H&M, Calypso St. Barth commit to Mall at University Town Center

Swedish clothing company will join luxury French Caribbean boutique Calypso St. Barth inside mall

cschelle@bradenton.comMay 23, 2014 

H&M, shown here in Orlando, will be coming to the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota County. (Pictured: Atmosphere) Photo By Matt Stroshane/Elevation Photos

MATT STROSHANE — Matt Stroshane/Elevation Photos

UNIVERSITY PARK -- The Mall at University Town Center might as well build a runway for the powerful mini-anchors lining up as affordable fashion store H&M and luxury boutique Calypso St. Barth committed to the upscale mall.

The Swedish-based shop, officially Hennes & Mauritz, signed a subordination agreement with the Taubman Centers with a backing by Wells Fargo Bank. The store is known for having 160 in-house and 100 pattern makers to produce clothes for men, women and children.

The company started in Vasteras, Sweden and aims to grow the number of its stores by 10 percent to 15 percent [SoftReturn]per year globally. Now there are more than 3,200 stores in 54 countries.

H&M joins other powerful mini-anchors Crate & Barrel and Apple with major anchors Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's and Dillard's in the two-level, 880,000-square-foot-mall set to open Oct. 16.

The University Park store would be the 17th H&M in Florida and the fourth in the greater Tampa region.

The brands are creating a powerful force for other stores coming on board such as Michael Kors, Brighton Collectibles and one of the latest, Calypso St. Barth.

"When you start to see those tenants, other tenants follow," said Mark Gilbert, [SoftReturn]executive vice president of Capital Markets Group for Cushman & Wakefield. "When the Crate & Barrels and Apple and American Eagle and

Urban Outfitters come -- when those tenants start to appear, it creates a premium for other retailers to come. To a certain extent they are a draw, even greater than department stores."

One example is luxurious clothing store Calypso St. Barth, which will go into a 1,757-square-foot space inside the mall. Calypso sells dresses that command $300 to $400 in addition to shoes and accessories that are equally as pricey.

Calypso started in 1992 on French Caribbean island St. Barthelemy as a luxury boutique. The boutique at the Mall at UTC would be its fifth location and first in Tampa Bay. The closest Calypso is at the Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay in Naples.

The mall is balancing its tenant mix with upscale and luxury retailers as it nears less than five months from opening.

"It's a market that has a whole missing part for a need for better fashion offerings -- a more dominant shopping center that can just offer a wide array of goods and services," said John Eggert, director of development for Taubman Centers.

Taubman Centers is developing the Mall at UTC in a 50-50 partnership with University Park's Benderson Development Co.

Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck,

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