Crate and Barrel, J.Crew and others coming to Mall at University Town Center

Kay Jewelers, J.Crew and Brighton also set for University Park shopping

srocco@bradenton.comMay 13, 2014 

UNIVERSITY PARK -- Crate and Barrel, an upscale retailer of home furniture and accessories, will open its first Bradenton-area store at the Mall at University Town Center.

Brighton, Crate and Barrel, J.Crew and Kay Jewelers will all join the slew of high profile businesses expected to open at the new mall, such as Apple, Saks Fifth Avenue and The Cheesecake Factory.

Crate and Barrel, a Chicago-based chain, is planning for a 26,000-square-foot store to add to its fleet of 170 stores in the United States, a building permit application shows.

Crate and Barrel first opened in Chicago in 1962 as a family business by Gordon and Carole Segal, who were inspired by the design and simplicity of European home goods. Today, the privately held company is owned by the Otto Group in Hamburg, Germany. Crate and Barrel has five locations in Florida, including stores in Orlando and Tampa.

Upscale accessory chain Brighton Collectibles is also set to open a store inside the $315 million mall. Brighton was created in 1985 after the evolution of men's belt company Leegin, and started its handbag line in 1993. The Los Angeles-based company has more than 160 boutiques around the world.

Kay Jewelers is also joining the accessories lineup at the mall with a 1,799-square-foot store. Kay's parent company, Signet Jewelers, is in the midst of acquiring Zales Jewelers, which is also coming to the mall. The $1.4 billion deal is expected to be voted on by shareholders this month.

Hipster and yuppie fashion clothing store J.Crew is also set to build out its space in the mall.

J.Crew started in 1983 as a catalog operation and by 1989 opened its first store in New York City. Today it has 265 J.Crew retail stores and eight Crewcuts stores.

It wasn't until 2011 when J.Crew opened its first store outside the country, in Toronto. The company was acquired in 2011 by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners for $3.1 billion, including $1.6 billion of debt.

The average J.Crew store is 6,300 square feet and the company adjusts the size of its store according to revenue, the company documented in its latest annual report. Its largest store is in New York at 21,000 square feet while its smallest store, a Crewcuts children's clothing store in Connecticut, is 900 square feet.

The building permit application for J.Crew was being processed Tuesday and the size of the University Park store was not available.

The two-level, 880,000-square-foot Mall at UTC is on track to open Oct. 16 at Cattlemen Road and University Parkway, being leased by Taubman Centers in partnership with Benderson Development Co.

Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco. Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, contributed to this report.

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