UNIVERSITY PARK -- Benderson Development Co. has landed a major shoe store, men's clothing store and rising pizza chain while tweaking the name of two University Town Center projects.
Pamphlets distributed at the International Council of Shopping Centers Florida Conference this week in Kissimmee show that Benderson has signed shoe store DSW for an expansion of its shopping center that includes Sports Authority and Super Target. The shopping center will also feature a Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza restaurant, AT&T and Jos. A Banks.
That shopping center, which will now be called The District West at University Town Center, is undergoing a 101,455-square-foot expansion beside Sports Authority.
DSW will move into a 15,988-square-foot space at 151 N. Cattlemen Road, according to plans, estimating construction to be worth $200,000.
The Columbus, Ohio-based company has more than 400 stores and this would be the first in the Bradenton-Sarasota market. DSW also has stores in the Port Charlotte Town Center, Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg and Westfield Brandon.
Also, Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza and Jos. A Bank will open inside a new outparcel building in that shopping center at 215 N. Cattlemen Road. The 2,470-square-foot pizza shop would be the first on Florida's Gulf Coast.
The Los Angeles-based Blaze Pizza is undergoing a Florida expansion and already announced that its franchisee Levy Family Partners will open 10 stores in Florida, including in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale and Davie.
The chain's restaurant operations are led by executive chef Brad Kent, who goes by the Pizza Whisperer. He is known for building pizzas in an assembly line fashion and having the thin-crust pies baked in 180 seconds, or three minutes. The restaurants offer S'more Pies, wine and craft beers.
The chain was founded in 2011 by the co-founders of Wetzel's Pretzels Elise and Rick Wetzel, and its investors include LeBron James, Maria Shriver and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and movie producer John Davis.
The concept is much like the Youngstown, Ohio, company Rise Pies, which will launch its second U.S. location inside the Mall at University Town Center. That company is also headed up by pretzel experts, founded by Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels' largest franchisee Muransky Cos.
For Jos. A Bank, the Hampstead, Md., company was purchased by Houston-based Men's Warehouse earlier this year for $1.8 billion. It maintains a location inside the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall, but this would put it squarely across from other upscale men's retailers inside the Mall at UTC, including Brooks Brothers and Peter Elliot Blue.
For AT&T, this is the second location in University Park, after the University Walk store on the corner of Tuttle Avenue and University Parkway.
The Blaze Pizza, AT&T and Jos. A. Bank location will be joined by other outparcel buildings being leased by Benderson along North Cattlemen Road beside Florida Blue, Ethan Allen and Fidelity and a new Panera Bread that is expected to open this fall.
On the east side of the mall, Benderson is showing that its new shopping center will be called The District East at University Town Center. That project is undergoing review by Sarasota County to add 600,000 square feet of retail and another 100,000 square feet of office space, which would bring the entire University Town Center project south of University Parkway to 2.28 million square feet of retail space. That figure includes the 880,000-square-foot mall.
On the north side of University Parkway in Manatee County, Benderson is also showing that it wants to lease 10,000 square feet of space beside LA Fitness, and shows a stretch of land to the rear of the Shoppes at University Town Center where the shopping center signs are now along Interstate 75. Another space identified for development shows a lot beside the Hampton Inn at the shopping center.
That shopping center is already undergoing an expansion with a new HomeGoods store, and Manatee County is reviewing a request by Benderson to build a 6,600-square-foot space with a 1,776-square-foot patio.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter@ImYourChuck.