Goodbye Fashion Square Mall? Hello open air retail, entertainment hub

ORLANDO, Florida – Orlando’s Fashion Square Mall, the city’s oldest mall, is set to go out of fashion after a developer signed a contract to buy the land under the Colonial Drive building.

Unicorp National Developments chairman Chuck Whittall said he paid a non-refundable deposit on a $ 23 million contract that includes nearly 50 acres under the mall. The developer is still negotiating with Bancorp, the owner of the building.

Whittall said he plans to demolish the mall and redevelop the land into an outdoor entertainment space with restaurants, a moving theater, bowling alley, apartments and a hotel.

“There are a million people just a few miles away,” Whittall said. “It’s a great development opportunity.”

Unicorp National Developments rendered plans for the 46-acre Fashion Square Mall property.

The mall, which was originally built in 1973, is the oldest in Orlando and faced challenges with the opening of Florida Mall and The Mall at Millenia. Online shopping has taken up most of the mall traffic in recent years.

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Whittall said the development of his business does not foresee competing with online retailers.

“We’re not really trying to compete with the people who shop online today,” he said. “That’s why the things we will do are a hair salon, a nail salon, a bowling experience, a movie theater in a restaurant. Those kinds of things that you can’t buy on the Internet.”

Efforts have been made to revitalize Fashion Square in the past, but many stores are currently empty. The Sears flagship store closed in 2016, but there remains a clearance at Dillard’s and Macy’s.

Unicorp begins design plans next month and may demolish the mall building around the same time next year.

“Our goal is to demolish the entire mall as it is today and rebuild it into a lifestyle center,” said Whittall.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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