Scott Fish is looking forward to seeing Orlando Fashion Square mall on Colonial Avenue near downtown Orlando transformed.
Fish, principal of Franklin,

Tenn.-based UP Development Inc., talked with me about what’s being planned for the $25 million-plus redevelopment of the mall, which his firm took over for $35 million on Feb. 12.

Clermont-based Schmid Construction Inc. was named the project general contractor, as I told you earlier this week, and it’s awaiting permits to begin demolition on parcels adjacent to the mall — soon to be redeveloped into a BB&T Bank branch.

UP Development also plans to put a 24-Hour Fitness gym, either in the existing shuttered Toys “R” Us space just outside the mall or on a vacant parcel, and is in “very early” talks with BJ’s Restaurant, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and H&M.
Though it’s unknown whether those deals will go through, Fish said several other deals likely will become more solid once the firm attends next week’s International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Tampa.
“We’d rather let the redevelopment speak for itself, rather than make promises we can’t keep,” he said.
There’s also some activity already happening inside the mall, Fish told me.
For example, Rack Room Shoes has started construction to nearly double its existing space to 12,000 square feet, a new independently owned restaurant called Mo’s Sandwich Shop was added to the food court upstairs, All Cell opened in a 1,224-square-foot space and National University online college took 1,300 square feet, all deals that were signed during UP Development’s due diligence period.

The National Entrepreneur Center also is looking at expanding its existing 21,000-square-foot space in the mall. The center signed a five-year lease in 2010 for the mall space.
Meanwhile, UP Development renewed anchor tenants JCPenney, whose term was set to expire next month, and Dillard’s, which added another five years to its lease. Macy’s is on an existing long-term lease and Zales is in negotiations to renew its lease.
Additionally, Fish said he’s in talks with Sears — which owns its own portion of the mall — to form a possible joint venture to redevelop a piece of that property.
Fish also is in talks with an entertainment venue, including a bowling alley, arcade and restaurant, that could be combined into one space or two.
And that’s not all. UP Development also is converting the south and north mall entry areas into customer service gathering areas with big-screen TVs and seating, the firm has added WiFi in the mall through Bright House Networks and is putting together an interactive children’s play area and upgrading the mall’s west side.
As if that wasn’t enough, Fish said his firm also is in talks with a hotel user — who visited the development last week — and is deciding between two apartment developers. UP Development likely will be a partner in both of those projects, which could start construction in two years.
What are your thoughts on the mall’s new owner and plans? Leave a comment below or e-mail me.