Orlando Fashion Square’s new owner said Wednesday he wants to open a 24 Hour Fitness on an outparcel and says shopping will remain a big part of the mall itself.
UP Development of Franklin, Tenn., bought Orlando Fashion Square for $35 million Tuesday from Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.
“The mall will most definitely remain a shopping center,” said Scott Fish, a principal with UP Development.
Fish said he is in discussions with several potential new tenants and is working on a lease renewal with JCPenney. The company has “had very limited discussions with Macy’s and Dillard’s to see what direction they’re going to take,” Fish said.
Once it’s determined which stores will open in Fashion Square, he said, “then we can formulate a plan to remodel and renovate the mall.”
Fish said his company has applied for permits so it can demolish buildings on outparcels and bring in new development. A BB&T bank will open at State Road 50 and Herndon Avenue. On an additional eight acres on Herndon south of the Cady Way Trail, 250 apartments are planned, Fish said.
The economic downturn hit Orlando Fashion Square particularly hard, and many big-name tenants left. The mall has 80.7 percent occupancy not counting the anchors, but many newer tenants are small independents with high turnover.
John Crossman, president of a real-estate company that handled some leasing for the mall under PREIT, said Orlando Fashion Square has a lot of unrealized potential. Nearby neighborhoods include upscale Baldwin Park and Thornton Park.
“It’s been disconnected from its local market for the longest time,” said Crossman, who lives in Baldwin Park.
Fish agreed and said he wants to make the mall “a social gathering place” for nearby neighborhoods. A children’s play area is one possibility.
“In a lot of … cases, neighborhoods start to deteriorate, and the shopping centers fall off. I think the opposite is probably true here,” Fish said. “The shopping center has hurt the neighborhood. We’re going to try to stabilize it.”