closing most of their mall stores in the last decade.  In addition, the mall technically operates a strip plaza across the parking lot, currently featuring a Target and a Marshalls, which is probably included in the mall’s 1.8 million total square feet.  According to many sites, Florida Mall is one of the largest single-story malls in the country, and I believe it.

Florida Mall remains on top of its game due to its location – 2 miles from the International Drive tourist strip and 3 miles from Orlando International Airport, its selection of stores, sheer size, and its massive expansion from 2000-2002 – which proved to be an effective defensive tactic.  While immune to the myriad of super-regional malls that plopped down in other parts of Orlando in the 1990s, such as in Sanford, Oveido, Ocoee, and Waterford Lakes, Florida Mall had an immediate threat coming in 2002 with the opening of The Mall at Millenia, a very large, upscale center which opened just three miles away along the busy I-4.  Millennia, with its shiny nuances and upscale swing, would have almost certainly decimated Florida Mall if it weren’t for the carefully planned anchor upgrades and the massive expansion that Florida Mall completed the same year Millenia opened.  Coincidence?  Definitely not.

In addition to Millenia, a large enclosed center called Festival Bay Mall also opened nearby in 2002, anchoring the north end of the International Drive tourist strip at the intersection of I-4 and Florida’s Turnpike.  Unfortunately, even with a great location Festival Bay never took off and is a massive failure, providing neither competition to Florida Mall nor Mall at Millenia – it appears developers oversaturated the market that year. 

We visited Florida Mall in February 2010 and took the pictures featured here.  As usual, leave your own thoughts and experiences with the mall on the comments page – we really appreciate it.

77 Responses to “Florida Mall; Orlando, Florida”

  1. I visited Mall of Millenia on December 24, 2003…coincidentally the same day Mall of Memphis was shutting down. While I (regrettably) don’t have tales of Florida Mall, I found that the Mall of Millenia was far too generic and far too bright. Florida Mall’s error, in my opinion, was that they decided to demolish L&T for a lifestyle annex (it is Simon, after all) instead of waiting for another anchor: Forever 21, IKEA, Cabela’s, or other tourist-type anchors would have been a great boon.

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  2. Ikea wouldn’t have worked, since one is already going in next to Millenia. Also, Cabela’s probably would have gone closer to I-4 as well, potentially closer to the Orlando Premium Outlets location at the south end of International Drive.

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  3. I remember there was once a store called “Playmobil Store” in the Florida Mall which used to sell Playmobil toys and was also like a playground, kind of the east coast’s Legoland, they shuttered that location in 2007, it was called Playmobil FunStore but i dont remember what they replaced that store with.

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  4. I have to admit that is one of the coolest Starbucks I have ever seen!

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  5. I remember photos of Florida mall in SPg’s anual report a few years back. Most of them were around Sacks when they first opened. One particularly oversized photo is of the back of the store outside with a rather large Sacks Fith Avenue sign. That will be one hell of a “Labelscar”

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  6. The last time I went to Florida Mall was back in the 1990s after Saks opened. From what I remember, the mall was nothing special and I think that Saks store may have been 1 floor, which coming from the Northeast, I found unique.

    Seeing Florida Mall today is amazing! The place is huge, I love the fountain (which wasn’t there when i was there) and the 2 level Starbucks is very unique. (and I’m surprised they didn’t try something like that in the one level section of Garden State Plaza) I love how Simon got this ready to compete with Taubman’s Mall at Milenia from day 1. I am not surprised the lifestyle center has been hard to fill, considering the economy, the close proximity of Milenia and their restaurants, as well as the oversaturation of restaurants in Greater Orlando with all the tourist spots nearby…just take a ride down Int’l Drive, 192, or 535/Vineland Road.

    Florida Mall is very visible from the Beach Line
    Expressway (formerly Bee Line), which is a heavily traveled road to MCO and points east, considering they had to build the Central Fl Greenway to alleaviate the Disney traffic on it. As a result, Florida Mall will always be successful and fix the exiting issues heading toward MCO and it will be more successful.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Actually it’s Taubman & The Forbs Company that jointly own Mall at Milenia.

    Forbs holy owns The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens FL, Somerset Collection in Troy MI & jointly owns a open air center with Taubman in Naples FL.

    Just filling in some details, but I guess you already new that information.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I probably did. I must say, in the past few years, the shopping in Orlando has gotten so much better!

    I do remember Altamonte Mall with their cool fountains and how that was the best Orlando area mall back in the day.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, How many malls are along International Drive & near Disney World? I lost count. Any way I wonder if any of them are a M I C K e Y M O U S E opperation. LOL

    Sorry, I couldn’t let that one go. I’m sure there are a few that qualify.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    The closest large mall to Disney is the Florida Mall. There is also one about 7-10 miles down I-4 on the way to Tampa…can’t remember the name of it. Mall at Milenia is very close to Universal and visible from I-4, Orlando Fashion Square (which back in the 80s also had cool fountains) is right in Orlando, Altamonte Mall and Seminole Town Center are north of and just outside Orlando and are very close to I-4. Winter Park has a very, very nice downtown with lots of chains. On I-Drive is Pointe Orlando, a lifestyle center that never really worked, as well as Festival Bay Mall, which has also struggled.

    A few years ago, Crossroads at Lake Buena Vista (strip mall converted into a lifestyle center), which is right off the Disney Grounds across the street from Hotel Plaza Blvd and visible from I-4, used to have some sort of agreement with Disney and appeared on their maps. Now, I’m not sure.

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    Chris Whittaker Reply:

    @mallguy, The key word being large, since Osceola Square Mall in Kissimmee was closer, the last time I checked. Since this mall is, for all practical purposes, dead, we will go with Millenia or Florida Mall.

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  7. This is perhaps one of the remaining malls from the DeBartolo era that has withstood the test of time and are even doing more successful now than ever. While I’m not a big fan of Starbucks, I love how they incorporated it into the mall. If Simon was this proactive with all their malls, it could benefit the company much better.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @Gary, Malls have to stay current and relevant to survive. Florida Mall passes the test.

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  8. New news on Dixie Square: http://cbs2chicago.com/local/dixie.square.mall.2.1500130.html

    And new pix. I didn’t take these. Someone else did: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonrev/sets/72157623124674250/

    Thought you might wanna see. I know it has nothing to do with the mall you posted on, but I couldn’t find an email to send you guys this stuff.

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  9. Florida Mall is pretty cool. I last went there in 2007 on a daytrip to Orlando. I… kinda wish we had something like that in the Tampa Bay area. Or at least the selection of stuff they’ve got! That M&M’s store is pretty neato and is something you wouldn’t normally find.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Sarah, What about Westshore Plaza & International Plaza. The latter being close to TPA.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Both are in Tampa…International Plaza is right near Tampa Int’l Airport along the street that connects TPA with Dale Mabry Highway…a very nice mall, however, I feel that the old Lord and Taylor, surprisingly, was never appropriately filled. It also has a nice outdoor lifestyle center almost entirely composed of restaurants. This mall, I believe, killed Tampa Bay Center.

    West Shore is on I-275 very close to TPA and International Plaza. Have never been, but I heard it’s nice.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Westshore Plaza has one problem. It’s owned by GRT of Columbus, OH. Same for Jersey Gardens & SuperMall outside Seattle.

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    Sarah Reply:

    @SEAN, I do like both of em. I kinda wish sometimes they both were combined into one mega-mall (they’re less than a mile apart), because then I’d never leave.

    International Mall’s pretty cool. They have a whole strip of restaurants and bars outside that are pretty nice and are still open once the inside mall is closed. Such a good selection, you may be able to go bar-hopping.

    I think I’m just jealous that Florida Mall has an H&M. :P

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Sarah, I wonder how Taubman got IP past the development board or what ever they call it, being almost on top of TPA. Also WP is as you said a mile away from IP.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, It is surprising that both WestShore and International Plaza co-exist, but each have anchors the other one does not; same as in Florida Mall and International Plaza (except that those two both have Macy’s). International Plaza can also benefit from being so close to TPA and get layover traffic there.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I guess a healthy ballence was achieved between the malls in both Orlando & Tampa. That is rather unique, but not unusual. Off the top of my head, Paramus comes to mind & so does South Coast Plaza & the malls around Irvine.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, For years, both Tampa and Orlando were undermalled. With the changing populations, more stores were added to the market and some of those shopping centers are big desinations. In the case of International Plaza (right near TPA), Florida Mall (on the Beach Line between Disney/Universal and MCO) and Millenia (off I-4 north of Universal), they get tons of tourists.

    With Paramus, it was always interesting to see how the malls balanced themselves out prior to the expansion of Garden State Plaza. And after the expansion, we have duplicate locations, but all can be supported.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, So true, but there’s an interesting difference between Orlando, Tampa & Paramus & that is the source of the money being spent. Put another way, are the malls being supported by locals, tourests or a combonation of the two.

    This divergence is most noteable in Las Vegas along the Strip where a total dependence on the tourest exists. It’s not as noticeable in & around the malls of Orlando or Tampa. This ecconemy shows just how dangerous this divergence can be.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, At least in Orlando’s case, Florida Mall and Millenia are heavily marketed toward tourists, (remember, Florida Mall is on the way to/from Orlando International Airport and a family going to/from Disney or Universal is likely to see it from the Beach Line Expressway) but the demographic of the Orlando metro area has greatly changed over the years where more upscale stores are in demand. Furthermore, since the 1990s, the area has grown in leaps and bounds! Every time I get back there, there’s either a new highway, a new housing development or a new town sprouting up somewhere. I remember 1990s and before, it was a long, lonely drive down I-4 to Tampa. Once you would get past Disney, there was nothing. Today, that’s not the case anymore.

    And in Tampa, northern Hillsoborough County and southern Pasco/Hernando Counties are becoming heavily populated. I’m a frequent visitor to Central Florida and I know that this area of the state is changing.

    I would think that most of Garden State Plaza’s revenue comes from locals and New Yorkers, but I could be wrong. I’d think King of Prussia or the Orlando malls get more tourist revenue.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I think you are correct reguarding Paramus v Orlando & Tampa.

    Where do you think the Tysons Corner malls fall along that locals/ tourest line? as I read your last responce, I realized that the Tysons Corner area has elements of KoP, GSP, I Plaza, Westshore Plaza, Florida Mall & even Aventura Mall north of Miami. This includes not only the store & restaurant selections, but a healthy ballence of locals & tourests ready to SPEND reguardless of Goldman Sacks’s ballence sheet.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I think tourism at Tysons Corner plays a bigger role than at Garden State Plaza, but not as big a role as in the Orlando and Tampa area malls. With the four Disney parks, the two Universal Parks, the two Anhauser Busch Parks (Sea World Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa) the Gulf Coast beaches and the Space Coast, this area of Florida is tourism central and the malls try their best to capitalize on it.

    Currently Tysons Corner is only about 3 miles from the West Falls Church metro stop and many who head into DC stay in the many hotels surrounding Tysons Corner. The tourism factor will definitely play a bigger role once the Silver Line is complete.

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, I figgured that’s what you would say. From what what I have read reguarding Greater Orlando & Disney World in particular, atendence is much lower than what it was in 2007/ 08 & MCO traffic numbers reflect this. I wonder if Florida Mall’s shopper numbers follow a similar trend.

    Interestingly in Las Vegas, tourism figgures are trending back up, but air traffic at LAS continues to drop & quite substantially according to the Convention & Visitors Athority. I don’t know how shopper visits are reflected at the Strip malls, but malls off the strip are struggling mightily.

    It’s quite amazing how Las Vegas & Orlando are both similar & yet are so different. Both had rapid growth over the past 20-plus years in housing starts leading to a greater number of shopping centers & malls, a substantial hotel/ tourism industry & even have a somewhat similar political climate. The main difference is Orlando has always been “family” oriented & Las Vegas never was really family oriented at all despite the marketing campaign to the contrary.

  10. I think I remember visiting this mall when I was a kid and lived in Orlando back in 1990. I remember eating lunch at a place called Wunderbar. It was a German themed deli that had the greatest egg salad sandwiches. I miss that place.

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  11. A little addition to the history of the mall…

    When Dillard’s opened there were actually two stores, both single stories. The men and children’s departments were in a store located where the Macy’s wing is now. Women’s clothing were in the current Dillard’s location.

    In preparation for the expansion that added Macy’s and Nordstrom, the women’s Dillard’s got a second story addition and the two stores were consolidated there. The old men’s/children’s store was demolished.

    And regarding the two-story Starbucks… That was originally Barney’s, an Orlando-based coffee chain. A few years back, Starbucks bought all of Barney’s mall-based stores. Most of them were closed within in the past few years, but the one at Florida Mall still lives on.

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  12. Why is this mall listed under dead malls? This mall isn’t remotely dead and probably never will be. It’s very crowded with lots of stores.

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    Caldor Reply:

    @Brian, it’s not under “dead malls,” it’s just under the Florida tag. You can see what categories any post is in right underneath the headline.

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  13. Happened to be in Orlando earlier this month and while I did not stop into Florida Mall (which was very crowded from my view along the Beach Line), I did go to the Mall at Millenia. One word to describe this mall: WOW! Very impressive architecture, great lineup of stores/restaurants/bars (even a somewhat trendy bar in the Blue Martini) and it’s rare that I find a mall that can be considered a rival to the Mall at Short Hills…Millenia can!

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  14. I’m not sure why this mall made the list. The mall is very crowded and 100% occupied. The only problem with the mall is the Latino population which stands around 75% of the shoppers. This mall is far from being history.

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    Caldor Reply:

    @Pickle, we don’t focus exclusively on “dead” malls at all, even though interest tends to be highest with those. We’re interested in getting photos and histories of any kind of significant shopping center, living or dead, indoor or outdoor.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @Caldor, It is amazing to see how much the Florida Mall has not only grown, but stayed relevant, especially with the opening of Mall at Millenia! (which I believe to be the BEST mall in the I-4/I-75 Corridor of Central Florida)

    Both Florida Mall greatly benefit from their visible locations along controlled expressways, and Florida Mall being quite close to MCO provides a nice place to stop before a flight if needing time to kill. Only problem is that one has to backtrack to access it from the Eastbound lanes of the Beachline Expressway.

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  15. I love Florida mall, it is impossible you cant find what you are looking for, they have a lot of variety of stores. Every time I go to Florida mall I always check Chamilia Booth which they have the most beautiful chamilia beads. I always check it because My boyfriend has bought me a lot over the years. So when ever I have to buy a gift for my family and friends I check Chamilia first and always end up buying gifts from them.

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    Prange Way Reply:

    @Debra, I wonder if you work there!

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  16. The William-Sonoma store is closing December 31st. They had signs advertising their other closest stores. A little bit surprised it is closing. Obviously their sales don’t meet the marks to sign another lease.

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  17. It also appears Harry & David’s and Pottery Barn are closing as well.

    3 large stores will so be available.

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-12-20/entertainment/os-williams-sonoma-pottery-barn-harry-and-david-closing-florida-mall-20111220_1_florida-mall-williams-sonoma-central-florida-stores

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  18. A lot of activity at the mall. Here it is.

    -Justice shut down.

    -NY & Co moves to where Harry & David used to be. Clarks/Victoria Secret are going where the original store way. Apparently NY & Co is only there temporarily,but no obvious signs of them moving.

    -Dylans candy bar closed and is being replaced with “Wasabi” Japanese restaurant.

    -Ballagio Jewelers closed, as did Motherhood Maternity.

    -Lots of secret activity going where William-Sonoma used to be. Word has it(and the lease plan confirms it) that Microsoft is moving in.

    -Pottery Barn is still empty.

    -Puma apparently closed. A store that sells dresses is in that space,with no sign. Looks like they’ve just set up shop.

    -A few other smaller stores have shuttered.

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  19. More changes.

    -Microsoft is indeed going in, the construction wall now confirms it.

    -Ballagio is moving to where Runway used to be.

    -New clarks opened. The new design looks welcoming.

    -Field of Dreams is closing. No great loss,although a lot of merchandise has been sold since everything is 50% off.

    -JC Penny has some area’s under construction.

    -Justice is reopening as “Justice & Brothers”

    -Naturalizer has closed

    -Surf Warehouse has shut down.

    -The former Puma location is dark and has a construction wall in front of it.

    -Underground station changed their sign, Now it’s a very small “Underground station” and a large “Journey’s” as opposed to the former Large US and small Journey’s.

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  20. Another update

    -Mind Body and Sole was empty.

    -Aerosoles is moving in where Field of Dreams used to be

    -The wall has come down in front of Microsoft,but a tarp has gone up in its place advertising the grand opening Aug.14th.

    -Puma’s wall has been pushed flush with a “more great choices coming soon.” sign on the front.

    -Teavana is under renovation,they have moved temporarily to the old Clarks location.

    -Victoria Secret opened up in the old NY&co. location while their old spot gets a makeover. They are also redoing Bath and body works, and VS beauty.

    -Ballagio has played musical stores as their space is still being constructed.They are now where Naturalizer used to be.

    -A construction wall that is 2 stories tall covers the old surf warehouse location,but nothing advertising what may be coming soon.

    Outside the mall on OBT,the old LGS/A&W store a block away has shuttered and is turning into a Dunkin Donuts.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SP, Have they fully completed the lifestyle center area in the former Lord and Taylor space? My last trip to Orlando, I did not stop in, but drove past the mall on the Beachline at around 11AM on a weekday and it looked rather crowded.

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    SP Reply:

    @mallguy, No they have not. The only stores there are Forever 21, H&M and Zara. There is a lot of grass where more businesses could be,but other than that no.

    The mall is usually quite crowded, especially now with all the tourist traffic.

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  21. A small update.

    -Ritz has going out of business signs up. Was talking with an employee and he doesn’t know when their closing date is. He said “they could call us right now and have us close the gates for good.” He also said the mall is eager for them to leave and he believes the mall has already leased the space.

    -Brookstone is going in where Puma used to be,next to Charlotte Russe. It will be a much smaller store than Brookstone has now, but with Wasabi and Pinkberry going where Dylan’s used to be, I would imagine Brookstone is going to be ripped down to make more room for them.

    -Teavana reopened after renovation.

    -The old Clarks location is becoming “Tous”

    -Microsoft was open,and very busy.

    -Camille is going in where Surf Warehouse used to be.

    -The mall has put advertisements on the old pottery barn windows,

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  22. It was my belief that the Pottery Barn will become an expanded Apple Store, similar to the one being currently renovated at Millenia. I don’t think they wanted both Orlando stores under renovation at the same time. I just don’t know where the “Temporary” Apple store would go while the original is being expanded.

    The Lord and Taylor removal… bad idea. I don’t know what could have gone into that space, but that outside plaza just doesn’t work. Unless I park on that side of the mall, I never go through there. I have never once left the inside of the mall to shop outside. The H&M (Which is half inside and half outside) is a disappointment… looks huge on the outside, but it is actually tiny for an H&M, especially the menswear section.

    I have never understood how Saks survives there, it is totally out of place for Florida Mall. You never see people walking down that wing.

    The reason Florida Mall and Millenia live in harmony is that they are at two different ends of the spectrum. The Florida Mall is definitely on the lower end. On a rainy day, the mall is battered by throngs of British tourists. The Brits are rarely found in Millenia, the stores are too high-end. You will see lots of wealthy Brazilian and other Latin American tourists in Millenia though, as well as the more upmarket locals.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @Matt, To make outside plazas/lifestyle additions work, they need restaurants and/or entertainment anchors like bookstores or movie theatres. Malls in NJ have this, as well as Park Meadows south of Denver and it works well! Saks has been there for a very long time and was the first upscale anchor in the Orlando Market. FM also shoots for the upscale customer with the addition of Nordstrom.

    Both greatly benefit from their highway visiblity (FM-the Beachline and Millenia I-4) and not being right next to each other also allows them to coexist.

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    Ian Reply:

    @Matt, You are somewhat incorrect in this case. From what I have seen before, Florida Mall is some-, and often times will be FLOODED with tourists and even HUGE groups of them from South America (particularly during the summer and winter months). On the other hand, Mall at Millenia mostly is high end people. This is sometimes the case, but I’ve seen mostly locals here (and, of course, the occasional tourist or two). Even the employees say it!

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  23. -Camille’s has opened in the former surf warehouse space.

    -Ritz Camera has shuttered and it appears A 2 Z toys is opening in that space. It is much smaller than their current space,so either they are relocating to a much smaller store, or it is a second store for the holiday season.

    -Fly has opened in the former Mind,Body, and Sole location. It is a t-shirt store targeting teens.

    -Pottery Barn is still empty,however there was a handwritten note on the door(that was propped open slightly indicating some sort of group interviews going on inside. To Matt’s point, it would make sense for Apple to take over the space and make an expanded Apple Store, especially with Microsoft only a couple doors down for some competition. I’d much rather see a new store take it’s place as opposed to Apple,but having it vacant doesn’t do much.

    -Macy’s was packing up its outside jewelry kiosk.

    -Victoria Secret has reopened all their stores from renovations.

    -Tous, Brookstones, Bellagio, and a day spa(where motherhood maternity used to be) are all still under construction.

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  24. Brookstone has opened in their much smaller location. Their old store is no more.

    Pinkberry is coming along nicely. It looks like at least part of the old brookstone space will be used for Pinkberry.

    A2Z toys is using the RITZ store as a second store.

    The Macy’s Kiosk outside the store was back up and running.

    Tous,Bellagio and the day spa still under construction

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  25. It may be nearly two years old at at Florida Mall’s competing mall, but the charity flashmob at the Mall at Millenia was pretty awesome!

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  26. A

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  27. Lots of changes

    -5-7-9 and Glamour Shots were both had the construction wall in front of them.

    -Bakers has store closing signs up.

    -Yankee Candle closed,Hanuka Hawaiian Jewelry is setting up shop in there using the old Yankee Candle storefront. Not sure if this is temporary or not.

    -Zales was walled off.

    -The Two stores across from Regis next to Saks were closed. One was walled off,one had blackened windows.

    -World Of Electronics closed their store and is setting up shop in the Nordstroms wing,next to Camilla’s

    -Delia’s was empty. Empty racks inside, signage pulled down.

    -Tous still under construction, as is Ballagio’s new space and Signature Day Spa.

    I also overheard a store employee in a store tell another that Billabong was closing but no evidence of that.

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  28. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDfKT9NlCg4&w=560&h=315

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Still like Millenia better. Been to Orlando Premium Outlets by Disney before as well. No surprise, it’s a very similar setup to Jersey Shore Premium Outlets.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Just to compare, [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZnWWe2xYOI&w=560&h=315

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Great mall! It’s actually my favorite mall outside of New Jersey! I find myself in Central Florida at least twice a year and on every visit, I stop in Millenia! It’s quality of stores remind me of what one would find at The Mall at Short Hills and The Westchester. The mall has an incredible atmosphere and energy that makes it very unique!

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Also knowing you have friends & Family in metro DC, here’s another gem on Crystal City & Pentagon City. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U-wIIIb8gw&w=420&h=315

    Notice the difference in how each mall feals as the camera moves.

    I find these videos easier to post than typing long winded explamations, especially when I find fountains wich I know you find so cool.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Haven’t been to the Crystal City shops in so long and the last time I went there, I didn’t find them to interesting. Pentagon City is very nice and it’s great that it’s on the Metro. The Tysons malls are still my favorite. And in that area, while more Balitmore than DC, I also like The Mall in Columbia and the Annapolis Mall.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, And if I remember correctly, there were once fountains in Pentagon City.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, If you want to see a rather cool mall witha fountain, go to the Eaton Center page & scroll down till you see my name with a youtube link. It’s a great panaramic shot of the entire building.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Mallguy, I forgot to mention, on the Oakbrook page I posted two other youtube links. The first is of Old Orchard, a mall similar to Oakbrook & second a fountain at Oakbrook that is in the shape of a cross with flowers all around. I thaught you would like that one.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I hear Old Orchard and Oakbrook are quite the shopping destinations. Next time I go to Chicago, and if I have a car, I’ll have to check them out.

    As I previously said, Water Tower Place, the 900 Shops and the Shops at Northbridge, all on the Mag Mile, filled in my mall interest on the last trip, and did so rather well.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Just found this, thaught you would find it interesting.

    UP Development Acquires Orlando Fashion
    Square Mall
    Orlando — Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) has sold the 1.1 million-square-foot Orlando Fashion Square Mall for $35 million in cash. The mall is anchored by Dillard’s, JC Penney, Macy’s and Sears. Other tenants at the center include Champs, Charlotte Russe, Express, Panera Bread, Olive Garden and an all-digital movie theatre. Jim McNeil and Jeff Weiland with Akerman Senterfitt’s real estate practice group represented the buyer, UP Development Inc., in the transaction.

    “The Orlando retail property market is slowly rebounding,” says McNeil. “Fashion Square was one of the first to suffer from the recession, and it is one of the first to come back. It will be a focal attraction not just to local residents and tourists, but national retail tenants a well. Our conversations with the city of Orlando and the tenant base are sure to revitalize Fashion Square.”

    The 40-year-old property was last redeveloped more than a decade ago. UP Development plans to renovate the retail space, but has not yet finalized plans.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I haven’t been over there since I was very little! It’s a bit out of the way from where I usually am, but I remember it having a lot of character for a moderately sized one level mall (the 2nd floor food court might have been built after I went there, but I don’t remember…)

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Malls like Orlando Fashon Square are more tipicle in the southeast & southwest with there mid-tier store lineup. Nothing special, yet functional in the communities they’re located in. Other centers it reminds me of include…

    1. Boulevard & Medows Malls Las Vegas
    2. Pembroke Lakes Penbroke Pines FL
    3. Former Crestwood Plaza Crestwood MO amung others

    Posted a new Penney’s article late this morning, take a look. Several retail annalysts don’t believe that JCP will escape store closings & I don’t believe so either. I have had that view since last year when Ron Johnson took over.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I’ve been to The Oaks in Gainesville and Paddock Mall in Ocala…kind of the ‘Brunswick Square’ of their respective cities. Orlando Fashion Square is a small step above. Millenia is still #1 in Central FL, with International Plaza as #2.

    I believe JCP will face closings…maybe not in NJ and the NY Metro area, but definitely elsewhere.

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, I went to Eaton Centre a few years ago and remember the center court fountain well. I also remember the fountain they had at the Eaton’s end of the mall that cascaded down a waterfall into the sub-level.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Orlando as my extended family lived in the Miami area. As a result, I’ve become quite knowledgeable of both the mall landscape & the transit systems there. Same for you on Orlando & Tampa on the mall side.

    One thing we can astablish… Florida Mall, Mall at Malenia, International Pllaza & Westshore Plaza in central Florida along with Town Center at Boca Raton, Aventura Mall & Bal Harbour Shops in Metro Miami, are LESS likely to end up as dead malls do to their strong customer basses.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Pretty much! You can’t miss Florida Mall when you’re driving from MCO toward Disney and Universal along the Beachline Expressway. And Millenia is two exits along I-4 north of Universal. You will pass it on the way into Downtown Orlando.

    And International Plaza is basically on the grounds of Tampa International Airport, in between the airport’s entrance and Raymond James Stadium.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN, Westshore Plaza is also near TPA, but closer to I-275

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy,

    Taubman Sells 49.9 Percent Interest in International Plaza For $499 Million

    Tampa, Fla. — Mall owner and developer Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE: TCO) has sold a 49.9 percent interest in International Plaza in Tampa to a joint venture that includes TIAA-CREF and APG for $499 million.

    International Plaza is located adjacent to the Tampa International Airport at the center of the Tampa metroplex. The 1.2 million-square-foot upscale retail center, which opened in September 2001, includes anchors Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

    The mall contains approximately 200 specialty stores and several restaurants.Taubman will continue to lease and manage the center and maintain an ownership interest.

    In December 2012, Taubman bought out CSAT LP’s stake in the shopping center for $437 million, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, making Taubman the sole owner of International Plaza.

    The $499 million purchase price for the 49.9 percent interest in the center consists of $337 million of cash and approximately $162 million of beneficial interest in debt. Proceeds will be used to pay off Taubman’s loan on Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond, Va., and for general corporate purposes.

    “We’re delighted to align ourselves with two great institutional partners,” says Robert Taubman, chairman, president and CEO of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman Centers. “This transaction strengthens our balance sheet and highlights the extraordinary growth of this powerhouse asset.”

    TIAA-CREF and APG’s joint venture targets dominant super-regional malls located in major U.S. markets — generally those within the top quartile of super-regional mall assets — through joint venture acquisitions with major mall operators. The joint venture is 51 percent owned by TIAA-CREF and 49 percent owned by APG.

    “TIAA-CREF continues to seek opportunities in regional retail properties with strong income streams as part of a well-diversified real estate portfolio,” says Phil McAndrews, managing director of New York-based TIAA-CREF. “We believe opportunities to invest in high-quality assets with experienced operators are attractive for our investors over the long term.”

    Steven Hason, managing director and co-head of Americas Real Estate at APG Asset Management US Inc., says APG looks forward to participating in the ownership and continued success of International Plaza. “The acquisition of an interest in this market–leading asset is a compelling addition to the super-regional mall portfolio that APG has assembled globally.”

    The REIT is currently developing The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla.; the Mall of San Juan in San Juan, Puerto Rico; International Market Place in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii; and shopping malls in Xi’an and Zhengzhou, China, as well as Hanam, South Korea.

    Taubman’s stock price closed at $64.10 per share on Thursday, down from $81.58 per share a year ago.

    Eastdil Secured LLC represented Taubman Centers in the sales transaction.

    — Matt Valley

    Sounds like Taubman is having a liquidity issue & needed to resolve it quickly before they defaulted on what outstanding debt existed on Stony Point.

  29. Several changes at and coming to the mall. Lots of musical chairs with the stores.

    -Perfumania is moving from the Sears/JC Penney wing, to the future World of Electronics store down by Dillards.

    -Best Buy Mobile is “coming soon” to the former Trade Secret store by Dillards,so it appears they are moving from next to H&M

    -Billabong is moving next to Macy’s where Ritz Camera used to be.

    -White House/Black Market is moving 5 doors down to where Delia’s used to be.

    New stores coming
    -Michael Kors is moving where zales used to be

    -Garage is going where 5-7-9, Glamour Shots and the temporary store for Ballagio Jewlers were.

    -There is a big black construction wall in front of the former Pottery Barn. My guess is the apple store rumor may be true.

    -Bakers had going out of business signs up, but now they are taken down and they seem to going on as business as usual.

    Tous, Ballagio Jewlers and Signature Day Spa have all opened for business.

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  30. Westfield Group Enters Joint Venture with O’Connor Capital Partners

    SarasotaFlorida — Westfield Group has entered into an agreement with O’Connor Capital Partners that will result in a joint venture investment in a portfolio of six Westfield regional malls in Florida. O’Connor’s investment will represent a 49.9 percent interest in the approximately 6 million-square-foot portfolio with an aggregate value of $1.28 billion.

    The six properties include:

    • The 1.15 million-square-foot Westfield Brandon in Brandon
    • The 986,346-square-foot Westfield Broward in Plantation
    • The 1.14 million-square-foot Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa
    • The 1.28 million-square-foot Westfield Countryside in Clearwater
    • The 1 million-square-foot Westfield Sarasota in Sarasota
    • The 421,778-square-foot Westfield Southgate in Sarasota

    Founded in 1983, O’Connor is a privately held owner, operator and developer of real estate. The company, based in New York, has acquired or developed more than $20 billion of all property types on behalf of various investment funds and its own account.

    The price paid by O’Connor is equal to Westfield’s book value. Westfield will remain as the property, leasing and development manager.

    “This agreement carries on the [Westfield] Group’s strategy of introducing joint venture partners into our assets globally as well as disposing of non-core assets,” says Peter Lowy, co-chief executive officer of Westfield Group.

    Westfield is expected to receive approximately $700 million in net proceeds from the transactions, which are expected to close during the second quarter of this year.

    Australian-based Westfield provides shopping center ownership, development, design, construction, asset management, leasing and marketing services. The firm’s portfolio includes an investment interest in 105 shopping centers in Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Brazil.

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  31. The Florida Mall was one of my hangouts as a teen. (ok not that long ago- early 2000’s)
    Since then there’s been changes. Some of which might have already taken place when the Labelscar team went there and some hadn’t.
    One anchor space was redeveloped as a two story forever XXI and a Zara in like 2009 or 2010.
    In 2012, They tore down the shops that stood in the middle of the mall across from the food court and now there’s a fun sushi place that has conveyor belts and you pick what you want as it goes by.
    This year the mall lost its Norstrom and Saks.
    I heard someone is turning the Saks into a bigger better food court but I don’t know about the Nordstrom.
    They don’t seem too panicked.
    I will probably stop by here when I make a trip over to the Tampa Bay area in December and see how the renovations are coming along.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @lovelylotus, Nordstroms is turning into a dicks sporting goods and “the crayola experience,” which is designed for kids. They’ve also closed the California Pizza Kitchen as part of the new Experience.

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