MANATEE -- Taubman Centers, which is in charge of operating the Mall at University Town Center, offered no new details on the shopping center during its company-wide earnings call Thursday.
The Bloomfield Hills, Mich., company is a 50-50 partner in the Mall at UTC with Benderson Development Co., and is working to complete the mall for an opening at 10 a.m. Oct. 16.
"It's the first regional mall shopping center built in the market in 35 years," said Robert Taubman, chief financial officer of Taubman Centers. "Sarasota has about 1.2 million people and nearly 5 million tourists a year. The market is tremendously underserved when it comes to better retail offerings, and there is a void for a dominant shopping center destination. The Mall at University Town Center will fill that void."
Taubman reiterated that the mall will be more than 90 percent leased and committed at opening, and is on target to meet the budgeted $315 million construction cost. Fewer than 40 spaces lack building permit applications associated with tenants, with a little more than two months to go. Taubman has acknowledged reports of tenants by the Herald in a prior earnings call through building permit applications, but would not confirm anything on its end.
The mall, anchored by Macy's, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue plus Apple, Crate & Barrel and H&M, will feature more than 100 stores and restaurants with half the stores unique to the market and all the restaurants unique to this market.
"It will be a clear winner," Taubman said of UTC.
Construction is nearly complete and The Cheesecake Factory appears to be almost finished. The restaurant filed for its certificate of occupancy permit Thursday, which will kick off a series of inspections to allow the restaurant to bring in customers. Each business in the mall will need that certificate to open.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter@ImYourChuck.